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

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


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. Brian0901

    The anger stems from immaturity. People who express anger are not mature enough for a civil dbate.

    March 29, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The anger in the country is much like the anger when Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Dodgers or the University of Kentucky suited up their first black player. Angry mobs are not too bright, and it is 2010, not the 1950's.

    March 29, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    The louder people shout doesn't make them any more right or numerous. Over time, the majority of Americans is going to see that this was necessary and is not "Armageddon". Hats off to Pres. Obama for having the political courage to do what is needed even if he loses popularity in the process.

    March 29, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  4. Drew

    But their party caused most of the anger!
    I'm not saying everyone should love the law, but I'd say it's safe to assume the VAST majority of the hate and anger comes from the lies about the bill that were spread in the preceding months.

    March 29, 2010 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  5. american patriot

    Still dont get it Axelrod I mean NIMROD.

    People are so pissedover the failed Stimulus, Bank bailouts, Outsourcing, Lobbiying I mean Bribery.

    You saw the March on Washington last November.

    This next one will be massive and people will returning this time for a fight.

    You know this and have ignored the will of the people.

    The economy is going to collaps and everyone knows it and yet you spend us in to the ground. Your no differnt than Republicans and we need to aboloish both parties and Poloticians from running our Country.

    March 29, 2010 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    Respect ANGER!!!

    During the March on Washington led by MLK and other protest for CIVIL RIGHTS, we got NO RESPECT – and we were PEACEFUL!!!

    Respect 'protesting' would have been more appropriate!!!

    March 29, 2010 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  7. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on our shoes!

    The majority voted for President Obama in 2008 with a 53% to 46% margin. Seems to me the majority spoke and do not want to "take back our country".

    HCR was passed by a majority in the House and a SUPER majority in the Senate. Only the legislation to remove the "cornhusker" deal and other "fixes" were passed by reconciliation, a parliamentarian procedure used by both parties to their benefit.

    The country is headed in the direction the majority wanted.

    Anger should never be encouraged or "respected"!

    If the "majority" the cons proclaim is now against the direction, will get a chance to invoke "term limits" in November, the process is called elections.

    Of course, that will only change Congress the new "majority" will have to wait until 2012 to try and get the black guy out of "their" White House.

    March 29, 2010 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  8. Astounded

    Respect the anger from right wing buffoons who have no idea what they are screeching about? Why do they garner such attention? The majority of Americans support this effort!

    March 29, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  9. DAW, NC

    the republicans stir up and add to the anger then say we need to recognize it and listen, ie do what we want. If they really want to stop the hate and fear they are generating stop using the techniques that ferment it. bullying of any sort should not be rewarded, the only way they are happy is if they get their way. sort of reminds me of a child's response to not getting its way.

    March 29, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Justin

    Either you're for the rule of law, or you're not, Senator Lamar. Should I respect the average murderer's 'anger'? How about terrorists?

    I'm sick of the GOP talking out of both sides of its mouth about this. If they want to foment a violent revolution in this country, they should man-up and say so.

    If not, they should quit encouraging violence.

    March 29, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  11. rkm

    Scroll back up, look very closely at the side by side of the 2 senators! Now which one looks angry? LOL Sen. Mikulski looks like someone urinated in her cheerios, too funny. Democrats=Party of Hypocrisy and Anger and Statism.

    March 29, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. non-partisan

    Polls are now split about 50:50 on health care reform, and there are strong opinions at both ends of the spectrum. However, opinion on the pro-health-care end are divided because quite a few don't feel the legislation was liberal enough. At the other end there is more unity, and the community especially reflected – the conservative right wing, have a variety of incentives for creating scenes. It's clear that a broader objective is disruption for its own sake. So yes, tone it down, have better dialogue, but at the same time recognise that there are a group of people more responsible for the problem than the rest.

    March 29, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. reality

    Yes America is upset over the way in which the health care bill was passed and it's contents. The majority of American people do indeed want health care reform. There are only the democrats ideas noted within this bill. The republican voice was not even heard – nor were the voices of the American people. We do not want a larger government, nor do we want congress and Obama spending money that we clearly do not have.

    How many more trillions of dollars are congress and Obama going to spend? I do not spend money when my checking account is in the red. How then can our government?

    March 29, 2010 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  14. cspurgeon

    Yes there is a lot of anger and the Republicans need to recognise that much is also directed at them. I am an independent who does not vote in a partisan manner but am very disgusted with the no and obstructioniste viewpoints of what I see as bad losers who care nothing for the country but are directing all their erfforts toward political gain.I see them as mostly bad losers with somewhat racist views but more driven by their wallets like alln politicians. Wake up and think about the country.

    March 29, 2010 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  15. JF

    What violence? A couple of windows broken, so what? There will always be creasy people out there. I do not see all the unemployed and uninsured marching down the street in anger. Neither do I ses the American middle class or the seniors. The press is trying its best to keep that insignificant story alive until they find another story more juicy so they can press it until it is dry.

    March 29, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  16. ugochukwu Ebonine

    Its good morning again in America.The passage of the Health care bill is not a victory of person or party but a victory of the American people.It has proved once again that things can happen in America.yes We Can!

    March 29, 2010 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Romas

    How about the anger that everyone felt during the bush administration, how about the fact that the vast majority didn't like the direction the country was heading in? I didn't hear any of these concerned Republicans opening up their mouth about that situation. Now all of a sudden there is anger and we must listen to it. The only anger I hear is the far right wing agitating people with lies and fear tactics. It;s time for all the elected politicians to read the constitution and Bill of Rights and learn to govern according to what this country was founded on. Listening to extremists from any direction is wrong. our elected officials should not pander to them.

    March 29, 2010 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  18. Vigla

    The only anger I see is coming from the right. When the right gets angry, they get violent. Back 40 years ago, it was the other way around. The left used to be the wacky ones - and look where it got them. 40 years of political wilderness... Expect the same here.

    The loons should be ostracised, not encouraged. Let the radiacals start their own party. They are too toxic.

    March 29, 2010 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  19. lucy

    Of course, there wouldn't BE this level of anger if the GOP had not deliberately inflamed it. Not to mention creating many of the conditions that created it.

    March 29, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  20. joe smith

    the way the majority of Americans feel is a direct result of the way their elected officials have taken lobbyists money, and plenty of it, and are at the bec and call of those lobbyists. They have sold their soul, and of course all that is good in America out the window..a total clean house is in order, and will happen..Franlklin said, " give me a country I can control their currency, and I'll show you a country I can control" The American people will do the right thing, contrary to what Mr. Alexander, or Ms. Milkulski have to say..they too will be gone..

    March 29, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  21. rochenel Marc

    We need to stop promoting the Tea party as a political adventage that cacse a lot hater and treat

    March 29, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  22. Monrob

    While both parties are angry, most of the anger is being manifested by the republican party and their inability to accept loss.

    It starts with Tea people and go up the ladder to republican leaders. And at the top is Sarah Palin reloading and fireing. Good grief.

    March 29, 2010 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  23. Common Sense

    "A people shouldn't fear its gov't,the gov't should fear its people"

    March 29, 2010 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  24. Jim M

    People have a right to be angry if they wish, but threatening elected officials, trashing offices...that is ridiculous.

    March 29, 2010 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  25. toad

    Who cares if they're told were to go!!!

    March 29, 2010 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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