It’s been almost a week since we heard calls for unity on Capitol Hill. That’s what tragedy means to politicians. It’s an opportunity for speeches and press releases. This kind of empty talk is probably as much togetherness as our senators and representatives can endure. Holding hands isn’t really their style and negative politics sells. Do we approve? If we don’t, Washington never got the word.
Putting negative politics to the test
It’s going to take a lot more than what happened last week to keep lawmakers away from each other’s throats. The problem with negative politics over the past year is that the left is so overwhelmingly confident that everything it does is right that anything goes, from smashing windows to silencing other Americans because of their beliefs.
Instead of rambling on about this, let’s put it to a test. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi have blogs on their congressional websites. Let’s take a look at what was posted recently and see who is fanning the flames of negative politics. You can decide for yourself.
Negative politics: it’s all in these words.
Democratic leader has her say
First, Nancy Pelosi. Here are some headlines for June 2017 posts on the Democratic Leader blog, The Gavel:1
Surprise! Secret Senate Trumpcare Bill Just as ‘Mean’ & Destructive
Trump Heads to Wisconsin, Touting Policies to Hurt Wisconsinites
GOP Fumbles Budget Deadline, Blunders Toward Chaos
There is more eye-catching negativity including a warning about a “Brutal Attack on Medicaid” and “Significant Harm to Working People.”2
Don’t take my word for it. You can read all these and a lot more negative politics here.
On to Speaker Paul Ryan.
Republican leader Ryan has his say
I didn’t find the same kind of rhetorical negativity on Paul Ryan’s Speaker Blog. Does that mean as speaker he doesn’t have to stoop so low? I won’t argue that Republicans didn’t lean to the negative and inflammatory when Democrats ruled the roost and Barack Obama was president. That’s how this works. The majority holds court. The minority gets angry.
Ryan’s Speaker Blog offers these headlines:3
TAX REFORM: More Jobs, Higher Wages, and Renewed Confidence
Speaker Ryan: What I’m Learning as a Father.
We Are United: The 2017 Congressional Baseball Game.
He even offered a nod to Ms. Pelosi:
“We’re All Team Scalise”: Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi’s Joint Interview.
Don’t expect “Team Scalise” to last 5 minutes after the congressman leaves the hospital, but Mr. Ryan deserves points for trying.
I was hard pressed to find anything to compare to the extreme negative politics coming from the posts on The Gavel.
There you have it. Which side is more negative? Judge for yourself. Negative politics is all in the words. We might forget what politicians say in the heat of the moment, but when they put it in print it’s hard to argue with what we see.
1. “The Gavel.” Nancy Pelosi. Democratic Leader. http://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/blog/, retrieved June 19, 2017.
3. “Speaker’s Blog.” Speaker Paul Ryan http://www.speaker.gov/blog, retrieved June 20, 2017.