Last night, during the contentious final debate on health care reform in the U.S. House, an unidentified Republican Member shouted “baby killer“ at Rep. Bart Stupak as he made his floor speech on the pending legislation.
As of 12:00 p.m. EST today, the vocal Representative remains anonymous, though there is suspicion amongst his/her colleagues as to the culprit’s true identity. The question is, should this Representative admit the transgression? Yes, because if he/she doesn’t, then the House Republicans will be branded as unruly, immature and lacking complete civility in the normal course of political debate. Here are the reasons why:
• Two incidents, one step away from a pattern. The media loves connecting the dots, and in this case “baby killer” now joins the Republican lexicon of “YOU LIE!” Many independent voters, the most crucial voting bloc in American politics, will perceive these random and impolite outbursts as the sum of Republican thought leadership on health care reform.
• Epithets are now right-leaning mantras. After Saturday’s absolutely disgraceful Tea Party-led racial and homophobic slurs shouted at House Democrats outside the Capitol, it’s now become a race to the bottom in insulting opposition politicians.
• Silence is deafening. No matter what policy arguments Republicans try to make in opposition to now-certain health care legislation, as long as the violator stays silent (or protected by fellow colleagues), the media will latch on to playing who-dun-it as opposed to analyzing legislative principles.
Speak now, Republicans, or forever lose your place…