Glenn Thrush and Marin Cogan tally up the Republicans’ shameful behavior of late in their Politico post “Republicans weigh costs of losing ugly” and it adds up to a very disturbing look at a once-dignified political party. The authors cite the Republicans’ “graceless response” to the Democratic health care reform victory in the form of “shouted insults,” along with “encouraged outbursts from the galleries” and “veiled threats” left in the seats of undecided members in the House chamber. In addition:
…Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer shouted “baby killer!” as anti-abortion Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) spoke on the House floor…In an interview for POLITICO’s “Health Care Diagnosis” video series, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the “baby killer” outburst “horrible”…“In our conference [Sunday] before the vote, a lot of us said, ‘Look — no screaming, no shouting, no yelling, no nyah-nyah-nyah. If they pass this thing, be somber be glum,’” Ryan said. “I said look, ‘We’ve got to be adults about this..
The Politico article notes the “even uglier series of events outside the chamber Saturday” in which tea party bigots reportedly “shouted the N-word at civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), spit on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and hurled an anti-gay insult at Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)”
Not all tea party activists are Republicans, and not all of them are vicious bigots. But when the Republicans and FoxTV ginned up the tea party protests, they also created a sometimes racist, violence-prone Frankenstein they can no longer control. Boehner was clearly shaken when he recently urged conservative activists to cool it.
A few other Republicans, if not the leaders, seem to grasp the disaster they are courting more fully. As Cogan and Thrush report,
…Neugebauer’s outburst, which echoed the infamous “You lie!” shout by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), had Republicans worried about the impact on “persuadables” — independents skeptical about President Barack Obama but leery of the GOP’s increasingly conservative tilt.
…The incident also undermined attempts by Republicans to project the image of a sober, less combative party willing to meet Obama halfway. And it prompted a salvo of rebuke from Democrats, who spent much of their post-passage Monday accusing the other party of violating the chamber’s decorum and coarsening debate.
History will record that the adults in the G.O.P. did not prevail. It wasn’t always this way. Try to imagine Eisenhower, for example, putting up with this kind of childish, mean-spirited crap. It just doesn’t compute. It can be argued that the Republicans lost their sense of shame a long time ago. But the modern G.O.P. is a political party that has lost its sense of dignity, as well. It’s as if the new working motto of Republican ‘leadership’ boils down to “dignity, schmignity.”
To tweak a popular catch-phrase of recent years, “God don’t like ugly,” perhaps 2012, if not this year, will bring the lesson that ‘voters don’t like ugly’ either.