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Joe Wilson

Representative Wilson shouted "You Lie!" after President Obama said the health care reform doesn't apply to illegal aliens

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Really Gives You a Sense of the State of Politics

  • Sep 10, 2009
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So, Barack Obama gives a great speech on Health Care reform, and within it he calls out the three biggest things that have been misrepresented or that have been thrown out there for the sake of scaring people.  The first was that there were no "Death Panels" (a lie that seems laughable... and it would be, if so many people didn't believe it outright). He then said that tax payer dollars wouldn't go toward funding abortions.  Lastly, he said that the plan wouldn't not cover those who are within the United States illegally.  After that last one, Representive Joe "Dick" Wilson shouted "You Lie!"  Apparently even Republicans were outraged at what Joe Wilson did.  So much so that they made Joe Wilson apologize for his remarks. 

Granted, Joe Wilson has free speech and he's allowed to do such things.  While I generally believe Joe Wilson said it out of emotion rather than rational thought, it really gives you a sort of look at the state of politics in the nation.  And how divided as a nation we are.  As I said in my review of Two-Sided Politics, it's all about what "team" you're playing for.  Anyone who thinks the Republicans are opposing Health Care Reform on general principle are nuts.  Because that's not the case.  If Barack Obama had an "R" next to his name, you'd see Republicans getting in line and the Democrats screaming.  

But this one moment I found quite laughable.  Hillary Clinton once said in an interview, "If Barack Obama walked on water the Republicans would say he couldn't swim."  I never came up with anything quite that creative.  I've often been fond of saying that the nation is so divided Barack Obama could address Congress and tell them 2+2=4 and a Republican would stand up and call him a liar.  Now, when I said this I wasn't thinking that a Republican would ACTUALLY stand up and call him a liar (albeit, for a different reason).  I expected they'd do it the way they always do, by going on Fox News.  

It's actually a little confusing on just what Joe Wilson was saying Obama lied about.  Was it that there are no "Death Panels?"  Was it that tax dollars won't be funding abortions?  Or was it that illigeal aliens won't be covered?  One is meant to believe that Joe Wilson was specifically refering to the illegal immigrants.  But in truth, it could've been any of these... or all of them.  So it's hard to point out.  But let me state the point I'm trying to make here: this is not about whether or not you agree with Joe Wilson or whether or not he said what you're thinking.  This is about having civil discourse and respect.  It's not appropriate to do such things in this kind of manner and setting. Just because you can say something doesn't mean you should.  There's a time and place for that behavior.  During this address was not the time nor the place.  Booing and Jeering is often times expected.  That happens all the time.  During Obama's speech you could hear several Republicans booing.  The same happened to Bush (in which you could hear Democrats booing)... but someone actually interrupting the speech and screaming "You lie!" or something like that (from a single person) is actually unprecedented.  It's never happened before.  Even when Bush spoke to Congress no one ever screamed "You lie!" at him during the address.  There was booing and jeering, but these moments didn't interrupt the speech itself.  And believe it or not, it's considered quite appropriate to boo at certain moments (such as during an applause line).

I know what people are thinking, "Well, the Dems were disrepectful to Bush to so..."  Okay, granted.  You are right.  But does that suddenly mean that Joe Wilson's outburst is suddenly more appropriate as a result?  As Jon Stewart said, "If you don't hold on to your morals when they're being tested they're not morals."  Let me put it this into a hypothetical example.  Let's say George W. Bush shot someone.  The person didn't die, but let's just say Dubya shot the guy deliberately.  It's wrong, is it not?  Now let's say he got away with it.  Now let's say Obama also deliberately shoots someone and that person doesn't die either.  Do we then say, "Well, it was okay when Bush did it, so it's okay for Obama to do it too."  No, you wouldn't.  And you wouldn't go easier on Obama just because Bush got away with doing the same thing either.  So people can toss that out all they want to, but if you're going to throw that out there, you've got to do so in a way that doesn't say, "So really, it's okay for Joe Wilson to be disrespectful."  You don't fight fire with fire.

It's amusing that of the entire speech... of the entire moment, the words "You Lie!" are what stick out the most.  I don't get too political often here on Lunch, but I will say that it really says something about us as a nation when we're believing such bogus lies simply because the guy in power isn't the guy some of us wanted.  We talk so much about Democracy and how great it is.  What we really mean to say is: "Democracy is great... but only when it works the way I want it to."  For the moment the Republicans are the guys who Democracy didn't work well for.  So yes, I'm willing to believe that Joe Wilson did let his emotions get the best of him.

On the other hand, it is nice to know that the Republican party did jump on Joe Wilson and mention that this kind of behavior wasn't approrpriate.  And afterwards Joe Wilson went to where this kind of behavior is better suited.

It's disappointing that after Obama gave his speech talking about a central issue that we all agree needs to be looked at... we're focusing on the five seconds of a guy calling him a liar for the sake of obstructing progress.  I can't reconcile why there isn't much being said about the address itself.  We can talk about the "You Lie!" moment, but it's actually really disheartening that those five seconds are bigger national media than the entirety of the speech itself.

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September 12, 2009
nice opinionated write up. Is there a way or site that shows the health plan so that we can read it?
September 12, 2009
As a matter of fact I've found two places where you can read the full bill in it's entirety.  The first place you can find it is at Opencongress, it's an easy website to navigate and read.  There's also a PDF file you can find here (although it's not as well presented, and it's like 1017 pages long).  For those who are really curious, section 246 is where you should go if you're looking for your answer on whether illegal immigrants will be covered by the bill or not.
September 12, 2009
Thanks, dude! I'll check out those links...
September 10, 2009
hmmm, silly man. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed, although he helped his party look good when they forced him to apologize (as if we believe they really disagreed with his misguided and incredibly vague outburst).
September 10, 2009
I just thank you so much for always covering the political stuff I want to but, only have time to post the Data Points ;p Once again, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I mean come on....how dare you disrespect a President like that. If you disagree, then fine- you do so in person and obviously the Republicans are going to be peeved at the health care reform because it takes more dollars out of their pockets. I can go on forever...but, thanks so much for writing this!
September 10, 2009
Thanks for the comment.  I was actually wondering if someone would make a data point.  I've been working on a review of the speech itself that I hope to get posted later tonight, and now that this data point was posted I can cut some of it down.
September 10, 2009
Glad I can help!
September 10, 2009
Oh and you should link to your Two-Sided Politics review as well....or people can just click on that link ;p
More Rep. Joe Wilson Shouting You L... reviews
Quick Tip by . September 12, 2009
The dems used to boo Bush when he spoke to Congress. Also very disrespectful. Politicians are hypocrites.
Quick Tip by . September 11, 2009
Inappropriate place and time, but all those who say in principal "respect the president", did you feel the same when Bush was in office?
Quick Tip by . September 10, 2009
Rep. Wilson's uninsured Tourettes proves Obama's right! People, how do you fill out a government form (ie insurance) without an SSN or ID#?
Quick Tip by . September 10, 2009
Not classy but represented what many of us were thinking at home. Tell me how are they going to make sure illegals don't have access!!
Quick Tip by . September 10, 2009
The Dem. Rep. for SC is right; this really is an embarrassment to their state.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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From NPR: 

By Mark Memmott

The two words said -- shouted, actually -- in the Capitol last night that are getting much of the attention this morning are "you lie!"

If you haven't heard by now, that's what Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina screamed when President Barack Obama said that none of the health care programs he's proposing would apply to illegal immigrants.

Here's what it sounded and looked like last night when Wilson heckled the president:

Wilson has apologized. "I let my emotions get the best of me," he said in a statement issued shortly after the end of the president's address. "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."

The condemnation of his actions has been broad. And there's some talk on the Hill about Congress punishing Wilson in some way -- perhaps with a censure.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank says "the nation's rapidly deteriorating discourse hit yet another low" with Wilson's outburst.

There's a defense of Wilson, of sorts, from Townhall.com's Meredith Jessup -- who says the look on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's face when Wilson shouted was "my favorite part of Obama's speech."

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Politics, Barack Obama, Joe Wilson


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