Earlier this week, Commentary’s Peter Wehner offered a civility test for liberals:
But if the president and his liberal allies remain silent or criticize [U.S. Rep. Steven] Cohen [D-TN] in the gentlest way possible, it’s only reasonable to conclude that their expressions of concern about incivility in public discourse are partisan rather than genuine, that what they care about isn’t public discourse but gamesmanship, not restoring civility but gaining power.
Criticizing Cohen would be a first step to show that they are serious about promoting civil discourse. And to be sure, some on the left have criticized the Memphis Democrat. John Guardino reports in the Daily Caller that “the left-wing National Jewish Democratic Council has observed in its rebuke of Cohen: ‘Invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable.'”
Another thing Democrats (and left-of-center pundits) could do would be to engage in a little introspection of their own, asking why so many on the left chose to be silent or themselves actively engaged in some very uncivil discourse when commenting on the Administration of George W. Bush or the career and candidacy of Sarah Palin.
Perhaps, we should only take seriously those Democrats and left-of-center voices in the media who can provide evidence they criticized the over-the-top rhetoric during the Bush era (and every time Sarah Palin’s name comes up), those who, to borrow an expression from an unhappy Democrat newly concerned about civility “differentiated themselves” from the extreme rhetoric of their ideological confreres.