Republican Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi agreed with President Obama’s point to the Republican caucus Friday that members of both parties ought to work through their disagreements with civility, yet he was quick to blame Mr. Obama and his administration for being the first to shed civility.
Barbour was referring to the Democratic President’s visit to the Republican Winter retreat Friday, where he said, “We have to be careful about what we say about each other sometimes because it boxes us in in ways that makes it difficult for us to work together, because our constituents start believing us. They don’t know sometimes this is just politics with you guys, you know, or folks on my side do sometimes. So just a tone of civility instead of slash-and-burn would be helpful.”
“It is often the president who is the person that says the people on the other side are bad, anybody who is not for what I’m for, they’ve got bad motives, they’re representing bad people,” Barbour said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “The truth is, this is about policy, and the American people and the Republicans think most of the [policies] that the Obama administration, the Democrat majority, have pushed are way too far to the left and are bad policy for the country.”
Both Barbour and Democratic Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania agreed with the president on civilizing the tone of political rhetoric. But Rendell stated that it was more than just tone, arguing that President Bush’s domestic initiatives such as tax cuts and No Child Left behind garnered “significant Democratic support in Congress,” whereas the new administration has seen “stonewalling by the Republicans.”