The furor over Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer's yelling "baby killer" at Rep. Bart Stupak during health care debate last night seems oddly familiar. Once again, a lone voice has managed to convince commentators that we are witnessing the end of civil society. For your amusement, the Wire has collected some of the things said about similar incidents in the past year:
- Joe Wilson Yells 'You Lie!,' September 09, 2009 The New York Times' Gail Collins talks of the "inchoate rage" animating both the tea partiers and Joe Wilson. Maureen Dowd decides we are in "a period of racial turbulence sparked by [Obama's] ascension."
- Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift, September 13, 2009 USA Today's Marco della Cava, among others, strings this incident together with Joe Wilson's outburst and Serena Williams's on-court expletives to ask the question: "what happened to civility?"
- Justice Samuel Alito Mouths 'Not True!' January 27, 2010 Salon's Glenn Greenwald
pens the ultimate rant on this topic, saying the State of the Union
moment of tension "was a serious and substantive breach of protocol
that reflects very poorly on Alito and only further undermines the
credibility of the Court." Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor notices that Bradley Smith,
chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, thinks Obama's
scolding of the Supreme Court--which elicited the outburst--was in
itself "a breach of decorum, and represents the worst of Washington
- Randy Neugebauer's 'Baby Killer!' March 21, 2010 "That the shout came from a colleague of Stupak's," writes the Guardian's Michael Tomasky, "a sitting member of Congress, and not some yahoo in the gallery, was pretty shocking, the kind of thing we don't see over here much." He accurately predicts that the shouter--at the time, unidentified--would identify himself, instantly "becom[ing] a tea party hero." Says Tomasky: "that's what it's come to."
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