Thursday, September 10, 2009

Douchebag Of The Day

Will history someday record this as the final death knell for civility in American politics?

A Republican House member shouted, "You lie" during President Obama's health care speech to Congress on Wednesday, and members of both parties condemned the heckling.

After the speech, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson issued a statement apologizing for his outburst.

"This evening, I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill," the statement said. "While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."

Wilson also called the White House to apologize and spoke with Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who accepted the apology on the president's behalf, according to a senior administration official.

"We can disagree without being disagreeable," Emanuel said to Wilson, according to the official. "That was the point of the president's speech."

The outburst came when Obama denied that proposed health care legislation would provide free health coverage for illegal immigrants. Immediately, Wilson shouted, "You lie!"

The outburst caused Obama to stop and look toward the heckler. "That's not true," the president responded.
Class, thy name is Joe Wilson. Of course, this juvenile outburst is just a symptom of the real problem in Washington politics right now: The level of civilized and respectful discourse has now degenerated to that of knee-jerk hatred and vitriol. Both sides of the aisle are responsible of course but let's give real credit where it's due: First Obama was a secret Muslim, then a socialist, a Marxist, a communist, a Nazi, and finally a racist who hates white people and white culture. Then he wasn't even a real American but rather a duplicitous alien from another country deep in the heart of the Dark Continent.

Then people were encouraged to start tea-bagging each other in order to "rise up and take back their country". Then he was going to kill your grandmother and handicapped children for money. Then it became socially acceptable to shout down your congressman at a town hall meeting as if he were a dastardly mustachioed villain in a silent western. Then the guns started to come out at rallies. Then he was going to indoctrinate your children into his own personal junior Brownshirts brigade from inside their own schools. And now we've finally arrived at a point in the discourse where a fellow elected official feels comfortable actually calling the president a liar in the middle of a speech to the American people on live television.

Yes, he apologized: He made himself look like a partisan hack and a damn fool on television and of course he still wants to keep his job, doesn't he? This is more than just disagreement however; this is unbridled, unrequited anger over the outcome of the democratic process from people who simply can't accept the reality that they lost, to a black man no less. Yeah, I said it. I'm just afraid that things are only going to get worse before they (hopefully) someday start to get better. I really do hope that I'm wrong about this, and America should too.


magpie said...

Just some thoughts from a duplicitous alien:

The first is just a personal observation from where I sit:
Our politicians heckle and call each other names in Parliament, every day, constantly. If just "liar" is bad in the context of Congressional decorum, then our political circus must look like a chainsaw fight to an American observer.
This church-like solemnity with which the President's speech is accorded quiet audience... is quite remarkable to me.

The second is that you can actually be fortunate in who you have for enemies.

Palin for example: if you were a politician.... you'd want someone that dumb to argue with you. Yeah?
If anything, I would think this idiot Wilson has demonstrated to the public how low the reactionary forces in American politics have sunk. Obama should send him a bunch of flowers and a thank-you note.

After all... all this has been about lies. Republican lies.
The essential truth about the present heath care situation remains: that the American people are getting less while spending more.
And some get nothing at all. It's a farce.
US spending on heath care could hit 25% of GDP by 2020, if there is no reform. While still delivering worse outcomes than countries who spend less than 10%.
It'll not be just heath care then, you're entire economy will be fucked.

And I really like the way Obama delivered his speech. It was combative but not completely partisan. Aimed as much at right-leaning Democrats as at Republicans. He campaigned on a platform of unity, and he couldn't really abandon that just to appear tough. It was clever.

And now? Well... we'll see.

Leslie Parsley said...

Quietmagpie: Our parliamentary rules are a bit different, as you know, and I'm reading that this guy may have done more for Health Care reform than all the Dems put together. Let's hope so.

Interesting that John McCain goes on Larry King and calls for Wilson to apologize - while consistently ignoring those of his former running mate.

Doug"e" said...

Get ready. I can see it coming. Drum roll please..............Joe Wilson 2012!

Tim said...

And let's call out the Republican hypocrites who would not have stood for this had it been done for Bush.

This idiot gets attention, and the extreme right wing, the Birthers, racists, American Power followers, evangelicals, etc. will call this guy a hero. He's nothing more than a douchebag.

So, Palin-Wilson 2012?

one L bill said...

I still find it very ironic that the Republican party feels so strongly about monogamous, heterosexual marriage and yet found tea-bagging to be the right answer to Obama's bail-outs.

My local radio morning show speculated that Mr. Wilson was, perhaps, the victim of that most common of foes: the random moment of silence. You know... you're sitting there telling a story, all the other conversations end and then everybody catches the tail end of a story that was never meant to entertain such a large crowd. Perhaps he was simply expecting all the other Reds to stand up and sneer as routinely as the Blues stand up in ovation.

I don't get why Biden and Pelosi have to sit in such an awkward spot. My radio friends equated them to the folks sitting behind home plate.

JoMala "Truth 101" Kelly said...

When Wilson blurted out his blunder I bet he thought he would be a hero. Sadly, the right wing cabal of bigots, homophobes and idiots are in the process of his herofication right now.

JBW said...

As quietmagpie correctly observes, our political rules of decorum are a bit more staid than his native Australia's or even England's for that matter. In fact, it's a written rule that no congressman may interrupt another during deliberations on the House floor under penalty of being silenced for the rest of that days session.

This rule does not apply during a presidential speech in that same chamber but rather it is just a tradition of respect for the office that keeps people from shouting out while the president is speaking. It is equally sad and hypocritical that our elected officials seem to have much less respect for said office depending on whether their side currently occupies it.

And I think that you're all correct about this stupid act only helping Obama's cause. His speech wasn't to the Repubs who are currently heroifying Wilson or even to his base but rather to Independents, and I have a feeling that most of them will not approve of Wilson's actions.

I agree that having the VP and Speaker sit behind the president when he speechifies in front of the House looks kind of strange one L but it can also be quite entertaining.

Elvis Hebert said...

What Wilson did was notright but how many times have the Democrats done the same or even worst, the only thing is, the Democrats,ABC,CBS, and cnn or making it into a big thing, like they cry about. But what got me worrid is how there working this into a Black and White thing, like what i saw on cnn. tonight. This man is going to take Black and White back to where it going to take a long time to fix. He can,t tell you what on the bill there is no bill yet,and until there is it can say anything,Please think about this. Obama to the Democrats: The Wonder Of You : E>P

Elvis Hebert said...

Cant help myself, cnn,abc cbs,arrp who i did not renew my card with this year. How in gods name or they to tell you what is on Obama plan when there is no bill yet and the Democrats or fighting amoung themselfs on whats in it. YOU think Fox lies, man who much do you listen to,abc,cbs,cnn and see where they are rated at as for as news progroms. Listen to ever thing read ever thing,you can find and think for yourself on what makes sence, about cost, and what and who it will cover, look around illegals aliens or taking over, and your congress and senators are not trying to stop them. Obama Democrats are still hiss :Puppets ON a String: E>P

JBW said...

Elvis, your comments seem to be rather incoherent even for someone for whom English is not their first language. Make some substantive arguments for your side and maybe we'll talk.