Keller @ Large: Is Bad Behavior The New ‘politics As Usual?’

Keller @ Large: Is Bad Behavior The New 'politics As Usual?'

BOSTON — Misbehavior during President Biden's State of the Union address : It's not the first time we've seen this, but Tuesday night's speech seems to have hit a new low. At times it sounded less like a speech and more like a raucous session of the British Parliament.

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, tried to silence members of his own party to protest against the president. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, didn't like the scaremongering. "There is decency with the State of the Union, and I think it's inappropriate for both parties," he said.

But the courtesy was not the first time. Remember then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi's spontaneous correction to President Trump's last State of the Union address? (He broke it.)

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 4: President Donald Trump addresses the State of the Union as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) looks on at the United States House of Representatives on February 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. The night before the US Senate votes on his impeachment, President Trump delivers his third State of the Union address. /fake pictures © Provided by CBS Boston WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 4: President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) looks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. The night before the US Senate votes on his impeachment, President Trump delivers his third State of the Union address. /fake pictures

When I saw this year's speech, "I just thought, 'What a waste of everyone's time, because you get nothing when people start like that,'" says Roseanne Thomas, a Boston-based etiquette expert and president of Protocol Advisors. "Citizenship was actually invented by politicians so that something could be done, to discuss issues of disagreement without resorting to personal insults."

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But Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Green, who repeatedly called Biden "liars," was unrepentant. "He got exactly what he deserved and I have no regrets," he said.

Thomas says it's self-destructive behavior. "I feel like I wouldn't feel respected around him, or at least at some point, so I would walk away from someone like that."

Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, Republican of Georgia, center, gestures during her State of the Union address at the United States Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington, U.S. President Biden speaks to China amid renewed tension and conflict. With House Republicans on raising the federal debt ceiling. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg © CBS's Marjorie Taylor Green, Republican of Georgia, center, President Biden speaks amid renewed tensions with China during the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. House Republicans are at loggerheads over raising the federal debt ceiling. Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg

And it seems a few swing voters felt the same way. Biden posted some of his most positive comments in months in a post-debut speech poll.

Thomas believes the tide is turning against these things, and he can trace back to the chronic rudeness of the Trump years, which he attributes to Trump losing first the House, then the White House and the Senate as independent voters. , walked away in disgust.

But you could also argue that in this day and age, trolling and offensive attribution is what generates clicks and comments and keeps your political base alive. So while Biden may benefit from the show in the short term, expect more of the same going forward.

Tim Keller, The End of Processual Secularism and the Estuary as a Way Forward

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