March 29th, 2010
06:39 AM ET
10 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. Steve Lyons

    I have a better suggestion , how about respecting the voice of the electorate rather than riding rough shod over those of us that are stiffed with the tab for your socialist folly. I call for the complete and total repeal of the 16th Amendment and starve the federal government back to doing exclusively what it is called upon to do. Provide a central military for the protection of the states. And NOT to provide layer upon layer of socialist welfare programs.

    March 29, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. John

    The Republicans are getting lots of mileage by fomenting fear and rage. They are great at tearing things down by preying on ignorance, but they have no idea how to build things up by focusing on possibilities. They nearly destroyed this country under George W. Bush and they continue to exude negativity. Hope is a very powerful human concept, but it derives from having a vision for a better future. The Republican party has no vision other than to return to the policies that got us to this point in the first place.

    March 29, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. dromad

    funny, when 1 million people show up to protest the invasion of Iraq or protest the WTO or any other "leftist" cause the Republicans don't talk about "respecting the anger of the people". just like most things political in this country, it's ok as long as your side is doing it.

    March 29, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. gt

    to many politians are painting tea party as radicals ,,, for the most part , they are sick of the federal government controlling there lives...they have had enough of lies and taxes...

    March 29, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. BL

    You have to love the humor of the ReNOblicans wining. We just endured 8 years of them running the country in the ground with their my way or no way politics. From where I sit it’s ironic poetic justice

    March 29, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Johnathan

    What Sen Alexander meant was if republican friendly electorate is angry about the direction, we must respect it.

    But when democrat friendly electorate is fuming about republican leadership and their lost cause... they are unamerican.

    March 29, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Blink

    I don't want to hear it. They enact cr@p we don't want and then don't want people to be angry. That is not going to happen. From now until November part of my time and financial resources are going toward new leaders in my state.

    March 29, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. emmett brown

    We also need to respect the joy of the people without health insurance that this will help....... Stop being selfish.....

    March 29, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. a health economist

    We need to respect everyones' view points. Respecting peoples' anger, maybe. But we definitely should NOT respect the violence that is happening because of peoples' anger. We are a nation of laws. It is impossible to please everyone.

    March 29, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. al in memphis

    Where was the anger when the country was being led into bankrupty and when Wall Street was ripping off the public treasury?

    How about respecting some logical conversations about what the problems are and how to fix them. Anger is one of the lowest forms of expressing a constructive thought. Why do you think it associated more with violence?

    March 29, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. emmett brown

    Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said “ugliness” ought to be condemned. Great attitude, now when someone gets hurt or go to jail are you going to be there for medical bills or bail money.. Stand up and stop sending misinformed prople out to do your dirty work... You Repbubs are just upset the Insurance Companies have cut you off, no more kick backs....

    March 29, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Diogenes

    Babs, the demoncrats were the first ones asking for donations after politicizing ta few bricks. either side could have done it for their own crooked political reasons.
    We The People would like things to cool down as well. The way to lower the decibel level is to listen to We The People, start public perp walks of Wall Street fat cats and crooked congress people. The die has been cast so it will take an enormous effort to reverse course. Right now it looks like full steam ahead for the socialist agenda with recess appointments of people even Democrats question.

    March 29, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. The Calabash Kid

    This "anger" is about as spontaneous as a pro-Ahmadinijad rally in Tehran. And this "anger" is a product of the hard work of well-paid Republican operatives who have been stirring up the hayseeds: racists, fundamentalists, conspiracy theorists, and whackos in general.

    What is most disgusting is that these gullible folks have been persuaded to support Conservative candidates who will outsource their jobs, cut their benefits, put the country deeper in debt, and condemn their children to the same crappy education that they received.

    Conservatism: They Don't Call It The Big Con For Nothing.

    March 29, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Lee, California

    I think these comments should be directed at Sarah, Rush, Beck and Hannity. They are the ones who are advocating this rude behavior.

    March 29, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Independent

    Its obvious that the republican party had forgotten its core values with the fence sitting and 8 years of over spending and entitlement giveaways. it is now time for a strong conservative to communicate a sane fiscal policy, that will correct the course of this country before it hits the rocks of insolvency.

    March 29, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. lila

    Really? Because you guys did nothing but talk about how strong a leader Bush was for being the desider.
    I do think Obama needs to focus on stronger bank regulation and tell the story about saving the rich man you fell in the water and then later the rich man complained he did not save his hat too...

    March 29, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    HEY Lamar,

    It's one thing to respect anger but quite another to condone violence.

    March 29, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Alan D.

    Another non-condemnation condemnation.

    Way to go, Lamar.

    March 29, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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