Quality Leadership and Civility in Washington? Nope, None of the Above.

Floridian Alan Grayson, a Democrat in the House of Representatives, got some face time on CNN and MSNBC after standing up in the House and saying that Republicans want people to “die quickly” when they get sick.  Such comments were apparently not just a heat-of-the-moment type of thing–Grayson brought posters to illustrate his point.  He was called upon to apologize the next day, and he did, but not to Republicans.  He reportedly said, “I apologize that we haven’t voted sooner to end this Holocaust in America.”   Grayson did later say that the reference to the Holocaust “might not have been the best choice of words.”  Ya think?

While making his rounds on the Cable networks, Grayson called Republicans “foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.”

One would hope that the House leadership would feel the same level of outrage at these repeated inflammatory statements that they felt at Joe Wilson’s inappropriate one-time offense (when he yelled “you lie!” at Barack Obama during the President’s address to Congress).  One would be advised not to hold one’s breath.

So many thoughts come to mind with all of this:

1.  One could make credible arguments for and against the idea that opponents of health care reform are indifferent to the needy.  However, to say that Republicans are so evil that they would wish the deaths of innocents is just ludicrous.  Critics of the Religious Right have said that religious conservatives are too judgmental, too quick to view things in terms of good and evil (with their opposition being the evil, of course).  What do such critics have to say about Congressman Grayson and his demonization of those he disagrees with?

2. To equate lack of universal health coverage with the slaughter of about six million Jews and about six million non-Jews is offensive and, again, ludicrous.  “Not the best choice of words”?  How about saying “It was monumentally insensitive and showed an incredible lack of respect for the suffering and loss of Hitler’s many victims”?

3. Mention was made of Joe Wilson being disrespectful and becoming a darling of the conservative Fox News.  Will a parallel be drawn with Grayson’s appearances on CNN and MSNBC?  Will those networks be characterized as liberal, or will such derision of Republicans be deemed mainstream by the media?

4. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are solely responsible for bad behavior in D.C., so they both need to be responsible for cleaning things up.  Republicans expressed outrage at Grayson words, but that is to be expected. One development that was nice, though, was that Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson also said Grayson should apologize.

5. One guy who has displayed a skilled touch at handling conflicts like these is President Obama.  Maybe when he gets back from trying to bring the Olympics to Chicago in 2016, he’ll weigh in on this.