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Vote For Rude Candidates And You Get Rude Politicians

Pull on your asbestos pants, Ehellions, we are talking politics!

Buzzfeed recently featured an article discussing the conduct of the candidates in the most recent Democratic debate. Specifically, there were several times during the debate when Secretary Clinton interrupted Senator Sanders, and Sanders responded by saying, “Can I finish please?” The question is: Was Senator Sanders rude for doing this, or was Secretary Clinton rude for interrupting?

My opinion is that when someone interrupts you, it is perfectly appropriate to say, “Excuse me. May I finish my thought?” But I would love to hear what the EHellions think.  0307-16

Democrats certainly do not have the market on rudeness and interrupting.   The Republican debates have been a showcase of how to talk over your opponent so that his/her message is stifled.   When anyone begins to talk while you are speaking, it means they are not listening to you but are consumed with forming their own thoughts in order to push the agenda.

In a political debate, it’s a dirty tactic, imo, to interrupt and talk over an opponent because it diminishes the power of another person’s spoken word so that either the candidate becomes confused/distracted or the more likely scenario is that listeners never hear a complete, cogent presentation of a candidate’s position because of the auditory dissonance of trying to concentrate on only one voice.   I’m offended as a listener of these televised debates when the interruptions and talking over each other commences because I feel like I am being treated like an idiot who cannot listen to opposing viewpoints and make an informed choice but instead must have my access to  different viewpoints artificially restricted.

Then there is the issue of not honoring the debate rules that each candidate had agreed upon and which prescribes a predetermined amount of time to respond to moderator questions and give rebuttal to opponents.   To interrupt is to be a pig taking more time than allotted and deny to others the time to present their own views.   It’s verbal bullying.

Miss Manners addressed rudeness in politicians in a 2011 column where she writes,

Miss Manners reminds you that every rude person in Congress was elected to that office. This is why she feels it urgent to point out the fallacy of voters who believe that candidates who refuse to deal politely with their opponents make effective leaders. By showing contempt for those who disagree with them and by declaring a refusal to compromise, such candidates clearly demonstrate their inability to cope with a system that requires respect and cooperation.

Yet Miss Manners understands why those who are elected using that style of campaigning persist in behavior that has proved so successful at the polls. They must have pleased the voters, they figure, because they won. They cannot fail to be puzzled when the constituents who elected them start characterizing them as those rude politicians.

Hence her warning is to the voters: If you don’t want badly behaved people in office, do not vote for badly behaved candidates.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wild Irish Rose March 15, 2016, 9:19 am

    In my opinion, there’s never an excuse for rudeness. Not only are the candidates guilty of shouting each other down, but the protesters at the Trump rallies are guilty of interfering with the right of everyone attending to hear what Trump has to say (and this is not to say that I agree with him at all; only to say that if I want to hear what he’s saying, no one has the right to keep me from hearing it).

    “Then there is the issue of not honoring the debate rules that each candidate had agreed upon and which proscribes a predetermined amount of time to respond to moderator questions and give rebuttal to opponent.” Admin, I think the word you want is “prescribes,” not “proscribes.” 🙂

    • Matt March 15, 2016, 2:34 pm

      When people are ridiculed for their beliefs being different, or openly suggested by the candidate himself that they should be assaulted, that represents a complete breakdown in society. I don’t think protesting injustice falls under the context of being rude. Was Rosa Parks rude for not sitting in the colored section of the bus? Were Bostonians rude for destroying the tea in the Boston Harbor? Standing up to a racist bully is not rude.

      • Wild Irish Rose March 15, 2016, 4:18 pm

        We have the right to protest–peaceably. We do not have the right to shout people down, disrupt the assembly of other citizens, scream epithets, etc. I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but other people are, and they have the right to hear what the man has to say, regardless of how offensive I may think it is. The protest of Rosa Parks didn’t even compare to the situation Trump was up against. It’s one thing to stand up to a bully. It’s quite another to completely trash a political appearance just because you don’t like the politician involved.

        • Matt March 15, 2016, 7:30 pm

          Someone who insults people for personal gain, who advocates assault on people who disagree with him, who wants to keep an entire peaceful religion out of a country, who dismisses entire races of people with derogatory comments, who accepts endorsements from the KKK, who makes denigrating comments towards women, is a bully who deserves to be stood up against. This transcends manners. The positions that Trump has taken support injustice and intolerance.

          Here’s a counter point. Would a polite person be seen cheering at a Trump rally? Would you want your friends and colleagues of differing view points, races, ethnicities and religions knowing you opening espoused intolerance?

          • Matt March 15, 2016, 7:37 pm


      • ArtsBeatLA March 15, 2016, 5:58 pm

        I suggest you check your historical facts, Matt. I believe Mrs. Rosa Parks *was* sitting in the colored section of the bus. She refused to surrender her seat for a white man, justifiably so.

        • Cat March 17, 2016, 6:59 pm

          You are correct. The “colored” section was movable if a white person didn’t have a seat. Mrs. Parks was where the law said she should be.

      • lakey March 15, 2016, 11:53 pm

        Some of these people weren’t just protesting, they were trying to prevent Trump from speaking. We do not need people trying to set themselves up as the thought police and the speech police. Peacefully protesting Trump, or any other candidate is fine. Arguing against what he says is fine. Being so weak and thin skinned that you can’t handle allowing him to speak, is not fine.

        • Matt March 16, 2016, 8:09 am

          Where do you draw the line? If we vigorously disagree, I’d be rude to deny you the opportunity to speak. But anyone who openly calls for violence and bigotry should be resisted, not encouraged.

          • lakey March 16, 2016, 1:02 pm

            This isn’t just about rudeness. We are supposed to have freedom of speech in this country. I don’t like what he said about Mexicans. Border security and immigrants coming into this country illegally are important issues. We need to have open discussions about issues. If we don’t like some of the things said about those issues, that’s part of the process. These opponents have a right to peacefully protest and to express their own views via speeches, the internet, newspapers, and other media.

            You, I, and those protest groups do not have any right to stomp on someone else’s right to be heard, or the audience’s right to hear a speech. One of these groups, in the recent past, has held protests on highways, bridges, and other public places where they have blocked drivers and citizens from going about their everyday business. They are trying to force people to think like they do. It will not work. The only thing they are doing is causing these large crowds of people at the Trump rallies to dig in their heels. Freedom of speech is an important right. People have a right to say things that are offensive.

            There are people in this country, particularly on tv shows, comedy acts, and in movies, who are saying and portraying things that I believe are incredibly offensive and disgusting, and perhaps damaging to society. I can complain, I can refuse to watch, but I cannot go to the studios and physically prevent them from producing their product.

            There are political candidates that I feel would damage this country in the long run or short run. I have no right to prevent them from speaking. None.

          • admin March 16, 2016, 2:23 pm

            I don’t want speech restricted in any way because the more a person talks/writes, the more evidence builds that there is a consistent belief that is deeply rooted and not some spurious, flippant comment made off the cuff.

          • Kay_L March 16, 2016, 5:20 pm

            It’s speech though. One person’s “bigotry” is another person’s “that’s not really what he said.”

            You can just walk away.

            You know, if Trump is really inciting violence, he’s doing a poor job of it considering how many people are at his rallies and how few protestors are getting anything but simply thrown out. It’s a tempest in a teapot. And a lot of the calls of “bigotry” and “racism” obscure real issues that people want to discuss.

            So, “must be resisted?” Seems you are skirting the ragged edge of wanting to shut down speech because you don’t like it. You can refuse to encourage it by not going to a speech, or turning off the tube, or protesting peacefully with signs, and at the ballot box. Or you can get involved in the process, become a delegate or even a candidate.

            But, “resisting” speech by disrupting others’ private events is not ok. it’s one thing for one particularly passionate person to be overcome and shout something out. But that is not what we are seeing. The disruptions at the Trump rallies are coordinated and well funded efforts to annoy, harass and shut down the people who go to them. That goes way beyond any notion of “etiquette.”

          • Tracy W March 16, 2016, 11:40 pm

            But anyone who openly calls for violence and bigotry should be resisted, not encouraged.

            The question is how to resist. And sometimes, “give them the rope to hang themselves” is the right way to resist.

          • Rebecca March 17, 2016, 2:30 am

            “Freedom of speech is an important right. People have a right to say things that are offensive. ”

            They do, but what they say doesn’t absolve them of consequences. This sums it up better than I could:


          • Matt March 17, 2016, 10:26 am


            The first amendment right to free speech only applies to the government. It says that the government cannot pass laws that restrict speech. In practice, this has been interpreted to mean that strict scrutiny must be applied in order to restrict speech. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is the classic example of speech that isn’t protected from government restriction. The first amendment doesn’t mean you are free to say whatever you want to whomever you want whenever you want with no consequences. For example, you can express racist views at work, but you could be fired for expressing those views. This doesn’t violate your 1st amendment rights.

            In other news, Trump called on his followers to riot if he doesn’t get his desired outcome in the primary process.

          • lakey March 17, 2016, 4:03 pm

            The Reverend Al Sharpton has made extremely provocative statements that have allegedly led to violence. People have burned the American flag. An artist has done an artwork that consisted of putting a crucifix into urine. Louis Farrakhan has made anti-semitic statements. All of these are examples of offensive speech or behaviors. Some of these are very bigoted. In our country these people had a right to engage in this offensive, sometimes bigoted, behavior. People have a right to listen to speeches by Louis Farrakhan or The Reverend Sharpton. They have a right to attend events where a flag is burned or a religious image is desecrated.

            People do not have any right to interfere with attendance at these events. They have a right to protest these events, but that is all. By the way, Reverend Sharpton ran for president a number of years ago, and there was no outcry over some of the uglier things that he has said in the past. As I recall, the Crown Heights issue was never even brought up. Trump’s more offensive statements will catch up to him sooner or later. He WILL have to accept the consequences of his actions, in the same way that Reverend Sharpton did when he ran for president. In the end a large part of the voting public will not vote for someone who engages in very offensive, and inflammatory speech. That’s how the system works.

          • Kay_L March 19, 2016, 11:53 am

            “In other news, Trump called on his followers to riot if he doesn’t get his desired outcome in the primary process.”

            No, he didn’t.

        • Tracy W March 17, 2016, 3:01 pm

          @Matt, @Rebecca, but why was the First Amendment put into the Constitution at all? Because the American Forefathers thought freedom of speech a good thing. J.S. Mills wrote far better arguments for why freedom of speech is gold than I can, but one good point he makes is that even when the view being argued for is wrong, listening to it and arguing back makes the right idea much more alive and real and we understand it far better.

          And, on a pragmatic level, if someone fears getting fired for expressing their views, they might shut up. But that doesn’t mean they have changed their mind. They might still vote for Trump. And the rest of us will have no idea why, because they’ve shut up.

          Think of the revolutions in Eastern Europe during the 1990s. The Communists had spent decades suppressing anti-Communist views. They had had full control of education for those decades. If you expressed the wrong views you could be demoted, banned from going on holidays, etc. And yet, the revolutions still happened the moment Russia’s grip lessened. There’s an old saying: “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” Applying consequences, like firing someone, doesn’t change their mind. It just makes them think you’re a bully.

          • Matt March 18, 2016, 8:24 am

            The First amendment was put into the constitution because the founding fathers feared a monarchy. It’s all about restricting what the government can do. It says absolutely nothing about people having to listen to other people.

          • Tracy W March 18, 2016, 3:40 pm

            @Matt: The First Ten Amendments are about restricting what the government can do, not about advising what private people should do.

            As for the idea that the First Amendment is a way to stop a monarchy, if I was determined to become Her Majesty Tracy I, and had overcome the entire US Constitution mandating elections and a presidency and separation of powers and so forth, and some foolhardy lawyer tried to cite the First Amendment in a final desperate attempt to stop me, I’d just say “The law says ‘Congress shall not pass’ so of course it does not bind us, as we are Her Imperial Majesty, not some Congressional rabble. Off with his head.”

            No, the monarchy issue is a red herring, the First Amendment was put into the Constitution because the Forefathers thought that freedom of speech is a valuable thing in and of itself.

      • Tracy W March 16, 2016, 11:36 pm

        At which point everyone defines the people they disagree with as racist bullies and feels justified in trying to stop them from saying it.

        What the black civil right protesters did was very sophisticated. They went about their business quietly, peacefully, well-dressed and let the ugliness of the people they were protesting show through. A black man in a suit being attacked by white men with dogs. Black kids in nice clothes carrying school books walking past white adults screaming at them. Those visual images told a powerful story about who were the bullies. The civil rights movement won by letting their opponents display just how terrible bullies they were.

        (Obviously, everyone should be treated courteously regardless of dress. But appearances count in public debate.)

        • Matt March 17, 2016, 10:27 am

          I think polite people wait for people to express racist views and attempt to bully people before they slap on the racist bully label.

          • Tracy W March 17, 2016, 1:21 pm

            The problem is not the waiting, it’s the definition of racism and the definition of bullying.

            Insults have a tendency to expand and expand. To pick a historic example, Orwell noted that in his time every political position had been called fascist.

          • Rebecca March 17, 2016, 2:07 pm

            @Matt, if there was a “like” button here I’d use it.

        • Dee March 17, 2016, 12:44 pm

          Tracey W – The civil rights protesters didn’t have a lot of choices as to how to protest racism. They were damned if they did, and so on. They accepted that there would be violence against them and their families and still chose to stand up for freedom, that’s how desperate they were. I would really hope that today’s protesters could stop things from descending to that level by protesting and implementing acts of civil disobedience well before the laws and attitudes became toxic. It isn’t good to consider politeness in the face of violence as a normal response. It is good to see people pushing back, hard, against forces that would see a decline in rights for everybody.

          • Tracy W March 17, 2016, 8:23 pm

            Well, firstly, so far from being damned regardless, the civil rights movement was an impressive success. The civil rights protestors won by being polite in the face of violence.

            Politeness is utterly compatible with civil disobedience and pushing back hard against forces that would see a decline in rights for everyone. One can politely and appropriately stand up for yourself. The objective is to illustrate that there are ways of living that are respectful and peaceful and polite, that are better than your opponent’s. Not to join your opponents in the mud.

            I agree that politeness of course is not the normal response to violence. The normal response to violence is to do violence back. And so you get Syria, or Israel/Palestine or the Irish Troubles or so many other cases around the world of ongoing violence. The idea of civil disobedience is to avoid the normal response to violence and the normal consequences of that normal response.

            This is not to say that civil disobedience works everywhere. If, say, we’re talking about Nazi Germany, the Nazis’ response to Gandhi or MLK would have been to shot and dump the body in an unmarked grave. But to get rid of the Nazis required invading the country and hanging the surviving commanders. Millions died in the process. Are you advocating that to deal with Trump supporters?

          • Kay_L March 19, 2016, 12:22 pm

            Tracy– you blog about this, don’t you? Very good stuff!

            “I would really hope that today’s protesters could stop things from descending to that level by protesting and implementing acts of civil disobedience well before the laws and attitudes became toxic.”

            It’s the protestors that are being violent. I get that you think that Trump is using what you consider to be violent rhetoric, but it has not resulted in even one tenth of the violence that has been brought to the events by these protesters.

            They are not there to “make their voices heard” but to interfere with suppoerters’ rights to assemble and hear the speech.

            That so many people are somehow so informed that what Trump and his supporters are doing is akin to resurrecting the Nazi party of the 1930s tells me that someone else is really the one shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.

            What is being reported and how it is being reported is being deliberately twisted to paint the candidate in a negative light. This is nothing new.

            What is different this time around is that Trump is not capitulating to the people jumping on his every word. He has said things that are outrageous. But he has also said a lot of very important things that need to be talked about, that people are concerned about.

            2016 America is not 1930s Germany. Not at all. To say that Trump is like Hitler is to brand a great many of your fellow citizens as Nazi’s.

    • channamasala April 2, 2016, 6:17 am

      Except most, if not all, Trump protesters are peaceful, and usually intend to stand in quiet protest. Nobody is stopping anybody else from hearing Trump’s incoherent ramblings about being the “best”.

  • Mary March 15, 2016, 9:29 am

    I think interrupting in political debates is horribly rude. I think it’s also rude in other situations. It’s the first thing that made me decide I would not ever watch “The View”. The hosts are constantly interrupting each other.

    • waltzing matilda March 16, 2016, 3:21 am

      That’s one of the reasons that I hate watching those sorts of ‘opinions’ shows. It’s al Wah,Wah,Wah and just gives me a headache. Just shut up, already! Some people just love to hear the sound of their own voice, can’t stand it that anyone has an opinion different to their own and have obviously never learned to listen.

  • viviennebzb March 15, 2016, 9:45 am

    I can’t stand the “everybody talk at once so no one can hear anything coherent” style of debate/conversation. I refuse to try to listen to gibberish.
    The person interrupting is the rude one. It is laughably disingenuous to assign rudeness to the one politely but firmly staying on track and finishing their sentence.

    • PhDeath March 15, 2016, 10:54 am

      Yes! Not only is it irritating to watch people behave in this manner, it’s also nearly impossible to understand a single word anyone is saying.

    • Amanda H. March 16, 2016, 3:36 pm

      My sisters and I tend to have conversations kind of like this. The main difference? We all understand it’s our personality type, and we try not to do this to anyone else, just each other (because we’re all accepting of it and we’ve had some fun conversations that way).

      That conversation style does NOT work in debates, where the point is to hear both sides of the discussion clearly, and shame on Clinton for interrupting Sanders so much.

  • PJ March 15, 2016, 9:50 am

    Agree with all of this. So many rude people on every end of every spectrum. I have wondered why microphones are not turned off until it is a candidate’s turn to speak. It doesn’t make them completely inaudible, but enough so that it would help.

    I especially appreciate admin’s statement (respectfully snipped) “I’m offended as a listener … because I feel like I am being treated like an idiot who cannot listen to opposing viewpoints and make an informed choice …” I can’t help but grow suspicious of anyone whose approach to an opposing view is to attempt to block it from being heard. IMO, it is right up there with the name calling and insults that fly so freely in debates (and the associated protests) these days.

  • Dee March 15, 2016, 10:11 am

    What does politics have to do with this? This is an issue that occurs in all walks of life. And I do strongly agree with the idea that one should be careful not to vote for rude politicians but for the fact that often there is little or no choice.

  • ~Dessa~ March 15, 2016, 10:23 am

    Why is the person with the polite spine always considered to be the rude person? I refuse to vote for a rude candidate.

  • JWH March 15, 2016, 10:42 am

    I personally think that the politicians should be outfitted with shock collars. If they misbehave, the debate moderator administers a mild electrical shock ….

    Or more seriously, perhaps the moderator should be able to turn off a misbehaving candidate’s microphone.

    • Livvy17 March 15, 2016, 3:03 pm

      Yes, if the candidate agreed to the rules, the moderators should be able to enforce them, otherwise, what’s the point of having a moderator?

  • Betsy March 15, 2016, 10:46 am

    I’m so embarrassed to be an American right now because of what is happening during these debates. I don’t want to vote for a rude candidate either, but that severely limits my options. Apologies to the rest of the world.

    • Serryce March 15, 2016, 7:47 pm

      Interrupting someone is a long-standing tactic to exert dominance or control over a situation. It’s most commonly (although obviously not exclusively) used by men against women.

      I have no doubt that Clinton has experienced this cutoff and interruption plenty in her time as First Lady, Senator, and now Presidential candidate. And I wonder how many people stood up and said, “Hey, you oughta let Clinton finish what she was saying” then, or supported her if she’d told her interrupters, “How about you let me finish what I’m saying?”

      Sanders, as a white male, is doubtless accustomed to having his voice heard and being ‘allowed’ to finish his speech – hence his counter to Clinton’s interruptions.

      (Incidentally, while the Republican race seems like a complete trainwreck, the Democratic race seems very much like a “mommy and daddy” choice – Daddy gets to make all the big sweeping promises of great and wonderful futures, while Mommy has to be practical and pragmatic because when the proverbial hits the fan, she’ll be wiping up the dirty butts.)

      • Betsy March 16, 2016, 10:45 am

        Your point is well taken. Funny, I wasn’t envisioning Sanders when I wrote this. I think you might have an idea who else came to mind. (More than one, but one primary candidate – ha!)

  • Shannan March 15, 2016, 11:05 am

    This is very typical of our way of life I’m afraid. We watch talk shows and news segments where no one can get a word in edgewise. We reward these shows by continuing to watch them so it’s not that unheard of that we reward candidates who are guilty of this by voting them in. The thing is that if we don’t watch a show due to all the interrupting, we won’t have any way of being informed voters.. I guess we can research on the web or newspapers.

  • Vermin8 March 15, 2016, 11:05 am

    I didn’t watch the debates so I don’t know who was in the wrong, Sanders or Clinton.
    Why didn’t the moderators speak up? Aren’t they supposed to enforce the debate rules?

    Less public I have noticed at work that it is harder and harder to speak without interrupting and speaking louder than the person you are interrupting. Why? You won’t get to speak otherwise.
    In fact, I was at a meeting recently and my area of expertise was brought up. I tried to speak and kept getting interrupted. When I mentioned it to the supervisor, she told me I just needed to “speak up.” IE, interrupting is the normal now and if you don’t, it’s your fault if you are not heard.

    • Rattus March 15, 2016, 11:40 am

      Stopping someone who is interrupting you is not interrupting, it is speaking up. And yes, if you want to be heard than you do need to speak up.

    • PhDeath March 15, 2016, 12:24 pm

      You’ll hear the moderators make attempts to stop the antics from time to time. Largely, they just add to the noise when they do so.

      The cynical side of me (which is getting rather large in this election cycle!) thinks that the moderators are letting this play out in hopes of getting the OH, SNAP! moment that will go viral and dominate the news for the next 24 hours. Sadly, a great portion of the electorate seems to be more concerned with being entertained than in learning anything substantive from the candidates.

      • Vermin8 March 16, 2016, 5:55 am

        PHDeath I quit watching the debates several election cycles ago because I noted that I rarely heard anything of substance that wasn’t already out there. It just seemed to be the modern equivalent of a gladiator match – but the weapons are sharp words instead of sharp objects.
        2 of the most well known debate moments are Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter “there you go again!: and, 1988 VP debates, Bentsen to Dan Quayle “Senator you are no John F. Kennedy”. They “won” the debate for the speakers but contributed nothing of substance.
        So, yes, I think the people running the debates love the viral moments and yes, it’s entertainment only.

    • Vermin8 March 16, 2016, 5:51 am

      Rattus, that is not what was happening – I just keep talking then. I’m talking about people who, once they get the floor, don’t stop talking. So it would be me interrupting. And if they don’t stop once I interrupt, then I have to raise my voice, which means they raise their voice and then it’s a shouting match.
      There are people who just won’t stop talking no matter what. If you have 2 or 3 in a meeting and the person chairing doesn’t want to deal with it, then the meeting’s pretty much useless.

      • Ant March 17, 2016, 9:32 am

        I know exactly what you are on about Vermin8. I remember once doubling the length of a 30 minute meeting because one person (quite senior, in terms of he’d been there 30 years or something) ranted for about 15 minutes on how this is all “not rocket science” we just need to get on and do it, and outlined a sloppy and slightly dangerous plan. All the while a couple of people either trying to politely interrupt or just muttering “no”, “we can’t”. Eventually he stopped and said “So it’s agreed we just do x,y,z and push this out”. He even got up to leave. At which point I (the expert in x) could finally say that no it was not feasible in the time frame. The next person (expert in y) said his plan wasn’t safe. And z was pointed out to be against our company policies and standards. He then went on a several minute rant about us not speaking up to which our manager (in charge of the meeting finally told him the meeting was aimed to be a series of discussions not lectures, so this senior left us to it (and the meeting went well after that, although the fallout lasted weeks)). As far as I’m aware he’s still at the company but I’m not… too many “strong personalities” as HR called them (would occasionally try to contact HR to resolves various issues, it didn’t go anywhere as they didn’t want to offend the older, experienced but close to retirement people and make them change/ do this slightly differently/ better, so instead the place had a rotating door of young talent start and leave).

  • MEGS March 15, 2016, 11:32 am

    I do not understand how Sanders could POSSIBLY be considered rude for not wanting his sentense interupted. I think he was actually very polite about it.

    • Lisa March 16, 2016, 8:39 am

      Completely agree.

  • Amara March 15, 2016, 12:29 pm

    Yes, interrupting and shouting are rude. Unless someone is about to be injured or killed (train, car, fire, etc.) there is absolutely no need for it. In politics, it should be clamped down on severely since apparently candidates cannot control themselves. Penalties like having time taken away from them immediately to answer a future question–timekeepers would handle that–would help, and another point which no one apparently has addressed, that of holding all debates without a live audience to interrupt with their applause and cheers, would be immensely helpful.

    Make rules real! Hold the candidates to them! If no one chooses to be polite then it should be forced on them.

  • ColoradoCloudy March 15, 2016, 12:42 pm

    As another has said – why don’t the moderators enforce the rules? If a candidate starts behaving disrespectfully, turn them off.

    • admin March 15, 2016, 3:18 pm

      An example from history where an attempt by the debate moderator to have the microphone switched off backfired: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/lists/debatemoments/reagan.html

      • Kay_L March 16, 2016, 5:25 pm

        That was na awesome moment– and notice, he was angry but not a single swear word left his lips.

        Actually, I would thing that networks could shutoff the mics of misbehaving candidates because they also “paid for them” though I think those things are worked out beforehand. A single party debate would be a lot different than a two or three party debate, the stakes being even higher.

  • Ashley March 15, 2016, 1:20 pm

    I think Sanders was well within his rights to say “Can I finish?” when he was interrupted.

    I think is is true of anyone anywhere who is interrupted.

    Also, can someone explain the asbestos pants thing to me?

    • admin March 15, 2016, 3:16 pm

      Figurative protection from a potential flame war.

    • Matt March 15, 2016, 7:34 pm

      Asbestos is a flame-retarding building material. Asbestos pants is a metaphor for suggesting everyone anticipating heated (flaming) posts and be sensible in the face of people strongly disagreeing with them.

  • girl_with_all_the_yarn March 15, 2016, 1:34 pm

    It doesn’t really matter if you support his ideas… Trump is in an EHell category all by himself.

    • Dee March 15, 2016, 4:39 pm

      Watching the show that is American politics from outside of the United States is usually kind of entertaining but this time around it is particularly frightening. That people would actually give Trump/Drumpf the time of day is shocking; it suggests that there are more than a few people who hold the same racist/sexist/obnoxious views. Wait — what century is this again?

      • AMC March 15, 2016, 8:17 pm

        I think people have unfortunately always held those kinds of repugnant views; it’s just that Trump normalized it and made it “acceptable” to say them outloud.

      • LonelyHound March 16, 2016, 9:04 am

        See, the funny thing is I always ask liberals what is it Trump is saying exactly that is getting his base energized. I usually get hit back with he is racist/sexist/obnoxious. No one can tell me what he is saying that is resonating with people. I can tell you that many of the people that at least like to listen to Trump listen to him because he listens to them. Right now people feel that only special interests/groups and lobbyists are represented in Washington right now. To have a candidate listen to you and speak to the issues that are concerning you is a nice thing. That is why Bernie Sanders has a lot of the young adult vote. He is speaking to them. However, I have an older coworker who is Democrat, and she is concerned about the Democrat choices. So much so that this might be the first year she votes Republican. She just does not like the Democrat field of candidates.

        • girl_with_all_the_yarn March 16, 2016, 11:22 am

          I was more concerned with the slightly less abhorrent part where during a debate he openly talked about the size of his… erm… man bits.

          But, I do think a portion of why he’s so popular is that there are a lot of people who are closet racists in the US. I encountered one of them at work. He would never (at least while sober or in public) use a slur, but he does dislike a disproportionate number of POC. He hung a Confederate flag on his desk until management couldn’t pretend the complaints didn’t exist anymore and told him to take it down. (We will not go into the sheer number of issues with management’s handling of problems… that’s a whole other rabbit hole.)

          Not surprisingly, he was very much a Trump supporter.

        • Dee March 16, 2016, 11:53 am

          LonelyHound – I couldn’t tell you specifically what Drumpf stands for because he never says the same thing twice. He lies so much I think even he believes what he is saying. What I can’t understand is how people believe he is a good businessman when he has declared bankruptcy so many times and has conned people he called “friends” into losing business deals, leaving them holding the bag. How do people forget all this when it’s been in the news for over 20 years is something I can’t figure out. The man hasn’t changed in all that time but suddenly he’s seen as a “solution”. That’s the definition of crazy – voting for him hoping he won’t be like he always is.

        • Amanda H. March 16, 2016, 3:43 pm

          I’m conservative and have no clue what Trump is saying that resonates either. The guy bugs me to no end.

          And I find it funny that your friend is considering voting Republican this year, since I have the opposite problem. There are certain Republican candidates where, if they end up being *the* candidate for the party, I’m considering voting Democrat this year.

          • Cat March 17, 2016, 6:56 pm

            I tend to think that we, as a people, are somewhat uneducated and short-sighted. We are comfortable with blaming a group of people for our problems. We agree that illegal immigrants are a problem. We fail to realize that they make up 26% of agricultural workers,17% of maintenance/cleaners, and 14% of construction workers.
            Some states fined farms for hiring illegal aliens and the pickers left those states. The crops rotted in the fields. The laws changed and the pickers returned.
            Many Americans are convinced that all Muslims are terrorists. Islam has been around since the 600’s and we have had Muslim Americans for years without problems.
            Mr. Trump appeals to our fears and to our lack of knowledge. He says he will resolve all our woes. That is what we want to hear; it is what we want to believe.

        • channamasala April 2, 2016, 6:24 am

          I could point to several quotes of racist, sexist and obnoxious things Trump has said. You could too – a simple Google search would do.




          …and that’s just the first few links under “rude things donald trump has said”.

          As for “he speaks about issues they care about” – what issues? Nobody seems to know what his in-depth policies are on anything beyond sound bites, because he doesn’t have any. “We’re going to win and be the best at winning because I’m the best winner and with me you will win” is not an issue.

    • Harry March 19, 2016, 1:14 am

      “Trump is in an EHell category all by himself.”

      Excuse me? That’s your opinion.

      • admin March 19, 2016, 5:57 am

        Just Trump’s comments about women he’s known and interacted with is enough to send him to Etiquette Hell.

  • Margaret March 15, 2016, 2:25 pm

    After 10 hours of constantly being interrupted by grandstanding questioners during the Benghazi / email congressional hearing last fall, Secretary Clinton must have felt that the only way you get heard is by interrupting.

    Nevertheless, Senator Sanders was correct during the debate. He doesn’t interrupt her, she should have let him finish.

    • Tanya March 16, 2016, 8:05 am

      Actually, I read that during that particular debate Sanders interrupted Clinton 24 times, while she interrupted him only 8 times. Everyone interrupted everyone else, which is why, out of all that rudeness, I found it condescending for him to call out Clinton in particular for doing it to him.

      • Andrea K March 16, 2016, 8:09 pm

        Yes, there’s a breakdown of interruptions/interrupters and Clinton is interrupted more than everyone else.


        Also worth noting: when Clinton starts speaking, Sanders immediately starts waving his hands about and pulling faces.

        Not what I’d call polite.

  • NostalgicGal March 15, 2016, 2:56 pm

    Every major election year since 1968, I didn’t think it could get worse (on our choices) and they do get worse and worse. The problems are compounded by how connected the great mass-media engine has become as well.

    I’m liking Canada’s politics. They call an election, it’s six weeks. Then they’re done. Period. Would save untold billions.

    As for the rude on the rude, I don’t watch, I don’t care anymore. I don’t want any of the major frontrunners and actually wish ill to the two big frontrunners for the only reason that that would be the only way out of this election. That’s how bad it is. The rude is just the icing on the rancid cake….

    • Mustard March 15, 2016, 4:12 pm

      The election period in the U.K. is about a month. There is a lot of posturing beforehand because everyone knows it’s coming but actual campaigning takes place within that month. And is a fraction of the cost. The prime minister could lose the election on a Thursday and be out of 10 Downing Street next day when the new P.M. moves in, so no waiting a couple of months for the new man or woman in charge.

      • Agania March 15, 2016, 7:42 pm

        Same in Australia! The PM names the date, the politicians ponce around talking big for a couple of week, everyone votes during the day and the winner is announced by bedtime!

        We can even change PMs at the drop of a hat. If the party in power has leadership issues, you can watch the late news before bedtime, hear about rumblings in Canberra and wake the next day to a new leader for the party and hence a new PM! No protests, no violence, no bloodshed, just a new PM! We Australians are very laid back. All politicians are d!ckheads so it doesn’t really matter who is sitting at the top of the pile.

      • NostalgicGal March 15, 2016, 10:08 pm

        Exactly. Cutting the lead time, cutting the expenses, and cutting the amount of hoo-hah the rest of the populace has to put up with. I swear some politicians begin campaigning as soon as they’re elected for the next election…

    • channamasala April 2, 2016, 6:27 am

      I actually like Sanders more than I’ve liked any candidate since the first Obama campaign (a bit disillusioned after that but not as much as my friends who really believed he could deliver on ALL of his promises, rather than just some).

      Finally, a candidate who is a social democrat like me. He’s quite literally the first.

  • Karen L March 15, 2016, 2:56 pm

    I have noticed a tendency for rude people to try to reflect their rudeness back on the abused. For instance, when you go to the ballpark and say to a squatter “I think you are sitting in my seat” the other person will say “You don’t have to be so rude about it!” If you go to the theater, people won’t say “Excuse me” to get past you, they say “My seat is over there” as if they are saints for being all forgiving that you have the audacity to block them. People in restaurants say, “Can I read your newspaper?” and if you say “Sorry, I’m not finished with it”, they will say, “Well, that’s rude of you!”

    In this case, what if it was the other way around. Suppose Sanders was interrupting Clinton, and Clinton said “Please let me finish”. Who is the rude one there?

    • Ant March 17, 2016, 10:13 am

      Too true. I used to live in a busy area and had a allocated car park spot. I once came home to someone sat in my spot their car. I pulled up behind them and asked what they were doing (seen as there is are clear signs showing who owns what spot) to be told they were waiting for a friend to get home and would be setting off as soon as they arrived. Asked as to why they didn’t park in friend’s spot they said they wanted to ensure they could get out straight away without any messing about. I informed them that I needed the spot immediately to be told to “stop being so rude, I won’t be here long”. Whilst trying to get my head round the logic that I was somehow in the wrong the window was wound up and they refused to talk. So after reversing enough to give the person room to manoeuvre I rang security. Who arrived 5 minutes later with a clamp in hand. On sight the driver whipped out and went to friends spot. I left security to deal with it and found out later that that car/ license plate was now banded from the car park and the spot owner given a formal warning not to loan out his pass again (the car park had little tolerance of abuse of access privileges-given the popularity of the area didn’t have a problem selling spots).

  • Devin March 15, 2016, 3:59 pm

    This election cycle has my head spinning mostly because of the crassness and rudeness of all the candidates involved. I wish the moderators could force the candidates to stick to the rules of debate (maybe shutting off their microphones), but they work for the networks who want big ratings from a mud slinging contest. Sadly, the ratings would probably go down if it was an actual civil discourse on topics effecting the country instead of name calling, finger pointing, and grandstanding.
    Every debate I watch makes me think of the Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift moment “I’m going to let you finish, but first…”

    • Another Michelle March 15, 2016, 10:30 pm

      I wish Kanye HAD said “I’m going to let you finish…”!! What he said was the more difficult to understand “Ima let you finish…”.

      On topic, in Australia we have 5 – 6 weeks of electioneering by candidates and then, generally, it’s over. Election day is a Saturday, and by late Saturday night the new prime minister has been elected. During those weeks, all sides of politics are supposedly on their best behaviour, but put the leaders of the two major parties in a debate setting, and it is guaranteed that both will go over time, and will probably not answer the question anyway, and there will be name calling, bullying and any other offensive behaviour. We have something called “the worm” on one of our commercial stations that hosts the debates. It sits at the bottom of the screen and lets the viewers know how the studio audience is reacting to the debate. Generally, the network that hosts the debate will declare the person who received the most positive “worm” reactions has won the debate.

  • Ergala March 15, 2016, 6:09 pm

    Before I deleted FB I had friends that actually ran Bernie through the mud because he asked Hilary to let him finish. They made it out to be like he was talking to down to her because she was a woman and shouldn’t be allowed to speak. I gave up mentioning she was interrupting him and he hadn’t interrupted her. I mean how dare he actually want to use his time to talk and not allow his opponent whom happens to be of the opposite gender to speak over him out of turn. It really really made me angry.

  • Silver March 15, 2016, 6:44 pm

    I actually was a Clinton supporter until I saw him she was acting in the debates. I am now voting for Sanders. Good for him for calling her out.

  • Silver March 15, 2016, 6:45 pm

    *how she was acting

  • Karen March 15, 2016, 8:32 pm

    I’m amazed that in a political season that has seen people making jokes about their own genitals and the physical characteristics of each other, that has seen a candidate mock the disabled, that has seen a candidate advocate actual violence against protesters, we’re talking about if CLINTON and SANDERS were rude to each other.

    That’s insane.

    • girl_with_all_the_yarn March 16, 2016, 11:27 am

      That’s because Trump is from his very own little island on the planet Booron. We could have pages upon pages devoted to him and his rudeness.

      He’s not just in the fires of EHell, he’s running the place!

  • Kay_L March 15, 2016, 10:49 pm

    So don’t watch the debates. You can get all the policy info on your own time from reading the candidates websites. The debates are for thinking on your feet and yes, it is important that someone be able to command the floor. Because on the world stage, that can be your way of life and your interests on the line. The world is not a garden party.

  • iwadasn March 15, 2016, 11:19 pm

    I really don’t think there’s any such thing as a polite politician. For politicians on either side of the political spectrum, it seems the only way they know how to get their ideas across is to shout them more loudly than their opponents are shouting theirs.

  • waltzing matilda March 16, 2016, 3:23 am

    Unfortunately in politics, when all is said and all is done, more will be said than done.

    • MamaToreen March 17, 2016, 3:42 pm

      True of so many things

  • Chipmunky March 16, 2016, 5:27 am

    This isn’t confined merely to politics. A week ago, a story was published about how John Goodman was very embarrassed when he met Kristen Wiig, and he now refuses to work with her in Hollywood.

    Why was he so embarrassed? He interrupted her in the midst of a conversation and she asked him to wait a moment while she finished her statement.

    Rude people get away with rudeness because we (collectively) allow it and let the assertive “excuse me, I wasn’t finished/please let me finish” fall by the wayside.

  • Goldie March 16, 2016, 2:53 pm

    I did not see the debate in question, but saw many accounts of it in the news the next day, where Sanders was being referred to as interrupting Clinton “in a sexist manner” – that it was sexist of him to “not let her speak” or whatever. WHAT? This is so wrong; and incredibly offensive to women, although that’s probably not what these news reporters had in mind. Regardless of which candidate I support, I really do not care for the underlying assumption that I can’t be trusted to follow through with the basic etiquette, and need to be given a break on my behavior because I’m a girl.

    • Tanya March 17, 2016, 8:07 am

      Given that Sanders interrupted Clinton more than he interrupted any of the other male candidates (by a LOT), and that the other male candidates did the same in terms of interrupting her more than each other, I don’t think it’s incorrect to say that his interruptions appeared to be based in sexism. If he’d treated her the same as he did the male candidates, interruptions or not, I wouldn’t think it was sexist just because he happened to be interrupting a woman, but that’s not what he was doing.

      • Goldie March 17, 2016, 4:06 pm

        I need to clarify, by Sanders interrupting Clinton these news articles were referring to exactly what the Admin’s OP said – situations when *she interrupted him first* and he’d say things like “excuse me, I’m still talking!” The “excuse me, I’m still talking” was being referred to as sexist interruption. If that’s what happened and if your numbers are right, then this means she interrupted him and the other candidates A LOT, and they didn’t interrupt each other all that much.

      • Lerah99 March 18, 2016, 4:55 pm

        I would like to point out that Clinton being interrupted more often than other democratic candidates may have more to do with her being the front runner than her being a woman.

  • penguin tummy March 16, 2016, 4:51 pm

    If it is an organised debate or question and answer session then yes it is very rude to interrupt and speak over other people, you are taking up their time to speak. There is a TV show in Australia called Q and A where they have a panel of people talking about issues of the week. Usually there is at least one politician on the panel. One memorable show is the minister Christopher Pyne repeatedly interrupting and speaking over the minister Kate Ellis. It further emphasizes his boorish and rude manners, and I was amazed how she maintained a calm and respectful manner, asking him to please let her finish. In an organised situation, it is not okay to interrupt.

  • Cat March 17, 2016, 6:43 pm

    I, too, am unhappy with the political debates we have been subjected to in the name of intelligent discourse. I don’t care what you think of your opponent’s personal life or past history. I can determine that for myself.
    What I do what to hear is, first and foremost, that you will keep your presidential oath to support and to defend the Constitution of the United States-all of it and not just the parts you like. Next, I want to hear what you see as the major problems we are facing as a people. I want you to tell me how you will resolve these problems, and I don’t mean, “I’ll figure it out later.” I want to know how you will do it, when you will do it, why it will work if done that way, and what it is going to cost the taxpayer.
    The minute you show me that you don’t have any of these things in place, I will wonder why you are bothering running a campaign at all.
    I feel the same way about the triads of political commentators who will try to dissect the various candidates by shouting down the other two who are trying to get a word in edgewise. On one news program, three supposedly erudite political commentators were shouting so loud that none of them could be heard.
    If you are a boor and a bore, don’t bother to run for office or to comment on those who are. This country doesn’t need you to represent us.

  • Jo March 28, 2016, 1:57 am

    Isn’t* That will teach me to post while watching television.