March 28th, 2010
05:42 PM ET
11 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 (39 Responses)
  1. CEE

    The Republicans only respect anger when they are anger, ask the Dixie Chicks. They were banned by the Republicans.

    March 28, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Indy

    Republicans also need to respect the will of the people.The will of the people was to send Obama to the Whitehouse and sign new healthcare reform into law. This also meant it was the will of the people to send the Republicans down the road, maening "You are Fired". Obama listened to thw will of the people and got healcare reform into law, but John McCain and Sarah Palin failed to listen to the will of the people, when the will of the people was that they just go away, they were fired by the people for the people.

    March 28, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Tori in Texas

    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.

    No, I respect civil discourse about various issues. I DO NOT repect anger at all. If you can't use your words and facts rather than your anger and bricks, than I have no interest in talking to you at all. Stop acting like 3 year olds who haven't been taught how to appropriately express their feelings yet.

    No wonder Repubs hate public education – it interferes with their ability to control the non-thinkers.

    March 28, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    The probelm is that the Repubs only want to focus on promoting and exploiting the anger and unjustified fear of their base for selfish reasons. The Repubs responsibility – their job – is to care about the feelings and well being of all their constituents, of all Americans.
    Republicans are such school-yard punks who think they can bully the American people and their representatives into following their perverse idealogy. Repubs have failed our country.

    March 28, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. ib

    Obama's comment to bring it on plus the fact that the so called healthcare bill being rammed down our throats in spite of poll after poll showing Americans did not want this bill has people mad. This country is more divided than I have ever seen it before including during the war In VM. Pelosi and her comments haven't helped things either and people wonder why all the hate?? Just listen to Obama and the far left and you know why.

    March 28, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. MikeH

    That's like saying "we need to respect the brick being thrown through the window", or "we need to respect the racist screaming and flying spit.". The Republicans are trying to destroy the country as a way to assert power.

    If this keeps up the whole lot of them should be identified as domestic terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

    Republicans are just disgusting!

    March 28, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    What is passing for patriotism is in reality selfishness. Plain and simple. "I have my health care and the hell with everyone else!"

    March 28, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. S Callahan

    I'd like to see some stories on the old days of politics...
    anger is not new...look at what Linclon faced....or even Johnson....
    there are many that had the ire of the public....yet for some reason al of a sudden one is not patrotic when voicing an opinion. (note I do not agree with any acts of physical violence). Rallies and the like are perfectly appropriate.

    March 28, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Paul H

    Yes because agree,or disagree, but it's all of our rights to voice our opinions. That's just one of the perks of being in a free "We the People" dominated country with a government that works for us.
    That's what makes this more powerful the fact that a whole party pretty much voted against the majority will of the people. (Ironically in the name of the people) A whole party is forcing an agenda, rather than reaching across the isle, or listening to constituents.
    And now they are taking the anger that's being directed toward them, and using it as a tool to make the ones that don't agree with them to look bad.
    When for years the anger coming from the left was looked at as freedom of speech.
    Yes we are angry, and we are going to be heard. And this is our God given, and Constitutional right.

    March 28, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. The attack, the attack...

    Questions, questions and more quest....?

    The Dems yelling that they are under attacks...! If, someone with the ability to see beyond the scenes, would we see the Democrats doing most of the deed..? Especially the ONE claiming to have received an envelpope containing white powder and threatening note, sure does not ring true. So, why are the Dems doing this ? if not for political sympathy for their "BILL" If this rings true then we say :"Shame on you".......................................................................................................!.

    March 28, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Jeanne

    It's amazing that with all the video cameras/media/phones that I've yet to see one media outlet air the alleged slurs. Could it be they don't exist. Too bad the media hasn't been as concerned when actual incidents have been directed the other direction.

    March 28, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Alex

    Isn't it just funny how Republicans all of sudden respect anger about the direction that our country is going? Where was all that respect in 2003 when there was so much anger about invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11? I distinctly remember those people were being called the "loony left" and that they were all unpatriotic for not supporting the war in Iraq. Typical hypocrisy on their part, but it still surprises me every time I see it.

    March 28, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Larry

    Anger about the direction this country is taking?

    For the first time in years this country is seeing hope in the future.

    Those who are the angriest are the Republicans who'll be losing their jobs in the next election cycle.

    Get real Alexander. Remember, your goofball party nominated Sarah as your vice presidential candidate.

    I still can't stop laughing about that one!

    March 28, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. johnrj08

    We do NOT need to respect "anger". Anger is generated by irrational fear which really has nothing to do with the facts. Anger is the result of disinformation and fear-mongering and generates the kind of staunch pig-headedness we're seeing in the Tea Party movement. More importantly, anger leads to violence and threats of violence, neither of which has any place in a civil society.

    March 28, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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