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. Pedro

    Kinda like the respect paid protesters of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush Administration? Puhhleezzz. You are so hypocritical you are in risk of losing you false teeth from talk out of both sides of your mouth, sir!

    March 29, 2010 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  2. Guest

    Idiot ... you can not "condemn" and "respect" the violence at the same time.

    March 29, 2010 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. An American

    No matter what people's political affliation, they should still act in a civil manner. What is yelling threats and conducting harmful acts going to solve? I think we lose sight of our privelege of free speech. Over America's history, our men and women in uniform have fought to defend this privelege and yet we have a few that take advantage. I'm sorry, threats against others and committing violent or potentially violent acts does NOT fall under free speech. Personally, I cannot stand W. Bush, but I would never have thought about threatening or harming him. I may not have liked him as President, but I still respected the position.

    March 29, 2010 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  4. Kimberly in Texas

    Funny, the GOP did not respect the anger of the country about the Iraq war under Bush.

    But now they care about anger...oh, yes it's their fringe base that's feeling left behind because they are too ignorant to realize that the world is getting smaller and that we reap what we sew.

    March 29, 2010 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  5. sam, LITTLETON.CO

    We don't need the She Devil , Sara , with her child talk coming out and inciting the crowd.

    March 29, 2010 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  6. Steve

    What is the meaning of a Republican?

    A useless brain dead moron who denies the truth and reality and do nothing but lie all the time???

    I once thought this party was legitimate. But now I would never ever even consider voting for any of them. One has to real stupid to wait in line for hours to vote for a political party just to have them do NOTHING for your vote.

    HEY CNN!



    March 29, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  7. dblzap

    This idiot speaks out against the violence, then tells us its ok!

    The GOP will go to any lengths to get elected!

    March 29, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  8. Squigman

    I'm not angry about the country going in the direction it's going. I'm not angry about anything, but I am somewhat dismayed at the true cause of the anger being glossed over, as if it were non-existant, just because the extreme media happens to be (in my opinion), responsible for much of the intolerant outbursts seen throughout the nation. And, much of the outbursts are caused by mis-information dished out on the extreme airwaves. And as everthing starts to get violent, the media runs for cover and hides to try and keep itself in a position of always being in the right, regardless of the outcome of the situation.

    March 29, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  9. Bet

    Sorry, what little respect I had for Reps. has been pretty much depleted.
    Between the hate and anger and absolute greed of the Bush years, now carried into our present Congress, no, I have no respect for Rep.s anger.
    I'll tell them the same thing they told us, "get over it", or their favorite, "you don't like it leave"...
    Frankly the reason the Pres. was in trouble with some of his base was because of all the asskissin he was doing with the Rep.s.

    March 29, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. Deborah/Kansascity

    For all those that keep saying "they aren't listening". Of course they are not listeneing to YOU, you did not vote for them. They are listening to US we did vote them into office. Just because the MINORITY is not in power' does not mean Government is not listening, President Obama listens and compromises.
    There was lots of anger out there over the directions the Country was heading under George Bush and what did they say? WHO CARES-we won we are going to do what we think is best, no compromise.
    But We the People acted like Americans=peaceably voted them out., without all the hatred and violence.

    March 29, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. shirley-atl

    We never should respect anger unless it relates to terror perpetrated on our own soil. Why should we respect the anger of these loud, crude, rude, predominately repubs, who think that this country has been hijacked by this president WHEN HE WAS ELECTED BY THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. Those repubs in congress should certainly do more than just offer insincere lip service regarding their supporters before something terrible happens. They are allowing outrageous, unreasonable people to incite our citizens, and for that they should be ashamed. Afterall, we are all Americans.

    March 29, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. cherryrock

    They should have been upset when bush was in office he is the reason we are in the situation we are in now, but I guess it was okay because he was white, now that President Obama is in office and making decision everyone has a problem with it, leave the man alone and let him do his job. The main reason all the republicans are upset is because they are afraid President Obama is headed in the right direction of pulling the United States out of this rut they are in caused by the replublicans

    March 29, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  13. Bob R., Lanham, Maryland

    Now hear this Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee: anger does NOT deserve any respect – none whatsoever.

    We can all disagree and we can and should find ways to make our arguments clear. But displays of anger are to intimidate. Intimidation may be acceptable in uncivil war against enemies but intimidation has no place in a civilized society. Anger does NOT deserve any respect – none whatsoever. Bob R., Lanham, Maryalnd

    March 29, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  14. SPLackey

    What is missing is a conduit for the anger or a focus for the energy. People's concerns have become so fractured and so 'single issue' that it is difficult for it to be expressed in much any other way. A strong conservative leader is needed. One who can take the many issues and show them truly as one agenda. One who is willing to deal the blows to the media when the media becomes aggressive and defiant. We also need changes in the media. They are not and have not been objective for several years and their lack of objectivity is becoming more pronounced.

    March 29, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. Joan

    Of course people are angry–taxpayers that is. Those who are expected to pay for the healthcare privileges to be enjoyed by those who think they are entitled to a living. How on earth we have gotten to the place where we have so many entitlement people is beyond my comprehension. There appears to be no shame in it anymore. Disgusting.

    March 29, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  16. oldbones24

    Who stirred the pot to cause the anger? So much hate propaganda has gone out from Rush L., Palin, and the GOP that this was the logical consequences. Talk about home grown terrorism.

    March 29, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  17. Robert - Virginia


    Its interesting that there are those in the country who would rather have the country torn apart rather than to meet in the middle, when you have the hatred of the right coupled with the hard heartedness of those in power who only think of themselves and their greed it’s no wonder we are in the predicament we are in. Some people should be reminded that “you will reap what you sow”

    March 29, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. Damien

    The GOP is like someone who sets a trash can on fire in a crowded movie theatre and then wants to arrest those who yell "Fire!".

    March 29, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  19. jrzshor

    this is why term limits are a great idea. we should not be subjected to "old" party line thinkers for more than 12 yrs let alone 30 yrs.

    if you are in a job that long you "must" forget why you are there. doing the work for the "people" is no longer the reason for the job. now it is "party".

    the "people" have forgotten a little war that threw the bums out so that "we" could be represented (or was that the first american lie?)

    March 29, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. Dieter Zerressen

    No we don't have to respect their anger. How many times did they tell us to "get over it" after Bush was appointed President, after Bush invaded Iraq based on WMD lies, after Bush cut taxes for the rich TWICE?! These same Republicans who along with Palin, Beck, and Limbaugh, forment this anger and then tell us to respect the anger. We voted overwhelmingly for change in 2008; we want more change not going back now. No they can't have their country back – they had their chance and almost ran the country into the ground. We want our country to go forwards, not backwards.

    March 29, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. RAG

    I believe that the gentleman from Tennessee is mistaken.

    We need to unconditionally condemn anger as a motivator and as a primary message in any discussion in the body politic. To "respect" it elevates it to recognition and even possibly a call to action, when in fact, it is a result of ignorance and viseral reaction which has no place in the governance of our country.

    We are a republic and our legilators are enjoined by our founding principles as a nation to ignore the momentary "anger" of the mob and act soberly, based on truth, in the best interests of our nation. One party is doing this, one is not.

    Senator Alexander, seems to have convenently forgotten his high school civics, not to mention his principles and personal honor. Shame.

    March 29, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  22. Ferret out the BS

    It doesn't help when republican speakers and pep rally organizers are egging people on by thier speeches. Certainly there is freedom of speech but it has been ruled unconstutional to yell "fire in a crowded theater" and this is exactly what they're doing. Playing to the people that didn't get their way, believe they're being disenfranchised, and the only avenue left open to them to air they're grievences through violent acts. Get real Republicans, see yourselves for what you really are!

    March 29, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  23. Mike S.

    When you look back at the words of Republican leaders since Obama was elected, it is clear that their rhetoric was intended to fuel the fires of obstructionism, racism, and partisanship. They continue to believe that bringing down a presidency is more important than leading our country. The hypocrisy party is unraveling, and it's an ugly sight to see.

    March 29, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  24. ypsifan

    Anger over the Health Care Plan is pure and simple an anger planted by the right wing extremists in the Republican Party. They whine, they cry, they lost in 2006 and 2008 and they are acting in a purely juvenile manner.

    The Tea Party is chock full of low IQ – Unemployed – Puppets who do not have a clue about what is in the Health Care Reform Bill. They are relying on what the extremists have told them.

    If the Tea Party were rounded up and forced to read (or have it read to them) the Health Care Bill they would probably want to strangle the lying Republicans.

    March 29, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. MikeH

    Lamar Alexander is helping to fan the flames. He and his fellow Republican seditioners are trying to destroy democratic America.

    I wonder how the DOJ investigation of possible bribery by Republican Senator Ensign and the Republican party is going?

    March 29, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
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