The unruly,foaming at the mouth swastika carrying conservatives who turned town hall meetings into a series of freak shows now have a poster boy in congress they can call their own.
Rep.Joe Wilson of South Carolina,not to be confused with Joe Smith of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, embarrassed himself, his family the Republican party and everyone who voted for him in South Carolina when he shouted “you lie” at President Obama over a part of his speech that dealt with illegal immigrants and health care.
Obama had been stating that there was nothing in any health care reform proposal that would provide any health care reform benefits including the public option, to illegal immigrants when Wilson shouted, “you lie”.
The reaction to Wilson was quick and negative. Republicans in the House denounced him. John McCain denounced him. Democrats denounced him. His challenger for his seat in South Carolina raised $100,000 in less than 24 hours after Wilson’s outburst. And everyone agreed he what he said was disrespectful and out of line.
But what is getting lost in all this is that aside from Wilson’s school yard mentality, its not his manners that was the problem. It was his total ignorance and stupidity.
There is nothing in any bill that extends coverage to illegal immigrants. Its a false charge made before at town hall meetings and all Wilson did was show he is better equipped to dribble down his chin and carry signs at a town hall meeting than he is to be a member of congress. His kind of ignorance cant be ignored and its epidemic among Republicans.
It’s one thing to play hard ball politics. It’s another to be so ignorant of the facts that you actually believe the lies yourself.
There will probably be some kind of official censure of Wilson and he has become radioactive in his own party. Just looking at the picture of the two Republicans sitting next to him during outburst, one can tell that both wished they could get as far away from Wilson at that moment as they could.
But Wilson probably did Obama a favor. Nothing Wilson has to say about anything from this point on will matter. He has become effectively a non-entity in the House and now in all probability will lose his seat, either on election day 2010 or before if the Republican leadership sees he has no chance of winning and tells him to resign.
In the meantime he has become the poster boy of Republican dishonesty and/or ignorance on health care reform and it might effectively put an end to any more Republican attacks or lies about what is in the bill. Because the best weapon the Democrats have now to any more talk about “death panels” and “pulling the plug on grandma” is simply to call them another Joe Wilson.