The Politico's Jonathan Allen reported last night that Democratic Congressment Alan Grayson of Florida let loose on the House floor. (UPDATE: Politico now has a YouTube video of Grayson's performance at the link.)
Hopefully, Allen himself was only being sloppy with his own wording:
Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., warned Americans that "Republicans want you to die quickly" during an after-hours House floor speech Tuesday night.
His remarks, which drew angry and immediate calls for an apology from Republicans, were highlighted by a sign reading "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly."
"Warned"? As if "Republicans want you to die quickly" is a fact?
What follows, via Politico's Glenn Thrush, is what you can't say about a President:
Especially useful: The section on how to properly insult the executive branch in the in the chamber.
"Disgrace" and "nitwits" -- okay.
"Liar" or "sexual misconduct" -- ixnay.
Under section 370 of the House Rules and Manual it has been held that a Member could:
• refer to the government as “something hated, something oppressive.”
• refer to the President as “using legislative or judicial pork.”
• refer to a Presidential message as a “disgrace to the country.”
• refer to unnamed officials as “our half-baked nitwits handling foreign affairs.”
Likewise, it has been held that a member could not:
• call the president a “liar.”
• call the president a “hypocrite.”
• describe the president’s veto of a bill as “cowardly.”
• charge that the president has been “intellectually dishonest.”
• refer to the president as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
• refer to alleged “sexual misconduct on the president’s part.”
Yet saying that "Republicans want you to die quickly" is not a problem?
In a November 2005 House floor speech, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) quoted a Buckeye State Representative who wished to remind Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) of something:
House Republicans maneuvered for swift rejection Friday of any notion of immediately pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, sparking a nasty, sometimes personal debate over the war following a Democratic lawmaker’s own call for withdrawal.
….. At one point in the emotional debate, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.
“He asked me to send Congress a message – stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message – that cowards cut and run, Marines never do,” Schmidt said.
What Schmidt said supposedly violated a ruling against criticizing a fellow individual House member, even though Schmidt was only relaying a constituent's message that did not itself criticize Murtha personally; if the poor guy took it personally, that's his problem. Schmidt, under pressure from fellow party members, later apologized; I say she had nothing to apologize for.
Schmidt's statement got her saturation media coverage and a Saturday Night Live parody.
But I'm betting that asserting (not "warning," Mr. Allen) on the House floor that "Republicans want you to die quickly" -- in effect personally tarring each and every GOP House member -- will be seen as okey-dokey, or at a minimum won't generate a wave of outrage, if it's noted at all.
I can't wait to see all of the coverage of Grayson's smear in the supposedly civility-obsessed establishment media. Actually, I can, because I virtually know that I'll have to. I half-expect that the cop-out will be, "Well, our old buddies at the Politico covered it, and they did a fine job, so we don't have to mention it."
The real reason will be that civility is a one-way street.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.