Of all the lines of attack available to him on Tlaib, this is the one he goes with. Feigned outrage over decorum. After three and a half years of Trump.
MCCARTHY: "You know what our freshman class did? They put together a resolution to not use foul language. This is the difference & it's wrong."
REPORTER: But Trump recently called a woman 'horseface.' Who within your caucus called him out? 🔥🔥🔥
M: "I think a lot of them did" pic.twitter.com/axHOjBOMau
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2019
If he were Jeff Flake or some other vocal anti-Trumper, he might at least claim consistency: “I’ve said over and over that both parties need to set an example in how they conduct themselves,” etc. But McCarthy’s one of POTUS’s buddies in the House. How could he not see how this point would be received? Ninety percent of the people who watch the clip will bust up laughing at the idea of Trump-era Republicans trying to scold others about comportment; the other 10 percent are hardcore MAGA-ites who are already busy formulating lists of reasons why nothing Trump has ever said is as bad as Tlaib dropping an MF-bomb.
Certainly not this:
Tfw political figures and the quaint term “motherfucker” are in the headlines https://t.co/YWSUar1bGy
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) January 4, 2019
What might McCarthy have said instead of zeroing in disingenuously on “foul language”? Here’s something off the top of my head: “We told you during the campaign that congressional Democrats were interested in one thing only, destroying the president. Last night Rashida Tlaib proved it. It was Trump Derangement Syndrome in its ugliest form. Remember it when Nancy Pelosi’s caucus starts launching ‘fact-finding’ investigations to continue the witch hunt against him.” Some Democrats are worried about the potency of that message:
“Mueller hasn’t even produced his report yet!” said Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) [about Tlaib’s comment], referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. “People should cool their jets a little bit, let the prosecutors do their job and finish the investigation.”
“Inappropriate,” added Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.). “As elected officials I think we should be expected to set a high bar… It’s not helpful.”
Even Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who introduced an impeachment resolution earlier this week, was shocked. His eyes bulged in disbelief when a reporter read him Tlaib’s comments and he was speechless for several seconds…
Others just expressed shock. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a pastor, cried out “Jeez, no!” he said when told of her comments. “Oh lord.”
If you don’t like the “witch hunt” talking point, no problem. Try this one on from Philip Klein:
To start, obviously, there are exactly zero of [Tlaib’s] supporters who will be upset that she used harsh language to describe plans to go after Trump. This is what they elected her to do. But more importantly, the video clearly represented who she is, what she believes, and what the liberal base wants. The public should get to know that rather than be subjected to some sort of sanitized and obviously phony, forced apology.
Tlaib is who the liberal base is. Cutthroat, radical, obsessed with taking down Trump. Whatever Brad Sherman and Emanuel Cleaver may think about impeachment, they don’t represent the party’s id. Tlaib does. The GOP should elevate her and do what it can to make her the face of Democrats.
Here’s another alternative that I like:
Except "No worse than Trump" isn't what they have been talking about. Hillary Clinton specifically noted there can only be civility again when Democrats have power. They have power, and yet no civility. https://t.co/M2K6ICnSZ9
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 4, 2019
If you’re going to dunk on Tlaib for profanity, at least place it in the context that Miller does. Hang it around Hillary’s neck. “Democrats, beginning with their last nominee, vowed that they were going to bring civility back to Washington, that they’d be the party of ‘adults.’ That lasted eight hours.” Some Democrats would sympathize with this argument too:
House Republicans have been slammed by critics for two years for pulling their punches whenever Trump says something outre. Tlaib said something outre on day one and the most Pelosi could muster by way of criticism was to sniff that there may be a generational divide in her distaste for such language. I won’t censor my members, she told MSNBC. Instead of pretending to be offended by Tlaib’s language, McCarthy could have covered for Trump by saying that he understands how passion can lead politicians to say intemperate things but that Democrats haven’t been so forgiving in Trump’s case. Make it about Pelosi’s hypocrisy, not about Tlaib’s incivility.
Here’s Tlaib, possibly after a talking-to from her new leadership, dodging reporters this morning. Exit question: Is McCarthy’s soundbite a sneak preview of the post-Trump GOP, at least when it comes to “civility” matters? I can’t believe they’d try to revert to 90s-era Party Of Decorum mode after POTUS leaves, as though the Trump era never happened. We’ve crossed the Rubicon on character.
— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) January 4, 2019