Can't they all just get along, or at least turn down the volume and vitriol?
Representative Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, started the string of heated rhetoric by shouting "You lie!" at President Obama during his health care speech to Congress earlier this month. He apologized to Obama, but the House passed a resolution of disapproval after he refused to repeat the mea culpa on the House floor.
Another Republican followed up over the weekend by calling Obama an "enemy of humanity." Representative Trent Franks of Arizona offered only a tepid apology on Tuesday, saying that he should have made clear that he was talking about Obama's policies on abortion.
And now comes a Democrat who is refusing today to apologize for a harsh attack on Republicans, the Associated Press reports. On the House floor Tuesday night, Representative Alan Grayson of Florida criticized Republican health care proposals by saying, "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly. That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."
That accusation completely turns around debunked Republican claims that the Democratic bills would create "death panels" of bureaucrats who would decide which elderly patients would receive care -- and who wouldn't.
Republicans say that if Grayson doesn't apologize, he should be reprimanded just like Wilson.
Representative Tom Price of Georgia, who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee, drafted a "resolution of disapproval" that mirrors the one Democrats approved against Wilson, saying Grayson's conduct was "a breach of decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House," the AP says.
UPDATE: Responding to the Republican threats of a reprimand, Grayson stood firmly behind his comments today.
"People like elected officials with guts who say what they mean," Grayson told reporters. "I stand by what I said."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.