Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Did Republicans Admit They Have Not Been Civil?

I thought this was interesting - as Republicans gear up to debate repealing last years health care bill, Rep. Jeff Flake from Arizona said the following on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday: "I think you'll see a more civil debate than you would have had otherwise."

Is Rep. Flake admitting that Republicans were going to be uncivil?

"But I do think that the tone will change, and that's a good thing. I think it was a good decision to put it off for a week." Flake continued.

Again, is he admitting that before the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Republicans were carrying on with a negative tone.

Despite Republican claims that they will tone things down, there is still no plans to eliminate the term "job-killing" from the title of the bill

Then there is this from an ABC news story by Huma Khan:
Indeed, some say that it's the Democrats who will need to temper down their rhetoric and not use the Tucson tragedy to stifle the debate.

"I think they'll stay away from any allusions to death, but it won't change the real nature of the debate, and the only question will be will Democrats keep complaining that this is not civil discourse," said Joe Antos, health care scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

"If they keep it up, then it's guaranteed that nothing of any substance will be passed through this Congress, not just this year but next year."
I thought this statement was interesting because it describes what Republicans tried to do the last two years and partially succeeded in doing.  Republicans spent the first half of President Obama's term complaining about the Democrats and how uncivil they were - remember how they claimed Democrats were ramming legislation down America's collective throat?  As a result, Democrats watered down legislation for just a couple of Republican votes.

The only thing I agree with Antos with is that there is a possibility that some Democrats will point out instances on uncivility at every turn, but I expect Republicans to use that as proof that they are right and Democrats are wrong, and that they should proceed.

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