Cal  Thomas

NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said President Bush is "prepared to take us back to the days of Jim Crow segregation and dominance . . . .," and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond went him one better when he said Republicans "draw their most rabid supporters from the Taliban wing of American politics."

There's plenty more, yet Democrats and their supporters cry "foul" when Republicans fire back (with, mind you, criticisms based on fact). This suggests that the Democrats can dish it out but have trouble taking it. If one wishes to go down the alley of such political rhetoric, one should not be surprised to get mugged at the end of it.

There are much better and more clever ways to get your point across without descending to rabid name-calling and the questioning of motives. Charles de Gaulle said of Winston Churchill: "When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong. We are angry at each other much of the time."

Or how about this exquisite line from Adlai Stevenson: "If they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them."

Ronald Reagan could singe without burning: "Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."

Comedian Mort Sahl observed: "Reagan won because he ran against Jimmy Carter. If he'd run unopposed he would have lost." That's funny regardless of party or persuasion, and he makes his point without nastiness.

It would be nice if Republicans and Democrats elevated their criticism to this higher level. It might also get more people interested in, instead of turned off by, the political process by which we elect a president. Democrats can't credibly complain of a bloody nose when they threw the first punch.


Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
 
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