The Republican speaker of the state House of Representatives in Florida has had to get to get tough with a Democrat using inappropriate language on the debate floor, according to the St. Petersburg Times (via Mother Jones). First, the offending line:
At one point [Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando] suggested that his wife “incorporate her uterus” to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.
And now the response from the Speaker’s office, which is, really, the most insipid kind of fake outrage:
[T]he Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery.
Whenever someone invokes the tender feelings of “the children” in limiting the terms of a political debate, you can be pretty sure that that person is a scoundrel.
And the pages and messengers? They’re between 12 and 18. I was debating abortion — in a public school classroom, no less — when I was 14. If you feel you must object to the word “uterus,” Mr. Speaker, that’s your right, but don’t hide behind the teenagers who work for you.
(By the way, Randolph’s line, which I think is kind of a snappy piece of rhetoric, is from his wife.)