Let’s take a moment to consider the nationally ridiculed behavior on Thursday of our congressman from the 2nd District, that brash Rovian, Tim Griffin.
A few minutes into the lockdown of the U.S. Capitol because of a gunshot, a situation about which no details were known, Griffin took to Twitter and typed, “Stop the violent rhetoric President Obama, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.”
Apparently they’d said such things as that Republicans were holding guns to their heads over Obamacare. Metaphors, those were, not unlike The Wall Street Journal’s editorial years ago urging Republicans not to take the debt ceiling hostage unless they were willing to shoot it, and not unlike my column the other day saying the Republicans had taken a hostage immune to harm, meaning Obamacare, and had then shot it only to have the bullet ricochet into their own jugulars.
Imagery in pursuit of effective political communication should never be blamed for someone else’s terroristric or murderous activity.
So then Griffin’s tweet began to go viral as people were inferring quite reasonably that he was blaming leading Democrats for whatever it was, he didn’t know, that was going on out there.
Then Griffin deleted the tweet and put out a statement saying no one but the shooter was to blame — though, actually, there was no offending shooter suspect, but a wild driver of a crashing car — and that his tweet had been from emotion and was not helpful.
He didn’t apologize or admit inanity and he gave a couple of interviews in which he continued to say he was distressed over the coarsening of our political dialogue and culture, as if political dialogue still had something to do with whatever had happened out there, which he admitted he didn’t know.
As ridicule of Griffin exploded on the Internet, a strange tweet appeared from Skip Rutherford, noted Democrat and Clinonite and dean of the Clinton School of Public Service.
He said Griffin had made a mistake and taken it back and that we should all “move on.”
I replied on Twitter to Rutherford to say “no.”
I don’t think anyone ought to move on at all. Quite to the contrary, I think voters ought to focus on Griffin’s behavior and analyze it.
There are two possibilities.
One is that he was over-emotional and thus precipitous and reckless in his public pronouncing, which is unbecoming of a U.S. representative. His constituents have a right to expect better judgment from him.
The other is that he sought cynically and lamely to capitalize in terms of partisan politics on a developing tragic situation. That would be an egregious affront to the public dialogue he dared to accuse others of coarsening.
Either he was too emotional and too possessed of bad judgment, or he was too cynically political and hypocritical.
The only moving on his constituents ought to consider is electing a different congressman in the next election.