For the second time this legislative session, the headlines have blared nationally over stupid things that Republican legislators have come up with off of the top of their heads. First, we were treated to Representative Isaac Latterell bringing decapitations and terrorists into the pro-life/pro-choice debate: And this week, we got to enjoy how Representative Elizabeth May brought terminal test anxiety as the last straw in tipping crime and poverty stricken teenagers on Pine Ridge to take their own lives: Does anyone bounce these things off of anyone before they put them out there for public consumption, and ask “Does this make me look stupid” before they make these wild-eyed pronouncements? At this point, I’m kind of wondering if they do.
How does saying test anxiety is contributing to a disturbing suicide rate encourage a young professional businessperson to run as a Republican candidate for office when asked? When going door to door, how does saying “Planned Parenthood is beheading children people like ISIS terrorists” convince people that helping Republicans get elected is a worthwhile cause? The answer is that they don’t. They’re just incendiary bombs being lobbed for the sole purpose of getting personal attention.
And of course they’re going to get attention. They’re over the top, offensive and just plain stupid. And all that attention comes at the expense of all the other Republicans who are trying to do the difficult job of governing, and are now at risk of being painted with the same broad crazy brush by Democrats and the media who look for these opportunities. Every time I read that kind of thing, I find myself asking “For crying out loud, please stop damaging the Republican brand.”
If you feel the need to say something offensive and incendiary, sleep on it first. Bounce it off of a colleague for a read on how it sounds. Sometimes it’s inadvertent, accidental, or it can’t be helped. But, when you look at the people who have been around for a while – those who have risen to the top, and have longevity – They’re are known for their thoughtfulness and intelligence.
Not for lobbing bombs.