Attn Emanuel Cleaver: Good luck with that "civility agenda"


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A weird random tidbit from the second-to-last paragraph of Sunday's Star story about how Congressman Emanuel Cleaver is taking a bunch of crap from conservatives for proposing that today, the day before Thanksgiving, become known "Complaint Free Wednesday":

The three-term congressman is an unlikely candidate to unleash the furies. He leads the Congressional Prayer Breakfast and is founder of the House Civility Caucus.
First of all, despite the fact that he's a minister, Cleaver is an unabashed liberal who's a lightning rod for unleashing right-wing "furies"; for evidence, the Star's Washington correspondent David Goldstein might want to check out this meeting with constituents in August.

But the oddest thing about Goldstein's report was his passing reference to the House Civility Caucus.

I'd never heard of such a thing.

This list from a couple of sessions ago shows all sorts of caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives -- ranging from big, important ones such as the Congressional Black Caucus to the are-they-really-necessary Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus and the Congressional Stop DUI Caucus. But I couldn't find a Civility Caucus.

Spokesman Danny Rotert described it as an informal group that Cleaver co-chairs with Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia. "They have done civility debates in which they spend an hour talking about one subject in a constructive way," Rotert explained.

Cleaver said all sorts of lofty-sounding things about civility in a press release after one of those debates in 2007:

"The United States Congress has been the home of great orators and great

ideas. However, we have devolved into the politics of personal

destruction instead of personal conviction. We were sent to Congress to

fight for what we believe is right, but we can fight the good fight

without hatred or ill will. If Congress cannot regain its capacity for

civility, we demean one of the world's great democratic institutions

and devalue the people we represent."

Too bad the debates have only deteriorated since then.


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