This morning, the wacky op-ed columnist has put the somewhat off-putting descriptive to use yet again, this time to label health-care legislation. In the past two years, she has also invoked the term as a metaphor for the war on terrorism, the financial crisis, the legislative bottleneck in Albany and, of course, the farm bill!
Here's a a hairball sampler from the work of Gail Collins, who it's safe to assume has a slight obsession with
It is a great tradition in Albany that no important bill ever emerges by itself. It gets mixed with pork and pet projects and lobbyists’ to-do lists until Bruno, Democratic Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver and the current governor sit down to create one huge hairball of a deal.
Spitzer was supposed to change that. But now here we are. Last week Senator Bruno was striding around the state like Rocky Balboa, while the governor was telling Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore of The Times that his wife had started asking, “What was wrong with going into the family business?” (High-end real estate.)The hairball is back.
--"The Education of Eliot," July 28, 2007
The farm bill is one big hairball of accommodations and trade-offs, and cheers to McCain for taking a principled stand against it.
--"McCain's Superfuture," May 17. 2008
--Let’s also give thanks that we are not widely respected economists ourselves. Because God knows what they’re going to do with this hairball.
--"Count Those Blessings," November 27, 2008
Out of all the problems we have run into in dealing with the giant hairball that is known as the Bush War on Terror, one of the weirdest is the reaction to President Obama’s plan to close down Guantánamo.
--"When Did Cowboys Get Wimpy?" May 22, 2009
The student loan bill actually has very little in common with the great hairball that is known as health care reform. For one thing, so far, it seems to be moving through Congress rather nicely.
--"Someday, A Bill Will Pass," September 17. 2009
Of course, it's always possible Collins is just laying the groundwork for a future MSNBC political talk show. We have to admit, "Hairball with Gail Collins" has a nice ring to it.
UPDATE: Turns out it's cats and rabbits that vomit their hairballs, not dogs. Thanks to commenters -- who apparently know far more about self-licking animals than we do -- for helpfully pointing out the error, corrected above.