Friday, September 11, 2009

Fire the liar

At the moment, there’s probably no more despised Republican than Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Congressman who yelled out “you lie” as President Obama delivered a speech to a Joint Session of Congress. Well, the lunatic fringe loves him, of course, but the reality-based community doesn’t.

I now live in a parliamentary democracy, and I’m used to hearing elected representatives shout at the Prime Minister, but one can’t get away with shouting things like “you lie”. But such outbursts are unprecedented in the US Congress: In eight long years, no Democrat EVER shouted abuse at George W. Bush. Democrats didn’t shout insults at Bush the First, they did not shout at Ronald Reagan. For that matter, Republicans didn’t heckle Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton.

For the record, Joe Wilson couldn’t possibly have been more wrong. The healthcare reform bill before Congress specifically states that illegal aliens cannot receive government-funded healthcare. Wilson continues to say that the bill will pay for illegal aliens. Joe? YOU lie.

Wilson also published an op-ed column repeating the Republican canard about “death panels”, which is also utter nonsense (and apparently coined by a Republican who lobbies on behalf of the healthcare industries). That’s been thoroughly debunked so, um, Joe? YOU lie.

So, the pro-Wilson reaction from Republican media commentators and performers on TV and radio is not just obviously and completely wrong, but hypocritical. Perpetuating lies and distortions, and doing so in order to prop up a Republican Congressman who repeas lies and distortions means that they’re lying for a liar.

A clear positive affect of all this is that since Wilson’s self-created disgrace, his Democratic opponent, Rob Miller, has raised more than $600,000 from angry Americans. With luck, this will lead to political oblivion for Joe Wilson.

And that’s the truth.

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