This heckling on the trail certainly is worrisome

Republicans I speak with, including those in the Romney campaign, say such arguments miss the point. They believe that the Obama campaign is waging such a viciously negative campaign–and the Obama campaign is waging a viciously negative campaign. So, they argue, it is besides the point to focus on such niceties as permitting public expressions by Obama supporters. Republicans also say it is absurd to distinguish between the heckling of Obama supporters (who are condemned by the campaign they support) and the heckling of Romney campaign interns and staff (who are praised by the campaign they support).

It is one thing for a group of Code Pink protesters to show up at a Congressional hearing about the Iraq War to heckle a Senator to prevent him, at least temporarily, from speaking. This is a particularly disrespectful form of protest, but it is disrespect undertaken by protesters who do not otherwise have plentiful avenues for broadcasting their views, or an official role in facilitating that debate. It would be something else entirely if the elected players in the Democratic process–Senators, Congressmen, presidential candidates–adopted the tactics of Code Pink. The day Senators or Congressman attempt to deprive each other the privilege of speaking in a hearing room, and then boast about it afterward, will be a sad day for democracy.