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. FM

    Anger disappears quickly if there is no one fueling it. People like Sarah Palin are dangerous to the entire nation. It doesn't do any good tearing people apart!

    March 29, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Dr. X

    yeah you do. You are the enemy

    March 29, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Sarge in Florida

    Why isn't Bill the attorney general here in Florida investigating Marco Rubio ' Who Is running for the US Senate' for using NRC credit cards for his own personal use? Is it because that Bill is going to run for Gov. here and both are Repuklians? Rubio would not have disclosed his spending until a reporter found out. So if he paid it back I guess it's alright then.

    March 29, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. Ben in Texas

    Alexander is so typical of Repugnants. When they're not in power, they see all this anger about the direction the country is moving in. They want to "respect" that anger, apparently meaning, encourage and nurture that anger.

    However, all during the Bush regime years, he totally ignored the much greater anger of those opposed to 2 ridiculous wars and the rip off of American civil liberties. So basically, Alexander likes mayhem and murder but hates health care.

    March 29, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. ThinkAgain

    I don't respect anger from these people any more than I "respect" a temper-tantrum being thrown by a spoiled toddler.

    If these people want to engage in civil discourse based on facts, fine.

    If they want to continue with their un-informed, whiny, bully tactics, they can go take a hike!

    March 29, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Bubba

    It's phony partisan anger, carefully stoked by Repubs hoping someone will murder members of the opposition and make people afraid to speak against the violent maniacs of the loony right, and as such has no possibility of being respected.

    March 29, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  7. Desmond in Canada

    The extreme "anger" about the Health Care bill, like almost all extremism in the USA is manufactured and "mass-produced" by the fear-mongering, lying machinery of the Repubs and their psedo-Christian "wingnut" base. And there are lots of stupid people who buy the product. But, fortunately, they are far outnumbered by intelligent, compassionate and just citizens of the USA

    March 29, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  8. Michael in Boston

    There is nothing wrong with "spirited debate", it is what this country is founded on, however to use inciting words such as "revolution", "reload", "take the country back", are inspiring people to take action in ways other than via the political process. Our leaders should be able to separate these two ideas, however it's my opinion that one party does not want to support this, a emotionally stoked and invested base is a motivated base.

    March 29, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. phoenix86

    Perhaps the 4th "R", and is REPRESENTATION. That is something that the democrats abandoned in passing this massive tax increase in the guise of healthcare.

    Democrats will remember what representation means in November.

    March 29, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Former Nude Models like Brown make great role models for our nation's youth

    Lamar cannot condemn the violent attacks and threats against lawmakers because his base is responsible for them. Lamar wants to respect the people who engage in violent attacks and threats. This is like saying we need to respect the anger that motivated Timothy McVeigh. Lamar is a sore loser on health care. Why can't Washington focus on the economy and the budget deficit instead of partisan bickering?

    March 29, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Dewey

    I'm all for civility, but no reasonable person is obligated to respect the vile and hateful things being said. I'm sorry you're angry, but many, many people are quite happy about the direction this country is taking under president Obama. Will those foaming at the mouth agree to respect our happiness?

    March 29, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Ryan

    Respect the anger ?

    You must be mad out of your mind for even thinking like that.

    Wilson's deliberate shout out deliberate ( yes, it was deliberate,look at his buddy's next to him unsurprised ) .
    The most outrageous hateful nonsense filled show called " the Glenn Beck " show , that is doing serious damage and hijacked the GOP agenda.( I will not even mention Limbo, the real chairman of the GOP).
    Bohnerhead's and many of his friends with fiery angry flame throwing floor speeches , unprecedented before 2008.

    Yes, let tell it like it is, the GOP got Hijacked before 2000 , and the extremist came in to power between 2000 and 2008 , now they are fighting with what ever means to get that power back.

    The GOP is a far right party , making normal people look like socialists,Case closed.

    March 29, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. Our nation is divided and on the brink

    OK, with all due respect, President Obama's liberal agenda has caused a massive divide between those on the right and those on the left. When you have such an assault on freedom – the freedom that millions of patriots died for or were wounded in previous wars to protect – it's no wonder there is intense anger. Let's not resort to violence, let's just expose the liberals for who they really are.

    March 29, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. Cat, Holt, Mo

    Anger is fine, BUT violence is NOT. This country is above that I would hope. Its people like Sarah Palin and Rush the fat man, who incite violence. They are a danger to this country and its many many fine people who use their voice and vote to make changes.
    Those two, along with Ann Colter who advocate violence. Shame on all three of these slime balls.

    March 29, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  15. Jim

    We don't need to respect this anger about the country's direction. For one thing, its being stoked for political gain by the Republican party. For another, we already went down the Republican path and look what happened. We should judge their ideas by their fruits and the fruits are war, economic stagnation and ultimately economic disaster. Getting more orthodox about Republican ideas will only make things worse.

    March 29, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  16. Tom B

    So now the Republicans are with the terrorists?

    March 29, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Charlotte, NC

    This law was passed by our Congress, in the manner prescribed and pre-determined by our Constitution long ago. These idiots who are protesting so rudely need to be put in a mandatory 8th grade civics course as well as one on basic human decency. The legislators who call out awful things in the legislative chambers should be expelled straight away.

    This type of behavior should have been used when Bush was preparing to get us into these wars.

    March 29, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. John

    When I say I'm angry about the country's direction, I mean the blatant Republican obstructionism. I want my government to actually get things done, not fester.

    March 29, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Midwest

    America was and remains angry about politicians in D.C.

    That's why the Republicans lost their majority and Obama was elected.

    Democrats respect the opposition but not a single Democrat fomented violent actions against opponents of health care reform.

    The same cannot be said for the Republicans as they openly advocated extreme reactions to the political process that legally allowed for health care reform to pass by a majority vote.

    March 29, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. kitty

    The GOP far right wing,Sarah,Glenn,Rush,Sean,Tea Party, and Ann are the ones who created this rhetoric and hate. So clean your own house first You should admit you can not control these fools.The moderate GOP is a thing of the past.

    March 29, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Tom, St Paul

    When we as a nation start respecting bricks thrown through windows, elected official being spit on, racial epithets and gay slurs shouted, used condoms sent through the mail, threatening email sent, and patriotism questioned for those whose views differ, that's the day we know our nation is truly in trouble.

    March 29, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Don

    I get ticked when my wife spends 30 dollars on a pair of shoes she doesn't need. I do feel anger when I hear this congress is spending my money on trips, partys, favors, or anything else that is not a needed expense.

    March 29, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. Bill

    Yes, yes; we need to respect violence too, and hatred and stupid, etc. etc. Brought to you by Lamer and another "bipartisan" democrat. Violence in the end is apparently all about raising campaign money. What a wonderful moral to an otherwise assinine recorded softball conversation. Congratulations CNN, feeding the stupid never felt dumber!

    March 29, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. geecee

    I don't seem to remember the Republicans respecting the Democrats anger with the direction the country was going through 2001-2008!! Why should we respect the Republicans anger? They are out of their minds with hatred for our President and Democratic Congress. They have no solutions but to yell, complain, fearmonger and threaten. They are sore losers and refuse to compromise and cooperate with anything at all that President Obama wants. Their plan was to make him fail at all costs, even at the expense of this Country's sake. They are haters and vindictive losers and won't quit with their "strategy" because their fuehrer Rush and his minions keep feeding their empty heads with their venom. We know what's going on, why should we respect their anger? We supporters of our government are angry too, don't forget that!

    March 29, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Susan

    Yes but when the Republican party continues to stonewall and block the progress of Health Care or recent appointees they are (In Cantor's words) Fanning the Flames.........the GOP has had past Presidents to put a Health Care Bill through......and did nothing........they have stonewalled the appointees to this administration for seven months.......if they didn't want any of these people to be appointed they should have taken it to the floor of the Senate and taken a vote instead of stalling these the President has made the appointments during the recess (which is his right to do) just like Bush did for 170 appointees when he was in office and Clinton 140 when he was in office......Obama has 70 that the GOP has held up and only this weekend put in 15......he should have done all 70......The Republicans and conservatives are calling for American to vote out the incumbents.......what makes you think that we the people are going to vote out the ones that voted for Health Care........the incumbents that are going to get voted out are the Party of NO Republicans........and they will continue to be the minority.......

    March 29, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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