Is Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” Worth a Reprimand?

Before this day is done, we’ll know if the House of Representatives cares as much about decorum as the US Tennis Association.

Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress is the issue at hand. Wilson apologized, just like Serena Williams did for her outburst at the US Open. Question is, are apologies good enough?


House Democrats apparently don’t think so, at least not some of them. Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement last Thursday that it was time to move on, there are those who think stronger action is needed. Wilson’s colleague from South Carolina, Rep. Jim Clyburn is one of them. He believes that Wilson’s outburst is part of a larger agenda. That is, to delegitimize Obama as President.


The congressman has a point. After all, if you can shout at a president during a speech, doesn’t that legitimize the tea parties, the birthers, the people who call Obama a Nazi?

Wasn’t Joe Wilson speaking for them? In less than a week since Wilson’s outburst, “You Lie!” t-shirts are turning up. Right wing gasbags on television and radio have turned handstands trying to kiss up to this guy.

Why? Because, like the fake controversy over Obama’s speech to school kids, Joe Wilson is the wind beneath the right’s wings. Whether he apologizes on the house floor is irrelevant to them. He’s the poster boy for all they believe about this President. Most of them wouldn’t agree with Barack Obama if he was giving the Congressional Medal of Freedom to their mama. By way of nuance, I don’t agree with everything Barack Obama does or says. Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s recent trip to New York City reminded me that his position on health care reform is a lot closer to mine than the President’s is. Ramping up troop strength in Afghanistan isn’t what I’d do if I were in his shoes. I could go on, but here’s the important part. I respect the office of the President of the United States. I did when GW Bush held it, and I do now.

The Joe Wilsons of the world apparently do not. Not at least when someone they disagree with is the most powerful person in the world. Wilson himself says one apology is enough, and that he won’t apologize a second time on the House floor. For that, a resolution of disapproval is certainly in order.

Hey, congressman, you said it in front of your colleagues, now say sorry in front of the same group. As they say in the Bronx, “Act like ya got some respect!”

What do you think? Should the House pass a resolution of disapproval against Joe Wilson?
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