After a recent MSNBC interview featuring Obama hand Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the classy guest handed her earpiece to next up Mitt Romney, saying "I spit on this before I put it in." Even worse was Ben Smith's response. Where has civility gone?
From Ben Smith's blog at Politico, via Drudge:
I mentioned a few days ago that Claire McCaskill's mild affect masks a bit of a killer, and perhaps the Obama campaign's deftest surrogate on the attack.
But I was still kind of amused by her brief interaction with Mitt Romney in the press file just now.
McCaskill was stepping out of her chair at the end of an MSNBC interview, and Romney was up next. She and a staffer unplugged her various wires, and she handed Romney the earpiece the guests use to hear the host.
"I spit on this before I put it in," she said to Romney, with a sweet smile.
UPDATE: Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom emails: "You should have seen what she did to the chair."
Other than being a totally classless act on the part of McCaskill, does Ben Smith's tone escape anyone? "Kind of amused?" "Deftest Surrogate?" "Mild affects masks a bit of a killer?"
Not exactly what I'd call condemnation. Just the opposite. If Ben Smith approves of this incident as a 'deft stroke' on McCaskill's part, what does that say about him?
About the same as for the reviewers who effusively praised Sandra Bernhard's gang-rape 'skit.'
This is disgusting. Spitting is about as contemptuous an act as you could perform to insult somebody.
Have we really sunk this low in our political debate?
Perhaps the best response I could come up with was already stated by a commenter at Ben's blog at Politico:
I can understand perhaps loathing Romney, but... uhm, that was really rude. Chalk that up to the "you're not helping" tally.
The cruelest was perhaps "I didn't know Claire looked so good at 80." McCaskill is 55.
The few responses on the McCaskill side of the aisle at Ben's blog include marriage proposals to McCaskill, "Claire is the best," "I love that woman," and similar Sandra Bernhard-like praises.
So I guess the answer to my previous rhetorical question is actually yes, the bar has sunk this low.
And I thought Kennedy and Frank were bad.
Missouri, are you catching all this?
This isn't politics. This is pure hatred and contempt, and there is just too much of it being flamethrown from the Democratic Left in recent years.
I tell you, if and when America loses its treasured tradition of civil politics (as compared to say, Zimbabwe's), we will look no different from a hundred other countries on the planet that are tearing each other apart over power.
Civility in politics is what has kept us from war with each other for a hundred and fifty years while the rest of the world burned. And every time a McCaskill, or a Bernhard, or a Randy Rhodes crosses that line with a bullet, we are all the lesser for it.
PS I put this in LifeStyle, as this is obviously an example of a certain peculiar culture (or lack thereof). Also, I don't see it as being political at all.
Just plain rude.
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