I used to have some respect for Dianne Feinstein, believing that she had at least some respect for the country, but now she's on national television calling the NRA names:
"The NRA is venal. They come after you, they put together large amounts of money to defeat you," she said on CNN's "State of the Union."
I had to look up the word venal to understand what she was saying. It sounds like some kind of vampire thing... but it's not.
1.willing to sell one's influence, especially in return for a bribe; open to bribery; mercenary2.able to be purchased, as by a bribe3.associated with or characterized by bribery
Unless Feinstein has given the NRA a bribe in order to buy their influence - or knows someone who has - she is categorically misusing the word. And of course CNN's newbie stenographer-for-Obama, Ashley Killough, didn't catch the mistake. We shouldn't be too hard on Ashley, though, as she seems to be occupying neither her parents' basement nor Wall Street, though she is the right age for both.
Now then, back to what is venal and what is not. "Putting together large amounts of money to defeat" political candidates is something Feinstein and her Senate colleagues do all the time. Democrat campaign organizers, donors and mega-donors call it "community organizing" -- to the tune of $716 million, just to defeat Mitt Romney. And now they're taking it to great new dimensions with this "unprecedented" presidential 501(c)4, Organizing for Action -- a la Soros.
Maybe when Ashley grows up she'll pull a Bob Woodward and investigate some of our more venal politicians. She might start by figuring out how Diane Feinstein has amassed a fortune worth over $70 million on a Senate salary of less than $200,000 a year.