Friday, September 11, 2009

Late to the Joe Wilson Party

It is difficult for me to get very exercised over the Joe Wilson outburst during President Obama's speech on health care the other night.

"You lie!" is not actually a very novel accusation to make in Washington politics these days. That same accusation, or forms of it, has been a great seller when emblazoned on political paraphernalia. T-shirts, coffee mugs, banners, name it and the words "Bush lied!" have been printed on it.

So, we know that it isn't the words chosen that pushed this incident onto the front pages of newspapers across the country or dominated the political airwaves.

Heckling, while I feel it is not appropriate in the chambers of Congress, is far from unprecedented. The 2005 State of the Union address by President Bush was roundly booed by many democratic members of Congress when he discussed the future insolvency of Social Security during the speech. That heckling too was a major point of political discussion over the days following the address, but I do not recall any one member of Congress being singled out for doing the booing. I guess there is safety in numbers when it comes to booing presidential speeches. I also do not recall any member of Congress apologizing for losing it at that time while in those hallowed halls.

Wilson, however, quickly apologized for losing control during the speech. This is good, though not good enough for those who cannot remember 2005 and have forgotten about all those political t-shirts they have neatly folded in the dresser at home. For the record, Wilson is not backing down necessarily from what he said, but for his chosen venue.

How about this solution...from now on politicians can call each other names, assassinate each other's character, can market the accusations, and can even try to make political points when the other side does the same thing while gasping at the outrage.

Just dot't expect people that can remember more than a couple years back to get all that bent out of shape over it.

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