Joe Wilson: A champion for truth.
Joe Wilson: A champion for lies.
We were afforded a glimpse into just how immature and even out of touch with reality the Republican Party really is when President Obama delivered a speech last night on health care to a joint session of Congress. At the point when the president tried set the record straight about misconceptions (Read: corporately-generated lies) about the health care bill and said that no one was proposing health care for illegal immigrants, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted, "You lie!"
In short, the President sought to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress and instead was treated like a Democratic congressman at a town hall infested with astroturf wingnuts. Such people must have been in attendance in Arizona and New Hampshire when the president hit the road to drum up support for his health care proposals yet it's also telling that for the most part, the second amendment fanatics aside, President Obama generally got a fair and respectful hearing. The American people, regardless of political ideology or their stance on health care reform, recognized the dignity of the office of the presidency.
The Republicans who were clumped together like overcooked rice had other ideas, as these pictures attest:
It's hard to know where to start: Wilson openly heckling the President, Republicans openly embracing an easily-proven lie, the irony of Republicans heckling a Democratic president while lambasting Democrats for the same thing when Democrats booed George W. Bush during joint session speeches four and five years ago or Republican lawmakers acting with even less maturity and restraint than astroturfers and tea baggers. The difference, as Politico's Glenn Thrush should've had the sense and the balls to say, is that Obama was telling the truth while Bush was spouting lies about Iraq and Social Security.
It's encouraging to see that there was condemnation of Wilson's disrespectful outburst and had immediate consequences. He was publicly condemned by Obama's presidential rival John McCain. Wikipedia had to shut down its editing option for Wilson's entry on account of "vandalism." And Wilson's own official congressional website has been taken down "for maintenance." And Democrat Rob Miller, who's running against Wilson in the upcoming midterms, received about $40,000 in campaign contributions minutes after Wilson's outburst. Plus, Wilson was forced to "apologize." (Update: Mr. Miller's campaign is now up to over $913,000. Go join the party.)
So there's been some comeuppance but it never should have come to this. Undocumented immigrants will not be covered and even Democrats have never suggested they be. At best, they will be treated in "uninsured pools" including hospital ER's. Statutes in the health care bill also prevent health care providers from screening out illegals from citizens and nationals by inquiring about citizenship status.
The Republican Party took a black eye and a fat lip last night and rightfully so. Even when Democrats heckled Bush in 2004-5, they didn't stand up and call him a liar, even though they should have. To stand up and say that during a speech, conduct that would get any of us tased, ejected, arrested and brought up on charges, borders on sedition.
This is your Republican Party, folks, and they have nothing to offer but lies fueled by hysteria over losing campaign contributions from HMO's and Big Pharma and dividends on their stock holdings in the health care industry. And pure, undisguised contempt for a black president who's actually becoming a better friend to their corporate interests than even Bush ever was.