According to Politico,
The Republican National Committee has rejected a proposal from its Democratic counterpart to sign a joint “civility” statement, POLITICO has learned.I have to admit that I often find the thinking of the Republican Party baffling.
Various members of the DNC — including Chairman Tim Kaine, Executive Director Jen O’Malley Dillon and Communications Director Brad Woodhouse — contacted their respective RNC counterparts this week in hopes of getting RNC Chairman Michael Steele to co-sign a document with Kaine that, in part, called for “elected officials of both parties to set an example of the civility we want to see in our citizenry.”
“We also call on all Americans to respect differences of opinion, to refrain from inappropriate forms of intimidation, to reject violence and vandalism, and to scale back rhetoric that might reasonably be misinterpreted by those prone to such behavior,” read the proposed joint statement, which came at the end of a week that saw acts of vandalism and threats of violence directed at members of Congress from both parties, but mostly aimed at Democrats who voted yes on the health care bill.
Republicans see the statement as an attempt to force them to either reject the statement—allowing Democrats to say the RNC finds the incidents acceptable—or to sign on to something that the DNC would later wield against them.
Signing the statement would help the Republican brand, wouldn't it? They would go on record as unequivocally rejecting the behavior of the right-wing fringe which would help them appear more moderate and therefore more appealing to independents ahead of elections in November.
Instead, they are worried that the statement would be used against them? How?
This is how it appears to Φ. Granted, I'm a pretty partisan person, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of independents will see it the same way.
By refusing to sign the statement, Republicans appear to be endorsing the behavior of the right-wing fringe.
And in saying that they don't want the statement to be used against them, it appears as if they wish to reserve the right to use the tactics of the right-wing fringe to achieve their goals. It appears as if they don't respect differences of opinion, they approve of inappropriate forms of intimidation, and they approve of violence and vandalism.
Republicans appear to be considering abandoning accepted avenues of political activity in favor of non-rational and even illegal forms of "persuasion."
In short, Republicans appear to have simply given up trying to be a political party.
And to make matters worse, according to Politico, "RNC Communications Director Doug Heye told POLITICO that Steele chose not to agree to the statement because 'we don’t need to do anything on their schedule or on their timetable.'"
Now they're beginning to sound like unruly schoolchildren.