Lawmakers Calling for Civil Discourse Haven't Always Been Civil

Some of the lawmakers calling for the political rhetoric to be toned down in the wake of the Arizona bloodbath have themselves stumbled in the past in living up to such standards of civility.

Evidence so far has suggested politics didn't motivate Jared Lee Loughner, who allegedly opened fire at a constituents meeting in Tucson, Ariz., but several lawmakers have still blamed vitriolic political rhetoric for inciting Americans to violence.

"Violence has no place in our democracy," Stark said in a statement shortly after the shooting that killed six people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

"While the details of the shooting are still coming to light, we can all agree that political rhetoric and imagery that condones or encourages violence -- whether from activists, party organizations, or politicians -- is unacceptable. We can have differences of opinion on policy and still treat each other with humanity," Stark said.

But Stark's own record of vitriol goes back a long way. In 2007, he infamously condemned Republicans for not supporting a Democratic-backed bill to expand health care for children from low-income families.

"You don't have money to fund the (Iraq) war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people – if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

Last year, Stark mocked a member of the Minutemen, an anti-illegal immigration group, at his town hall meeting for asking about problems at border.

"Who are you going to kill today," Stark asked the man.

Other lawmakers, including McDermott, who are seeking a more civil political tone have apparently forgotten their repeated mockery of Tea Party activists who they derisively refer to as "tea baggers."

"If we're going to be a civil society in which we can debate the huge issues that face us in this country, whether it's health care or the economics or anything else, we have got to do it in a civil way in which we can respect each other as human beings and not incite people's emotions in the country in ways that are destructive," McDermott told Fox News on Sunday. "I think what's very important as we have these big discussions in Washington about terribly important issues that we treat each other as human beings and recognize there can be differences but that it doesn't lead to action in a violent way that we've seen here."

Sen. Charles Schumer, who has gone as far as calling then Senate Republican candidate Scott Brown a "far-right tea bagger" has also called for a more genteel political conversation.

"Maybe in a certain sense this terrible tragedy will help us to take a time out, to look, each of us, into ourselves and remember the shared values that we really do all have," he told CBS' "Face The Nation."

"One of the grandest of American values is debate. It can be strong debate. But it should always be civil," he said.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, who has labeled all Tea Party activists as "extremists" is now singing a different tune.

"We live in a world of violent images and violent words," he told CNN, citing Palin's "don't retreat, reload" statement. He didn't directly link the shooting to political rhetoric but said that both parties need to exercise restraint.

"We owe it to our own in both political parties to have at least the good say, 'Wait a minute, that just goes too far,' whether it comes from the right or the left."

In 2005, Durbin was accused of going too far when he compared the treatment of detainees at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviet gulags and Cambodia's Pol Pot. He later apologized.