Axelrod: I sure am disappointed that Romney didn’t criticize Rush more harshly

So, to answer my own question from this afternoon — no, I guess we’re not quite done with this yet. And to repeat a point I made in that same post, for politicos and their apparatchiks, this “debate” is of course 99 percent about partisanship. When asked about Rush’s comments, Romney tersely said, “It’s not the language I would have used.” When asked about Maher this afternoon, though, he unloaded:

In an appearance on the Sean Hannity radio show, Romney said, “Frankly, what Bill Maher said, and I finally read the transcripts, I was offended, outraged that a person would say that on TV and would not have been called on the carpet before now and not apologized for it. To have the Obama campaign retain a million dollars from Bill Maher, it is simply outrageous. I don’t condone that kind of language and particularly in a public setting, a TV setting.… It’s just gone way beyond the pale.”

Romney did not stipulate which transcript he had reviewed, but Maher has used inappropriate language to attack conservative women, including Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Much of what he said is not publishable, but he did call Palin “a bully who sells patriotism like a pimp, and the leader of a strange family of inbred weirdos.”…

Romney and Obama have one thing in common, though. Both are calling for more civil discourse in politics. Romney told Hannity, “Republicans and Democrats disagree on issues, and we have differing viewpoints, but this level of outrageous and incendiary language has got to stop. We’re going to have to come together and deal with these deficits and take action to make America more competitive. This has just got to stop.”

Here’s Axelrod running through the checklist of Democratic talking points on Rush/Maher. Maher’s trying to be funny (not really), Palin’s a public figure (so am I, says Erin Burnett), Limbaugh controls the GOP as if it’s his own personal puppet show (four words: “Republican nominee John McCain”), blah blah blah. Earnest question: Has The One had any “Sistah Souljah moments” while in office of the sort Axelrod’s demanding of Romney here vis-a-vis Rush? He had a nice moment in his Tucson speech last year when, contra the left’s frenzy, he denied that political rhetoric had motivated Gabby Giffords’s attacker, but he didn’t call anyone out by name. His usual M.O. is to position himself above the fray by calling for civility while never quite taking anyone on his own side specifically to task, but there may be examples that I’ve forgotten. When he was pressed to criticize the “war on women” nonsense last week at his briefing, he said he didn’t want to act as arbiter of what is and isn’t rhetorically appropriate — even though he had done so just minutes earlier in talking about Limbaugh. His golden opportunity was of course his speech on race in 2008 after the Wright thing blew up, but the whole point of that was how he wouldn’t disown Wright any more than he’d disown his own grandmother notwithstanding how obnoxious their rhetoric might have been at times. David French’s read on O dating back to his time at Harvard Law is exactly right, I think. If he’s in a liberal milieu where cretins like Bill Ayers are “mainstream,” then he’s happy to gladhand them. No judgment, ever.

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