As a certified Liberal, I’m thrilled with this month’s state and national Democratic Party election victories. But, I’m also troubled by the snide, name-calling, truly nasty rhetoric of some print journalists. With numbers of national leaders – both Republican and Democratic – calling for bipartisan cooperation, I propose a ceasefire aimed at national syndicated columnists like Maureen Dowd.
Maureen’s smart and clever and I’ve often thought she’s had important things to say. But, as time’s gone along, her insulting, abrasive personal style began to grate. I’ve only actually heard the infamous right wing radio mouth, Rush Limbaugh, once and that was by accident. But his credentials as a hard-hitting but less than factual conservative cheerleader are well established. So, we understand that we have sharp-tongued voices on both sides of the political spectrum.
The Nov. 10 Denver Post headlined Dowd’s column that day “A Come-to-Daddy Moment.” It began: “Poppy Bush and James Baker gave sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.” Of course I didn’t have to read the rest. But I did. No beating-our-swords-into-plowshares here. Slash and burn all the way. I’ve never been a George W fan, and like a lot of other Democrats, from the very beginning I’ve seen the Iraq war as all wrong. Didn’t like Rumsfeld or Cheney or Gale Norton, or just about any of W’s cabinet people.
And now, the majority of voters have said it’s time for a change – starting with the failed Iraq policies and then down the line. Most experts, the professional opinion makers and TV’s “talking heads” say it’s time for elected officials in Washington to stop the entrenched partisan sniping and blind bulldog stubbornness, and reach across the aisle, beginning a new era of bipartisan cooperation. Now, I’m going to be cheering California’s Nancy Pelosi, the presumptive new Speaker of the House, all the way.
So far, she’s saying a lot of the right things – such as “impeachment is off the table.” Maybe you’ve figured out that I’m likewise thrilled with the advances that strong, smart women have made in professional and political leadership all over the world. I don’t expect, and wouldn’t want, Speaker Pelosi to shy away from the hard-edged issues, or (God forbid) start serving tea and cookies to her long time critics. But, everything I read says she’s a seasoned political leader who’ll set a new tone for cooperation in this nation’s capitol.
So, Maureen, how about some help from the print side? Lead the way. Be funny, be entertaining, be informative. But cut the nasty stuff. Post election, we need civil discourse, not more rhetorical civil war.