No one could have predicted... Except, they did.

Like many in the country I suspect, I continue to be obsessed with the story of the violence that occurred in Tucson on Saturday. In reading further today, I came across a note about this story which I may have heard about when it happened last year but I had frankly forgotten it.

It seems that after the vote on the health care reform bill last year, the Democratic National Committee was concerned about the vitriol and threats that their party members were receiving and the violence that had been perpetrated against some of them and they drafted a "bipartisan" statement rejecting such vitriol and calling for civility in politics. They presented it to their opposite numbers at the Republican National Committee and asked them to join the DNC in issuing the statement. The statement read, in part:

As leaders of our respective national parties, we want to speak to all Americans about the importance of conducting our political debates in a manner and tone that respects our political system and demonstrates to the world the strength of our democracy.

We have a system of government that allows the great issues of our day to be resolved peacefully and civilly and that serves as a beacon of hope to those around the world who yearn for political freedom, political stability, and governing without the threat of violence.

We have a system that allows people to express approval of their government or change the party in power peaceably through the ballot box.

Our Constitution affords Americans the right to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Clearly, we have different positions on the merits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, we together call on 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.

This proposal was included with a letter from the Chairman of the DNC assuring the RNC that he was willing to work with them on the final wording. Can you guess what the response from the RNC was? At the time, the website POLITICO reported their response:

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.

The proposed statement was faxed and hand-delivered to the RNC at midmorning Friday. POLITICO learned Friday afternoon that the RNC would not sign the DNC statement.

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.”

"We don't need to do anything on their schedule or on their timetable." I wonder if they would think that the time is right now?


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