“[F-word] the president.”
That’s what was said at a closed-door meeting of the Democratic caucus by an unnamed Democratic member of Congress.
Many of us on the right have argued for a while now that there’s something foul in the soul of the Democratic grassroots. They’ve objected and pointed fingers back at us; few would argue that there’s an ever-intensifying nastiness in our body politic. Sure, we laugh at the over-the-top insults from the days of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, but you have to give those insults some literary style points. And note that the fury was focused on the political leaders; now all any ordinary voter has to do is show the wrong bumper sticker and someone will feel free to hurl insults and give them the finger. Of course, that presumes they don’t bite off the finger.
Everybody thinks the other side is more responsible for it; if you’re on the left side of the aisle, I doubt there’s much I could say that would persuade you. I’d argue that there is a different tone and standards for posting on Daily Kos and Red State, between even FreeRepublic and AmericaBlog. Yesterday at AmericaBlog, run by John Aravosis, a perfect gentleman I’ve enjoyed having discussions with, there was a comment about the president’s “GOP butt-licking fetish.”
The First Amendment ensures your right to talk this way . . . but why would you? And even if some yahoo on a blog does it, shouldn’t we expect better from a member of Congress? Erick Erickson of Red State spotted the likely irony: “I bet the Dem who said “F— the President” today supported censure of Joe Wilson for saying ‘you lie.’”
Yelling “you lie” earned Wilson a deserved rebuke; we’ll see if dropping the F-bomb in reference to the president in a meeting of several hundred people earns any serious consequence for this unnamed lawmaker. My fear is no. Sure, it was a semi-private meeting, and I’m sure this isn’t the first F-bomb to be dropped on Capitol Hill — I’m sure we all remember the much-discussed exchange between former vice president Dick Cheney and Sen. Patrick Leahy. But this feels different, like another line has been crossed in standards of public behavior. Wasn’t any Democrat in that room offended by those words? Didn’t anybody object?
Once you start marinating in this nastiness, it starts to seep into how you think and speak, and perhaps you can’t turn it off. It is now defining the Left. Michael Moore. Bill Maher. Joy Behar. It didn’t just stay in the grassroots and celebrities; it came to the halls of Congress with Alan Grayson.
We on the right hated Hillary Clinton back in the 1990s. Then the 2008 campaign comes along, Hillary is perceived to be the less liberal candidate than Obama, and suddenly Air America’s Randi Rhodes is calling her a “big [f-word]ing whore.” This is Hillary Clinton we’re talking about. Ten years earlier, almost every Democrat in America loved her, and we were the ones calling her names. But once she’s not their preferred choice, they can turn on her and denounce her in the same tone they would use to denounce a conservative Republican.
And now, finally, it comes full circle. Now they’re sneering at Obama. Their guy. The guy whom they adored, perhaps as much as any party has ever adored its leader, in 2007 and 2008. Now they say, “[F-word] him.”
Hey, pal, that’s the President of the United States. Show some respect.
(How did it come to the point where we have to be the ones to demand that?)
UPDATE: Well, I guess we have a suspect: My congressman, Jim Moran of Virginia, recently said, “I don’t know where the f*** Obama is on this or anything else” to a reporter.