What kind of example are they displaying for their children, for their constituents and for their country?
President Obama succinctly noted that when "we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter we don't merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves."
Dana Milbank from the Washington Post has put together numerous examples of this onerous GOP behavior as President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.
Of course the "most flagrant" was the comment shouted out at 8:40 pm, just after the president vowed to lawmakers that his health-care reform proposals would not provide benefits to illegal immigrants was from home, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) who shouted at the president from his fifth-row seat: "You lie!"
There was booing from House Republicans when the president caricatured a conservative argument by saying they would "leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own." They hissed when he protested their "scare tactics." They grumbled as they do in Britain's House of Commons when Obama spoke of the "blizzard of charges and countercharges."And Milbank correctly indicates that "there was something appalling about the display on the House floor for what was supposed to be a sacred ritual of American democracy: the nation watching while Cabinet members, lawmakers from both chambers and the diplomatic corps assembled."
When he asserted that "nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have," there was scoffing and outright laughter on the GOP side. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.) shook his head in disbelief. Several Republicans shouted "What plan?" and Rep. Louis Gohmert (Tex.) waved at Obama a handwritten poster he made on a letter-size piece of paper: "WHAT PLAN?" Gohmert then took that down and replaced it with another handmade poster that said "WHAT BILL?"There was derisive laughter on Republican side of the chamber when Obama noted that "there remain some significant details to be ironed out." They applauded as he spoke of "all the misinformation that's been spread over the past few months." They laughed again when he said that "many Americans have grown nervous about reform."
When Obama addressed the charge that he plans "panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens," someone on the GOP side shouted out "shame!" The president went on: "Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical." "Read the bill!" someone shouted back. Obama mentioned those who accuse him of a government takeover of health care. "It's true," someone shouted back.
Even as Obama delivered a tribute to the late senator Ted Kennedy, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga), a leader of House conservatives, perused his BlackBerry. Shortly before the speech ended, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) walked out to beat the rush.