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Tea Party protesters during President Obama’s first term.

Laughable — The GOP Now Claims To Be “Concerned” About Civility

The closing argument for the GOP in campaign 2018 appears to be that Democrats are an angry mob and too mean to govern responsibly. Apparently, the Republicans are upset that a handful of people said nasty things to Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ted Cruz when they were dining out at restaurants. Similarly, the Nebraska GOP cried foul last year when protesters in Lincoln put up a sign in Jeff Fortenberry’s yard that contained some profanity.

I condemn these kinds of acts by a handful of opponents of the GOP. In my opinion, that doesn’t help our cause. Instead, I would recommend to my fellow Democrats that we stay focused on the issues and getting out the vote in the closing days of the campaign. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Democrats are very well behaved. It’s not honest for the GOP to conflate the behavior of a handful of people with all Democrats.

As a result of these isolated incidents, the GOP is now trying to lecture the Democratic Party on civility. You can’t make this stuff up. This is laughable in light of the GOP’s bad behavior over the years. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we. As Harry Truman said: “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.”

What makes the GOP’s new found “concern” about civility so hypocritical is that their dear leader — Donald J. Trump — is the most uncivil major political leader in U.S. history. Trump’s stock in trade is juvenile name calling. His modus operandi is similar to what you find on the Limbaugh and the Hannity shows. Trump won the GOP nomination in 2016 because the GOP base has marinated in the hatred and name calling of the right wing media for over twenty years. That made GOP base voters receptive to Trump’s obnoxious behavior.

Trump’s history of vicious attacks on people who oppose him is appalling. When he ran for president in 2016, he ridiculed a disabled reporter. In addition, he recently mocked Christine Blasey Ford. And that is just the tip of iceberg.

The former reality TV star has even incited violence. At his 2016 rallies, he praised his supporters who beat up protesters and even promised to pay their attorney fees if they got charged with assault.

Trump does more than just call names. His dishonest and hate filled rhetoric is aimed at tearing apart and dividing the nation. Trump apparently believes he is only the president of about 40% of the country and has nothing but contempt for everybody else.

Trump’s bad behavior was preceded by the Tea Party during the Obama Administration. Enraged right wingers leveled death threats against Democratic members of Congress and vandalized their offices. They went out of their way to disrupt town hall meetings and shout down members of Congress. Opponents of Obama Care even called Representative John Lewis a “n****r” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in 2010.

Closer to home, Representative Don Bacon has made a plea for civility as part of his hotly contested re-election bid. However, Bacon’s bid for civility is belied by his constant misrepresentations of Eastman’s positions on the issue.

Bacon has repeatedly lied about Eastman’s platform on health care and taxes. What he doesn’t tell you is that Eastman supports the same top tax rate we had during Reagan’s first term, fully funded middle class tax cuts and affordable health care for all Americans. It’s not very civil to constantly lie about your opponent’s record.

In 2016, Michelle Obama said: “When they go low, we go high.” That is still good advice. What that means is that we Democrats need to tell the voters how the GOP’s policies are hurting them and how we plan to make their lives better. At the same time, we need to aggressively and honestly rebut the GOP’s many smears and lies.

Between now and November, we need to focus on getting out the vote. Please volunteer for your favorite candidates and local party organizations. The future of democracy is on the ballot on November 6. The stakes couldn’t be any higher. We can get it done! As Harry Truman said: “ I will win this election and make these Republicans like it — don’t you forget that!”

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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