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May 31, 2008

A Little Civility, Please, Lanny…

Posted in: 2008 Election

I saw Lanny Davis in the lobby here at the Rules Committee meeting. I had my video camera and I wanted to ask him what he thought of his good friend Joe Lieberman who is now running around saying Barack Obama is the candidate of choice of Hamas. But steam was coming out of Lanny’s ears and it didn’t seem like the best of times:

A brief but spittle-filled shouting match broke out in the halls of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee hearing on Saturday between a committee member and a surrogate for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Lanny Davis, the colorful, committed, and sometimes unrestrained Clinton supporter deliberately interrupted a small gathering of press who had come to hear Jon Ausman, a DNC member, explain the basis of his proposed Florida delegation compromise.

"I’ll tell you what," Davis chimed in, "the Clinton campaign’s position has been misrepresented by this wonderful love-fest, and the lady who testified for us was saying that the Obama campaign and your proposal is not generous. But it is in fact unfair. If you want to hear, now that the love-fest is over, why don’t you come over and hear the counterpoint to this completely disingenuous argument.

Lanny, Lanny. Please. In the words of a wise man, can’t we all just get along?

My brief and unhappy experience with the hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle comes from the last several months I spent campaigning for a longtime friend, Joe Lieberman.

This kind of scary hatred, my dad used to tell me, comes only from the right wing–in his day from people such as the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with his tirades against "communists and their fellow travelers." The word "McCarthyism" became a red flag for liberals, signifying the far right’s fascistic tactics of labeling anyone a "communist" or "socialist" who favored an active federal government to help the middle class and the poor, and to level the playing field.

Anger just isn’t the way, Lanny. Politics is a gentleman’s game, part of the fine tradition of Cicero and the great orators. We lower ourselves and our American ideals when we lose our temper and engage in this kind of coarse, angry, spittle-flecked vitriol.

I really wanted to introduce myself and give him a hail-fellow-well-met over Lieberman’s senate victory (something he is no doubt proud of), but I have to say I feared for my very safety lest I approach him and he not be able to control his terrible temper.

Oh for shame.

[Cross-posted at Emptywheel.]


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