This is about as serious a reckoning with the issues of the day as that press conference with the aardvark was yesterday. He’s not talking about creating a government agency to policy civility, mind you, just asking some nonprofit like CREW to start issuing legislative scorecards on how civil each member of Congress is so that voters can consider it at the polls. I’m willing to support the idea if and only if MoveOn becomes the new civility arbiter, as it’d be fun to watch the outfit responsible for the “General Betray-us” ad grapple with the bounds of decency. Short of that, though, didn’t we just pass a major tax package back in December, weeks before the Tucson shooting launched the new civility kick? Didn’t I just blog a story about a grand bargain emerging between liberals like Durbin and conservatives like Coburn to deal with entitlements? Civility’s not the key to bipartisan compromise, seriousness of purpose is. When the issue is big enough and the stakes of failure are high enough, grown-ups bite their lips and do what they have to do whether they like each other or not. In fact, that’s the only thing that gives me hope that maybe kinda sorta possibly hopefully a deal really will be struck to reform Medicare, at least. Something that’s unsustainable won’t be sustained, so there’ll be a compromise because there has to be. Surely I’m right about that. Aren’t I?

Two clips here, the first of Cleaver and the second via Ann Althouse of left-wing “civility” in action in Wisconsin. Click the image to watch.