Magazine | December 09, 2019, Issue

Confidential: For Speaker Pelosi and Staff

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, October 17, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

FOCUS GROUP 11.17.19

PAGE THREE:

FEMALE, 22 YEARS OLD: . . . like, if I’m just wondering about the impeachment stuff I can ask my dad? Or check Facebook? And sometimes one of the guys at work will make, like, a comment about it? And I’ll laugh and whatever? But mostly, you know, when I’m stacking sweaters at Big Dog I’m listening to music?

FACILITATOR: Thanks. Anybody else have anything to share about how they’re following the news of impeachment? Dennis?

MALE, 57 YEARS OLD: The Pelosi libtards are spreading hashtag fake news because they hate America.

FACILITATOR: So can I put you down as someone who gets his news primarily from Fox & Friends?

MALE, 57 YEARS OLD: I used to hate-watch Maddow but then I started having these tiny seizures so I had to stop.

FACILITATOR: Okay, then, turning to the language of impeachment. Steve, did you have some thoughts about the phrase “quid pro quo”?

MALE, 19 YEARS OLD: Yeah, I mean, at first I legit thought they were calling him gay. Maybe it’s because I don’t speak Spanish or whatever, but it was like, what? He was being gay on the phone with the guy from Uruguay?

FACILITATOR: Ukraine.

MALE, 19 YEARS OLD: Right. See? It’s weird. And like, I want to follow all of this and I know it’s gonna be history and stuff in the future but what I’m trying to do is make a little bank over the next coupla years so I’m working a lot and when I get home I just want to chill and play video games and also, pretty sure the president isn’t a quo at all, I mean, with all those wives and whatever? Not saying he’s a good guy or a bad guy just that he doesn’t seem quo to me at all.

FACILITATOR: Got it, thanks. What about the word “bribery”? How do we feel about “bribery”? 

MALE, 57 YEARS OLD: Left-wing-media anti-American attack on the president for doing what he said he was going to do.

FACILITATOR: Okay. Anyone else?

FEMALE, 22 YEARS OLD: Yeah, okay, bribery? But he’s already rich, right? Who was going to bribe him? I don’t get it?

FACILITATOR: I think what the word refers to is the thought that the president offered in effect to bribe a foreign official in order to get that official to take a certain action.

MALE, 57 YEARS OLD: Business as usual! We do that all the time down at the dealership! It’s called a factory rebate!

FACILITATOR: Okay, so Dennis has said that the word doesn’t mean much to him. What about the rest of you? “Bribery”?

MALE, 19 YEARS OLD: When I drive my Uber they give me bonuses for certain hours and I’m like, okay, totally will take that bribe.

FACILITATOR: Thanks for your thoughts. Anyone else want to talk about the word “bribery”? No? Okay, how about the word “impeachment” itself. What does that bring up for people?

MALE, 57 YEARS OLD: Reminds me of something Doocy said to Kilmeade on F&F the other day, about if the whole fake-news media — 

FACILITATOR: Thanks, Dennis. But I see another hand up. Noreen, did you have something to add?

FEMALE, 39 YEARS OLD: What? Oh, sorry. I wasn’t listening. I’m texting with my husband trying to figure out who is going to the soccer game and who is picking up from the gymnastics thing. And he’s pretending he doesn’t know how to buy a dozen freakin’ oranges for after-soccer snack and that is making me mad and let me just finish sending this, “Dan, we, go, through, this, every, week, just, stop, at, the, market, on, the, way, why, is, this, so, hard,” and, send. Okay, what now?

FACILITATOR: We have been talking about impeachment and our thoughts around the language we’re hearing to describe it.

FEMALE, 39 YEARS OLD: Oh, God. Yeah. I’m planning to catch up on all of that soon. Just with the holidays and that craziness, I haven’t really followed it too much. It’s gonna be a January thing for me.

FEMALE, 22 YEARS OLD: I’m so glad you said that? Me too?

MALE, 19 YEARS OLD: I agree totally. It’s something I want to read about, but when it’s over. Like, some shows you want to watch every week, but some you’re like, okay, let them finish it totally and then I’ll get into it.

FACILITATOR: Dennis?

MALE, 57 YEARS OLD: I’m watching it every day. Every minute of every hearing. And then I get on Facebook and Twitter and I make memes about it.

FACILITATOR: Thanks, Dennis. Anybody else watching the hearings?

FACILITATOR: Anybody else watching?

FACILITATOR: Anybody else?

FACILITATOR: Anybody?

FACILITATOR: No one?

FEMALE, 22 YEARS OLD: Are we done now?

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Letters

Letters

Readers write in with fond memories of fatherhood, some long-held admiration, and some prefix pedantry.

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