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Wilson Faces House Knuckle-Rapping for Heckling Obama

Posted on Sep 15, 2009

How much of a backlash should Rep. Joe Wilson endure, and in what form, for his “You lie!” outburst during President Obama’s speech nearly a week ago? Well, on Tuesday, the House was nearing a conclusion about whether to officially admonish Wilson—whatever that might mean.  —KA

Update: The House voted 240-179 to adopt a resolution of disapproval, about as light a slap on the wrist as possible. Wilson, quoted by The Washington Post, said rather sensibly, “It is clear to the American people that there are far more important issues than what we are dealing with now. ... [Obama] graciously accepted my apology, and this issue is over.”

AP via Google News:

The proposed resolution of disapproval against Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina added to the already-toxic atmosphere of partisanship in the House. Democrats said Wilson’s behavior during Obama’s speech to Congress last week was an egregious display of disrespect for the president that could not be ignored. Republicans accused the majority party of hypocrisy and wasting the taxpayers’ time.

“That’s a very serious breach of decorum, and if it goes unaddressed then we will probably see other, worse breaches in the future,” Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said before floor debate began.

But Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, a member of the Republican leadership, countered, “Our economy is struggling, families are hurting. And yet, this Congress is poised to demand an apology from a man who has already apologized. It’s a disappointment to millions of Americans.”

The Office of the House Historian said the resolution, if approved, would mark the first time in the 220-year history of the House that a member had been admonished for speaking out while the president was giving an address. The vote was on a resolution of disapproval, less severe than other disciplinary action available to the House, including censure or expulsion.

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By Bryan, September 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment
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Amazing, all I read is the left calling the right out for making outlandish unsubstantiated statements, truth be told, the left is making extreme statemetns towards the right? There is no reason for name calling, get over it and grow up!

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By Random Items, September 17, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Could we get a nun in to rap his Knuckles?

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By Chris Fretwell, September 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“truth is treason in the empire of lies” Ron Paul

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By Amy, September 16, 2009 at 11:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even if one does not agree with the President, the outburst was so disrespectful, so the rebuke was a good decision.

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By jimsavage, September 16, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Joe Wilson has taken in over $1.7 million dollars for his reelection campaign thanks to the action of the Democrats whose candidate trails substantially.  I am not a Republican but Libertarian and believe that the Democrats historically have been more guilty than Joe Wilson.  According to the rules, their loud noises are a violation.  The rules don’t say approval or disapproval in showing respect in the House.  The President is the one in this instance who first initiated the “liar name-calling” - and the Democrats should use the same standard and rebuke him for his misconduct!  I am sure that will not happen - so Democrats please in the meanwhile continue to fan the fire so the South Carolina voters will be ready to give Joe a landslide victory!  Some of the off-the-wall critics,eg, Jimmy Carter and Maureen Dowd, ought to really hang it up - since they have been out to lunch for so long.

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By jessica, September 16, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I stand by Wilson,he is the one that should run for president I would much rather vote for someone that is real, then a bunch of people in congress that is full of lies and illegal doings.
  You people in congress!How about adressing these people living on welfare that do not need it. We are sick of taking care of people who just live off the system. People in there 20’s 30’s make them pick the blueberries and do the work nobody wants instead of getting people from other countries to do it. If they went without food stamps and welfare checks for a while they will do the work or go hungry.We work harder while you keep giving to people to lazy to work and why should theywork you are so generous with our money! But the working people can not get any kind of help. It is crazy.
  Wilson has a right to voice himself and if it means speaking out on tv to get people to notice what is going on in our Goverment I say good for him.

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By Jason Smith, September 16, 2009 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
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I voted for Obama.  I sincerely and niavely thought that he was going to reach across the party lines and work with Republicans on finding compromises to our nations major issues.  I really didn’t feel that McCain/Palin would do that so I voted my conscience (he lost big time here in Texas, so my vote was only symbolic).  But once he got into power and the democrats got a majority in both houses of Congress he and his cohorts have seemed to ignore that this country is split 50/50 on so many issues.  Just because they have a majority in Congress does not mean they should force their platform down the throats of the 50% of America that disagree with them.  That is very arrogant, and their arrogance will be noted at the next election, just as it was in 1994.

When I watched the speech I was shouting at the tv for half the night.  He was construing the truth at many instances in his speech and spinning statistics his way.  You are mistaken if you really think that illegal aliens will not be given health care if they are dying.  Obama was lying or at least politically spinning the truth when he said that.  I felt Joe Wilson just couldn’t hold his tongue any longer and let go for a split second, saying “YOU LIE”.  It was a mistake, but I was actually proud of him.  The president and his coworkers are ignoring the will of the people right now.  I for one want them to stop and reconsider and start over with both sides compromising on the health care issue.

Finally, I think yesterday was a waste of time.  How much money did they waste by spending an afternoon of Congress’s time to admonish Joe Wilson?  Probably more than I make in a year.  That was actually more wrong than Joe Wilson’s split second mistake.

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By marie, September 16, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It matters not whether I agree with Wilson’s shout out or not. What matters is the fact that if he can do it, then everyone can do it. What chaos we would have if we didn’t follow rules of decorum. Joe Wilson lost his way for a second. We’ve all done that. During a presidential address to congress, shout outs are totally inappropriate. Any more of that, then rules and consequences are going to have to be put on the books.

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By Steven, September 16, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment
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In 2004, Democrats delivered a “Chorus Of Boos” during Bush’s Bush’s State Of The Union when he called for renewal of the Patriot Act. Washington Times.

In 2005, Democrats howled, hissed and shouted “No!” when Bush pushed for Social Security reform in the SOU:  “Foreshadowing the contentiousness of the coming debate, Democrats broke decorum and booed twice,” The National Journal.

At the time, CNN’s Bill Schneider remarked,  “It was unusual. I had never heard it at least at that level before. The Democrats clearly were booing, heckling, saying no when the president talked about the crisis in Social Security.”

And from the article:
“It only happened when this country elected a president of color,” said Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia. Another noted the heckling of the president in the House was unprecedented, and the chamber needed to enforce discipline in order to maintain civility

Wow, before you throw out the race card, maybe you should check to see if this has happened multiple times in the last 10 years!

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By sim, September 16, 2009 at 6:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t agree with some who argue that this happened solely because Obama is Black (or at least appears to be Black). It’s happened because the Right–once arrogant with power, now frustrated at its flaccid impotence–can do little else. As far as precedent is concerned, I am sure that somewhere in this nation’s long and jaded history some Congressman or Senator crossed the line in a way similar to this–perhaps in the months before the Civil War began.

“Thomas Jefferson included in his now-classic ‘Manual of Parliamentary Practice’ a telling passage that reads as if it had been taken from a schoolroom wall. “No one is to disturb another in his speech by hissing, coughing, spitting, speaking or whispering to another; nor to stand up or interrupt him; nor to pass between the Speaker and the speaking member; nor to go across the [Senate chamber], or to walk up and down it, or to take books or papers from the [clerk’s] table, or write there.”

On February 22, 1902, John McLaurin, South Carolina’s junior senator, raced into the Senate Chamber and pronounced that state’s senior senator, Ben Tillman, guilty of “a willful, malicious, and deliberate lie.” Standing nearby, Tillman spun around and punched McLaurin squarely in the jaw. The chamber exploded in pandemonium as members struggled to separate both members of the South Carolina delegation.” (

So, South Carolina is still filled with a bunch of rowdy bigmouths–and let’s not forget they also started the Civil War. That turned out so well for them.

Ancient history, I suppose. But let’s hearken back to June 22nd, 2004, when the President of the Senate–one Richard Cheney, that silver-tongued hate monger, war profligate and profiteer–when confronted with his misdeeds told Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, to “f__k” himself. You’ll remember that day–it was the same afternoon that a Republican dominated Senate passed the “Defense of Decency Act.”

Now we discover that Rep Wilson has profited greatly from his vile outburst–I’ve heard figures as high as one million dollars–and I feel that if the House really wanted to nip this in the bud, it would not pass some resolution (that’s a byword for doing nothing), it should have censured Rep. Wilson and fined him one million dollars. A second proviso should have been that Wilson would never again be seated in a joint session of Congress. He should be consigned to the lobby or the parking lot–or perhaps he should be admitted but seated right in front of Joe Biden (you know, like your 2nd grade teacher did with the bad boys) and the Sergeant of Arms so that the two of them could keep an eye on the unruly hillbilly from South Carolina and remove him if he misbehaves.

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By Henry Rhea, September 16, 2009 at 5:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now let’s see them express disapproval of the President for calling his opposition liars in the same speech. 

Question (actually wondering):  Did Wilson’s outburst of “You lie!” come as a result of general disagreement with what the President was saying, or was it in fact a provoked response to the Presidents charge that the opposition to his health care plans was lying?  Not having seen the speech and Congressman Wilson’s outburst, I’m left wondering what the exact cause was. 

I know that were I there and the President said that a group which included myself who were in opposition to what he was for were lying, then I would feel provoked to coutner the charge myself.  And it just might come out “YOU lie!”  And quite frankly, I wouldn’t feel very apologetic about it.

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By Bryan, September 16, 2009 at 4:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Time to move on, the man did apologize, the President did graciously accept, he was wrong, there is no doubt, stop the name calling and get back to work! Remember the 60’s, “Nobody’s right, if Everybody is Wrong!”. Please stop slandering our Presidents, past and present, it makes all Americans look like idiots to the rest of the world. Be proud of America and our elected officials, all of them. Remember, WE put them in that job.

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By eleano, September 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

what is wrong, with right?
The problem in American politics is the cultural trash coming from southern republican country club politicians. Southern hillbillies are dressing in Brioni suits now. And are activating their civil war frustrated vengeful constituency. And reinforced by this ant federal inbreed constituency are displacing secessionism toughs to give credit to their asinine hold in power
Southern republican dont tred us WE ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !!!! THE MAJORITY !!!you repub are only a noisy irrelevant noisy bunch ...nothing at all that is why you litle bunch loose the election.

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By jimsavage, September 15, 2009 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

What is new is that the Democrats have guaranteed Wilson’s reelection in South Carolina.  When they give Wilson that attention, the SC voters generally are very proud of one who stands up to that bunch. Can you imagine that he upset almost all the Democrats and almost none of the Republicans.  It is called politics.  Wilson is a Republican and must be an effective one to get the Democrats that upset!  What gets me is that Obama started the whole thing by calling those who opposed his plan LIARS and that was what caused Wilson to counter “its a LIE.”  It is a BS double standard that the Democrats are so blind that they can’t see that they created a hero to the South Carolina people. Polls (not conducted by the Democrats) show that Wilson has gained the strong approval of the people for Standing up to the Big Liar Obama.  Thanks Joe for calling him what he is.

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By Rickq, September 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“In my view, by apologizing to the president, the most important person in the history of the world, that applied to everyone,” Wilson said.

Yes, but this does not absolve you from apologizing to your peers.  However tilted the Congress, you need to reconcile with them.  They “have your back” “they determine your effectiveness based on assignment”.  National dog catcher, while important, does not reconcile with your ambitions.

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By Carolinajay, September 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wilson picked an inappropriate time for his outburst; however, it is extremely difficult to hold one’s tongue when you know the person speaking is lying. Obama and his liberal cronies based the entire 2008 campaign on lies.  Wilson did apologize and Obama accepted. This should be the end of the story.  Congress needs to move on, quit acting like children, and get to work!!! We just don’t need another distraction!! How about all the mean-spirited things that libs have said about G W Bush and ordinary citizens??? They had better clean up their own act!! That goes for Obama too!!! When Obama won, we all lost.  We need to replace the liberals in Congress.

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By me2u, September 15, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No mention on about @corn for 5 days.  I thought only justice was blind…I guess the media is too!

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By msg mi, September 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rep. Joe Wilson represents the modern era of GOP neo-conservatives who respect nothing except their ideological inhibitions. Their mantra is party first at the expense of the good for the country.

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