Sen. Dick Durbin became the latest high-ranking Democrat to rebuke calls from some members of his party to eschew civility in favor of confrontational politics in the run-up to November’s midterm elections.
Speaking on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Durbin, D-Ill., didn’t name any names, but said going negative was not the message that Democrats should be sending as they look to take control of one or both of the houses of Congress this November.
“I don’t think it's a message that carries the day,” Durbin said. “Republicans can't win on those issues, so they get personal.”
Durbin’s comments come just weeks after former Attorney General Eric Holder drew sharp criticism from conservatives – and even some Democrats – for trying to turn Michelle Obama's famous "when they go low, we go high” appeal on its head.
Holder was captured on video speaking Sunday at a campaign event for local Georgia Democratic candidates.
"It is time for us, as Democrats, to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are," Holder said over the weekend. "Michelle always says -- I love her; she and my wife are like, really tight, which always scares me and Barack -- but Michelle always says, 'When they go low, we go high.' No. When they go low, we kick 'em."
The ex-AG later tweeted that he was not "advocating violence," but merely saying Democrats need to be "tough":
Holder’s comments came shortly after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN in an interview, in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s chaotic Supreme Court confirmation process: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for."
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee added: “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
Along with Durbin, the comments were challenged by former first lady Michelle Obama.
“Fear is not ... a proper motivator,” Obama said during an interview on NBC's “Today.” “Hope wins out, and if you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want them to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?”
“Which motto do you want them to live by? And I have to think about that as a mother,” she added.