More ‘Tone Trap’

by Jay Nordlinger

In yesterday’s Impromptus, I had some comments on “tone.” People are saying that the Republican “tone” is bad. My ears must be tuned differently. I think the Republicans have it all over the Democrats, when it comes to tone.

Anyway, my column occasioned a fair amount of mail. I thank all writers-in. I’d like to take one more whack at the subject, before leaving it for — oh, about a day. (I make no promises.)

Think of the leading Republicans this year and the leading Democrats. Consider two lineups.

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Reince Priebus.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It’s the Republicans with bad “tone”? Really? One of the things I least like about the Democrats is their tone.

“You didn’t build that!” “Gonna put y’all back in chains!” “Romnesia!” “Mitt Romney: Not one of us.”

Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, charged on the floor of the Senate that Romney had failed to pay income taxes. He spoke in the nastiest tone, Reid did. An Obama spokesman, Stephanie Cutter, suggested that Romney is a felon.

In 2011, a Democratic strategist said that, without a record to run on, they would have to “kill Romney.” And lo . . .

They ran an ad basically accusing Romney of killing women with cancer. They ran an ad calling him an “economic traitor.” (That ad was made by an Obama super-PAC with the McCarthyite name of “Patriot Majority.”) Then there was the Michael Moore ad, in which he had senior citizens spewing profanity.

Have you ever watched MSNBC? Seen those red-faced bellowers? You like Keith Olbermann’s tone? Bill Maher’s? Real honey voices, those guys, wouldn’t you say?

And yet the world insists that the Republicans have a “tone” problem. The world perplexes me, always has.

While the world in general complains that the Republicans have a bad, harsh tone, many of my Republican friends say, “Our problem is we’re too polite.” I think of a small example: Biden frequently referred to Romney as “Romney.” I can’t remember what Obama did. From Romney and Ryan, it was always “President Obama” and “Vice President Biden.” Couple of goody two shoes, our guys.

And yet the Republicans are guilty of bad “tone.” That is cracked.

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