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The Washington Post Has a Tenuous Grasp on Idea of 'Incivility'

11:08 AM, Oct 14, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Ahh, what a champion of civil discourse, that Alan Grayson! But the virtuous Grayson is driven to extremes by the bad behavior of his constituents and Republicans. Hear his sad tale:

"Greetings, angry protesters!" Grayson said in opening his third town hall. The line got chuckles. But his temperature had been rising for weeks. "There is a fight in Congress now, not between Republicans and Democrats, but between those who want to help and those who say, 'Thank God we're not helping,' " he said. In an interview after the event, he called the national Republican Party "a lie factory."

Back in Washington, he took to the House floor and denounced his colleagues across the aisle. "If you get sick, America, the Republican health-care plan is this: Die quickly." A Harvard graduate with a soft voice, he had decided to fight invective with invective.

The Tea Partiers will be so devastated to hear they've brought the irreproachable Harvard graduate with a soft voice to this low place. The audacity. The closing quote in this lecture on civility is from Carney-Nunes:

"How can I talk to those people?" she said. "These are people who persist in believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he isn't a citizen of this country. You tell me: Where is the beginning of that conversation?"

The beginning of a conversation was in her inbox, had she been civil enough to answer it.

I'd also note that the most inflammatory proof of conservative incivility in the article is a quote from civil-rights activist Dorothy Height, who was at the Black Family Reunion on the Mall the same day the 9/12 march was happening:

"We've come a long way," said civil rights icon Dorothy Height. "But I stood on the National Mall watching people pass by carrying posters of Uncle Sam in blackface and I said, 'There's still a lot of work to be done in this country.' "

Height was also interviewed for a contemporaneous Washington Post story on the 9/12 protests, entitled "Seeking Healing, Seeing Hostility: Some at Black Family Reunion Criticize Protests Against Obama." Her very juicy, narrative-satisfying Uncle-Sam-in-blackface anecdote didn't make it into that story, nor has it been reported anywhere else that I can tell.

If the Washington Post wants to lecture us on civility it should stick to instances of incivility that are a) actually incivil and b) actually documented, and stop making excuses for incivility, as long as it comes from Dems.

Update: Michelle Malkin has now pushed a Cornell graduate with a soft voice to the point that he calls her a "mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick." Violent and sexist. That's why he's the Edward R. Murrow of our time.