Lawrence O’Donnell Finds Death Of Civility Comparing Today’s GOP With 2008 John McCain

Arizona is considering recognizing an “official state gun” nearly two months after one of their Congresspeople was shot, while in Georgia, another Congressman seems comfortable being asked “who is going to shoot Obama?” Lawrence O’Donnell recalls a time long ago when Republicans would have found this behavior unacceptable and, concerned, asked Princeton professor Melissa Harris Perry to explain the change in the GOP between 2008 and today. She had a simple answer: “There are no adults in the room anymore.”

Citing the nation’s “dangerously short attention span,” O’Donnell began his segment by pointing out the movement in Arizona to name an official state gun, something he found distasteful in light of the tragic shooting that took the lives of six people and gravely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But all the way on the other side of the nation, O’Donnell found Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, who calmly answered the question “Who is going to shoot Obama?” at a Town Hall meeting without what O’Donnell perceived to be substantial indignation. While his team argued Rep. Broun had been misquoted, O’Donnell noted that the Congressman had previously stated doubts as to President Obama’s nationality and religion, casting doubt on whether his calm response to the question was truly because he was “taken by surprise.”

Harris Perry, by contrast, viewed much of the Republican Party’s behavior at this point as distraction more than the particular sort of malice O’Donnell was finding. “Why are we talking about an official state anything,” she argued, in the middle of an economic crisis? She explained the behavior as more of a way for the Republicans to harness the national frustration with the state of things generally through “symbolic attempts to demonstrate that the Republican Party is in solidarity with exactly those elements on the right that are challenging the very nature of our government.”

To highlight the difference between Republicans of today and those in the pre-Obama era, O’Donnell played clips of a town hall meeting with then-presidential candidate John McCain, telling confused attendees that President Obama was not an “Arab” and was a “decent man” they had no reason to fear. “John McCain would have given him hell,” O’Donnell noted of the audience member at Rep. Broun’s event. “What happened?” Harris Perry noted that “there are no adults in the room anymore,” the dynamic in the Republican Party has changed completely as a reaction to being out of power, but she hoped that it would be abundantly clear to the mainstream that “we address ideological differences through elections, not assassinations.”

The segment via MSNBC below:

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