What a night! It seems like every day since the healthcare “debate” began we’re treated to another headline that includes the words “Republicans” and “new low.” Last night, the Republican wielding the shovel was Representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina (where else)? But let’s mention the speech before we talk about the heckling. The President had something to say last night (source: The NY Times). After all, that’s why the Republicans were trying so hard to disrupt him. He called attention to the scare tactics and diversions being used by the opposition. At that point Joe Wilson stepped forward to give a perfect example.
If you’re still living in the pre-9/10/2009 world of relative civility and protocol, last night Congressman Joe Wilson yelled out “You lie!” as the President of the United States addressed Congress (source: Huffington Post). The worst of many worst parts of what Joe Wilson did is that he was blatantly lying when he yelled “You lie!” Obama was stating the plain fact that illegal immigrants are not covered under any plan. At least Wilson could have picked a statement that wasn’t so categorically documented as true. In any case, it’s totally inappropriate to yell “You lie” at the President while they’re addressing Congress. We didn’t even do that when George Bush announced that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake uranium… and that WAS a lie!
Sadly, the idiocy wasn’t limited to Joe Wilson. Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas (where else?) waved a handmade sign reading “What Bill?” (source: Washington Post) In 2006 Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing a t-shirt critical of President Bush during an address he gave. But when President Obama gives a speech, Republican members of Congress are waving prop signs like they’re drunken freshmen at a Florida Gators pep rally. We should be more selective about who we allow in the House Chamber. And the only way to do that is to be more selective about who we elect to Congress. Joe Wilson’s outburst may be helpful in that respect. Rob Miller, a Democrat planning to run against Wilson in 2010, has taken in more than $100,000 in the few hours since Wilson heckled the president. Joe Wilson’s two words were the most effective fundraising speech the Democrats have had in ages.