Best behavior

BEST BEHAVIOR…. It’s a symptom of our toxic political environment that, for the first time, there are several media reports today questioning whether congressional Republicans will be able to behave themselves during the State of the Union. This used to be one of those civil niceties we took for granted, back when Republicans were grown-ups.

We’ve been assured, however, that GOP heckles and catcalls are unlikely.

House GOP leaders are urging fellow Republicans to control their tempers and avoid any repeat performances of Joe Wilson’s “you lie” outburst at tonight’s State of the Union speech.

House Republican leaders warned rank and file Republican members in a private meeting this morning to show the President “respect” during tonight’s speech, two sources familiar with the meeting tell me.

House GOP leader John Boehner, minority whip Eric Cantor, and leading House conservative Mike Pence all stood up and delivered that message to the closed-door House GOP caucus meeting today.

There were no cameras on hand for the private meeting, but a certain “Saturday Night Live” skit keeps coming to mind.

As for Wilson, whose disrespectful outburst conduct made him a right-wing celebrity, the South Carolinian promises to behave himself. “That was a one-time incident,” Wilson said. “I will continue, through my agreement with the White House, to discuss issues civilly.”

But not too civilly — Wilson is now apparently something of a “Birther,” and still regrets that the birth-certificate “issue”‘ wasn’t raised more during the presidential campaign.