March 29th, 2010
06:39 AM ET
3 years ago

Republican: We need to respect anger about country's direction

ALT TEXT

Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, discussed the need for a more civil political discourse on Sunday's State of the Union. (Photo Credit: CNN)

Washington (CNN) – Commenting on the high-temperature political rhetoric of the last week and some incidents of violence and threats against lawmakers, a leading Senate Republican walked a fine line Sunday.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said “ugliness” ought to be condemned. And, at the same time, the Tennessee Republican said the nation’s leaders needed to “respect” the anger some have about the direction the country is headed in.

“There's no doubt there has been - the anger today is more visible,” Alexander told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “You can go to any Web site and see ugliness. It used to be beneath the surface and it's on top now, and it ought to be condemned.

Related: Anger over health care bill a sign of the times?

“But there's also a lot of real anger out there about the direction of the country. And we need to respect that and then conduct ourselves in a civil way, which I think we United States senators are capable of doing and did do this week.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, agreed with Alexander and had detailed advice about how to cool down the country’s political rhetoric.

“I have a suggestion,” Mikulski told Crowley on State of the Union. “Let's go back to the three R’s: respect, rules of engagement that promote decorum, and, number three, stop the rewards system that enables you to raise a lot of money after using outrageous and bizarre behavior.”

Asked about recent efforts by fellow Democrats to raise money in the wake of threats and vandalism directed at Democratic lawmakers who supported the health care bill, Mikulski called out members of her own party.

“I think it's stridency, whether it is from the right or the left. We need to lower the decibel level."

Earlier: Axelrod weighs in on Dem fundraising off of threats, violence

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Scott

    There's one very sure way to cool down the rhetoric from last week's debacle they called health care reform...repeal it and start over with actual real reform that will put restrictions on frivolous law suits and also put restrictions on insurance companies from being able to control the price of health care, and make prescription medication more affordable, like Canada does, then prices will come down. If insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies were only allowed to make a reasonable profit instead of being able to price gouge, that it itself would lower health care costs, and make it more affordable for those less fortunate to be able to afford their own health care, instead of the United States Government stealing the money from those that make more money to make sure others have health care coverage...this isn't Sherwood Forest, we don't need no Robin Hood's

    March 29, 2010 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  2. Capt. Snarky

    I am continually amazed that the stupidity and arrogance of our elected officials. If they'd have listened to their electorate and voted accordingly, this "anger" wouldn't have materialized. Vote against the wishes of the majority, and it'll piss people off.

    March 29, 2010 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  3. grf67

    Are there no adults in the GOP? Are all of the extremist legislators still children who are much of the cause for the radical behavior. These threats they and their followers have made are terrorist actions and should be dealt with as such. It is past time that the FBI arrested these people, including the media and the legislators, and charged them with sedition.

    March 29, 2010 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  4. marty

    Mr. Alexander didn't walk a fine line in his response, he evaded the issue with the usual cheap shot at the end of his comment. He and his colleagues will never, ever take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

    March 29, 2010 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  5. mimi1234

    Maybe if this administration weren't so shrouded in secrecy, the public would be so suspicious of everything they do!! Disclosure PLEASE!!! What happened to all of Obamas campaign promises about transparency? He has broken ALL of his campaign lies!!!

    March 29, 2010 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  6. mike kinley

    the so called anger is a purely reaction instigated by the repugs to register their frustrations for such a monumental loss on the healthcare issue. they should be target of the anger, having destroyed the economy within 8 years. moreover this is a global crisis and recovery wil take time. the people of this great nation should be wary of these bunch of deceitful bunch and liars, rally round the president and pull this nation out of this monumental global crisis. CNN should stop giving these fools attention. this is something near the great depression and will require no quick fix.

    March 29, 2010 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  7. Willy Brown

    You democrats want to cool down the American public then stop the socialist scuffle you're doing with Barry. CNN and the rest of the left wing media won’t be able to sugar coat this administration enough after they get rolled out of power in November’s election if you keep dancing in the Kabuki Theater with Rahm and Axelrod

    March 29, 2010 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  8. Republicans are Americas Taliban

    Anger NEVER has a place of respect, only the uneducated have this stance. Anyone who understands the place of anger and who is educated about the consequences of anger knows anger has to be held in check and NEVER held as something proper, to do so is to play with FIRE and this is what the Republicans are doing. They fan the flames with out of line rhetoric and then stand back and pretend they had nothing to do with it but that it is just proper anger over the condition of the country. When you are in a high profile position and you show your anger unchecked you send a signal to all of your constituents that the anger is proper and thus it is ok to act out of control. Anyone who does this is just as responsible for the violent acts that follow as if they performed the violent acts themselves. There is no more excuse or respect for this type of behavior than there is for the person who cries FIRE in a crowded theater.

    March 29, 2010 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  9. Republicans are Americas Taliban

    Candy Crowley needs to go to FAUX NEWS where she belongs, she is a dispicable news reporter and anchor.

    March 29, 2010 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  10. Bill Michael

    Oh Pleeease...!!! Don't you DARE tell me to "Calm Down". You're not the one that will get stuck paying the bill. You think we've got illegal immigration problems in this country right now, just wait till they all find out that we've got free health care along with room and board.

    March 29, 2010 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  11. Texan for Democracy

    Candy Crowley has fallen victim to the mistaken idea that the country has taken a shift or turn to the right, and she is headed to be off the rails in her search for this mistaken idea. She needs to re-center to where the American people really are, and not to where the loud but mistaken tea party activists and Republican extremists think it is going. (They are wrong.)

    March 29, 2010 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  12. Ron in Asheville, NC

    I'm all for all of that. But still, along with it, the conservatives should clearly and unequivocally call off their dogs. C,mon Lamar . . .

    March 29, 2010 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  13. Jeesh

    ",,,anger is ugly and condemned..." And in the same breath, "keep getting angrier". Hypocrisy to the max by these republicans. The truth is they want the country to fall apart go into anarchy and despair so they can say see we told you so. These people can offer nothing but destruction and despair. What a legacy!

    March 29, 2010 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  14. maine liberal

    Lets start by telling the truth and calling out Fox-news over the continuing mis-representations of what is in the healthcare bill.

    death squad palin
    free medical coverage to illegals
    government control of your healthcare
    doctors not part of the decisions
    a secret plot by obama to destroy the constitution
    socialism, communism
    police state

    March 29, 2010 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  15. Paula, New Hampshire

    And what about the anger WE had under W? We didn't run around with guns, making threats, spitting on people. Our protests were legitimate. Congress did nothing about what was going on with the country, and Bush just upped security and spying on us, and ignored what we were saying.

    The Republicans and the Tea Partiers today, sure, they can protest. But they shouldn't obstruct the working of the government, especially as it is trying to fix the problems that W brought to us. But there is NO justification for violence, threats, and racial disrespect.

    March 29, 2010 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  16. LETHOL

    It's just real curious to me how that when the country was in an uproar and called for the Bush Administration NOT to go into a personal war against a man who tried to kill his daddy and to pull our troops out of Iraq, Republicans quickly labeled them as unpatriotic even when the main reason (an intent to use WMD against US Cities) American citizens were told the country was going into Iraq turned out to be a fabrication, those who said enough was enough, were still labeled unpatriotic.

    Now people are threatening to kill elected officials in this country like we are some uncivilized collective group of thugs, and Republicans want that "anger to be respected"?

    Huh, what?

    March 29, 2010 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  17. MS Redhead

    I have a few suggestions for BOTH political parties. Let's go back to the U. S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our checks and balance system of government: STOP executive orders; STOP recess appointments; STOP appointment of czars; STOP earmarks and add-ons; STOP backroom deals; STOP lobbyists from writing our bills or paying off our representatives; STOP corruption in our government; STOP illegal campaign funding, etc., AND START LISTENING TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS.

    March 29, 2010 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  18. Nate DeMontigny: PM Editor

    Alexander is a bit out of touch if he thinks we should "respect" the "ugliness". And if this is the way the GOP think they will "win the country back" come election time they are far from sane themselves. Keep it up and they'll never find themselves back!

    March 29, 2010 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  19. Jeff, TX

    Yes, respect the frustration, but condemn the behavior, and condemn all the incitement by those ginning up the anger.

    The Republicans have a huge problem. 86% of Tea Party members consider themselves Republican-leaning. That means the party does not appeal beyond its base, a choice it has repeated since McCain's 2008 loss. The healthcare vote was pure INACTIVITY, when it's now become clear that centrists or just right of center voters want ACTION. Republicans missed that one. Now, "Repeal and Replace" is so bogus, so hollow. With Obama in place, a veto-proof action is all but impossible, and people see through this bogus rant lead by Sen. McConnell. Their only hope would be 2012 and beyond. Anything can happen in politics, but in our world that's an eternity.

    If the economy continues its nascent upswing, if relations with Russia improve, and once people hear of more multibillion $ paybacks by the likes of Citi, the Dems could be building momentum.

    March 29, 2010 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. Peter E

    When YOUR party does it, it's 'real anger that needs to be respected.' When the OPPOSITE party does it, it's 'disrespectful knee-jerk hate' and 'fanning the flames.'

    March 29, 2010 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  21. AEK

    This anger was created by the Republican's rhetoric of hatred going back to the election they lost and stoked at every opportunity since. They send their talking heads out to spew all matter or racist, gender biased and anti sectarian garbage, stand back and watch the deleterious effects, and then claim they are really not to blame. So typical!

    March 29, 2010 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  22. corky

    Why is anger on the right is viewed as ugliness, yet anger on the left is viewed as ok?

    March 29, 2010 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  23. Ellie

    Respect anger? What moron respects ANGER, that's the problem with Republicans. They continue to IGNORE the monster they've created until it's too late. ANGER is like a box full of dynamite, once you light it, it will blow up in your face!!!

    Republicans have NOT learned their lesson yet. They continue to dig themselves deeper and deeper in du-du.

    March 29, 2010 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  24. Nakia Terry

    We need to respect anger? Republicans speaking of RESPECT. Wow, that's a new one on me...

    March 29, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  25. jim

    the way I see it for the health care issue ... there are three things that congress needed to look at on principle
    1) what percentage are FOR it in "my" district
    2) what percentage are AGAINST it in "my" district
    3) what is the correct thing to do

    so, yes, certainly those who were against it should be listened to and their reasons examined. one last thing to make clear, tho ... listening does NOT mean automatically voting the way those against it want you to vote.

    March 29, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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