I haven’t said anything about Saturday’s tragic shooting rampage in Tucson. I haven’t said anything about Saturday’s shooting rampage in Tucson. That isn’t because I lacked thoughts on the subject but that I thought others were making the rational points that need to be made better than I could. I have, however, seen something that needs highlighting, the anonymous remarks of “a senior Republican senator” as reported in Politico. I added the emphasis.
A senior Republican senator, speaking anonymously in order to freely discuss the tragedy, told POLITICO that the Giffords shooting should be taken as a “cautionary tale” by Republicans.
“There is a need for some reflection here – what is too far now?” said the senator. “What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”
The vast majority of tea party activists, this senator said, ought not be impugned.
“They’re talking about things most mainstream Americans are talking about, like spending and debt,” the Republican said, before adding that politicians of all stripes need to emphasize in the coming days that “tone matters.”
“And the Republican Party in particular needs to reinforce that,” the senator said.
I have two reactions to these comments. First, as reported, I think this senior Republican senator is very much on target. We all need to realize that “tone matters” and that we need to reflect on “what is too far.” I would have hoped that he (and it’s almost certain that it is a he) would have been somewhat clearer as to the nature of the “desensitizing.” But I’ll take whatever reason I can get.
Second, why on earth did this “senior Republican senator” need the cover of anonymity to “freely discuss the tragedy?” I can’t read his mind so I have no way of knowing. But if there were ever a time for political and personal courage, this is it.
My dear senior Republican senator, please put your name to reason. If it isn’t okay to speak freely in your own name about this tragedy, then the tragedy is far worse than I thought.