As the House prepares to censure Wilson …
posted at 10:12 am on September 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
The House will prepare a censure for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his interjection during the speech by Barack Obama last Wednesday in a joint session, “You lie!” After waffling on the issue for a couple of days, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a vote to publicly punish Wilson for his bad manners. However, this doesn’t exactly look like a winner politically, especially since Wilson’s interjection wound up exposing the lack of enforcement on citizenship in the ObamaCare system:
As early as Tuesday, House leaders could bring to the floor a resolution of disapproval aimed at Mr. Wilson, though the timing is uncertain, said a House Democratic leadership aide who described the issue as one of conduct, not speech.
“Congressman Wilson’s outburst during the joint session was a breach of decorum and brought discredit to the House,” the aide said. “It is common for members to address such breaches themselves rather than force action by the full House. Failure to respond would mean consent for that kind of conduct.”
Mr. Wilson’s critics cite his conduct as evidence of a deteriorating political climate and some are trying to use it to argue that the Republican Party more broadly is anti-immigrant. On Tuesday, a group of religious leaders is holding a prayer vigil calling for an end to what they describe as “hateful rhetoric.”
I do think that Wilson should not have interrupted Obama’s speech and was right to offer Obama a direct apology, which Obama accepted. However, Democrats now want to overplay their hand by claiming that a charge of lying is tantamount to “hate speech”. If so, as Gateway Pundit points out, Democrats did nothing to restrain their own member from engaging in similar “hate speech” in 2007, during — of all things — the debate over the expansion of S-CHIP:
I actually live-blogged this debate at Captain’s Quarters when it took place in October 2007. At the time, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from Stark. Raw Story has the entire transcript (emphases mine):
First of all, I’m just amazed that they can’t figure out– the Republicans are worried that we can’t pay for insuring an additional ten million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you gonna get that money? You gonna tell us lies, like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have the money to fund the war or children, but you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people, if we could get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.
This bill would provide health care for ten million children and, unlike the President’s own kids, these children can’t see a doctor or receive necessary care. Six million are insured through the Children’s Health Insurance Program and they’ll do better in school, and in life. In California, the President’s veto will cause the legislature to draw up emergency regulations to cut some 800,000 children off the rolls in California and create a waiting list.
I hope my California Republican colleagues will understand that if they don’t vote to override this veto, they are destroying health care for many of our children in California.
In the previous job as an actor, our Governor used to play make-believe and blow things up. Well, [the] President and Republicans in Congress are playing make-believe today with children’s lives. They claim we can’t afford health care. They say the bill will socialize medicine. Tell that to Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley and Ted Stevens, those socialists on the other side of this capitol. The truth is: [The] CHIP program enables states to cover children primarily through private health care plans. But, President Bush’s statements about children’s health shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up… in Iraq, in the United States, and in Congress.
I urge my colleagues to vote to override his veto. America’s children need and deserve health care, despite the President’s desire to deny it to them.
If “You lie” qualifies as “hateful rhetoric”, then Stark’s lunatic rant should qualify for a gold medal in the lympic event. Did Democrats, enjoying the first year of their majority, vote to censure Stark for calling the President a liar — or more egregiously, for claiming that Bush enjoyed seeing Americans and Iraqis die for his “amusement”? No, although Stark did get a warning from the presider after Republicans complained repeatedly about his insults.
If Pelosi wants to censure Wilson, then she has unfinished business from 2007 to attend first.