WASHINGTON — There’s a lot of talk in Washington these days about whether that quaint politeness known as “civility” is possible — or even desirable — among the nation’s political combatants.
Lots of people got riled up over Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, and party leaders now are branding opponents as “mobs” gone mad, and worse. Then there is President Donald Trump, an innovator in the field of talking smack, trying to energize his supporters for the Nov. 6 congressional elections.
It’s not likely to get better soon, with both parties straining for control of Congress on Election Day.
A look at the “conversation”:
Trump kicked off his presidential campaign in 2015 by saying many Mexicans are rapists and murderers. He scorned his Republican challengers as “lyin’,” “little” and “low-energy.” He called women ugly, hysterical, even “a dog.”
Critics hated it. But after all, as Trump reminds everyone, he won.
Now, the president is back at it in the afterglow of Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court approval, calling confirmation opponents an “angry mob” of Democrats, some of them plain “evil.”
LAMENTING CIVILITY’S LOSS
Not all fellow Republicans think the spread of this kind of talk is a good thing.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long tsk-tsked the president’s incendiary style, said this week: “There is a lot of division in the country today and it’s coming from both sides — and it is disheartening.” The Wisconsin Republican, who is retiring after this year, says the economic and security anxieties that many Americans face give oxygen to the polarizing, and action to somehow reduce those stresses might help restore more productive conversations.
DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH
Hillary Clinton says Democrats actually have to be even tougher.
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” she said on CNN. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”
She likened the rhetoric during Kavanaugh’s consideration to other Republican attacks including “what they did to me for 25 years” as first lady, senator from New York, secretary of state and presidential candidate. Two years after Trump’s victory, she notes, he still routinely brings her up, calling her “Crooked Hillary.”
“You can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she said. Republicans are driven by “the lust for power.”
LOOK WHO’S TALKING
What about that, Senate …read more