So, if you haven't heard, then I'd like the location of the rock you've been living under the past 24 hours. Joe Wilson, the Republican Representative for South Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, showed that you can't get a shouting, throaty yell anywhere else except in the south.
During last night's Congressional Address by President Obama (wow, there's a lot to capitalize in a political post), while addressing the myth about providing healthcare to illegal immigrants, Representative Wilson yelled out "You lie!" a couple of times when the President announced illegal immigrants were ineligible for health care. Now, Mr. Wilson has made a minor name for himself for being a bit of a crap thrower when, in 2002, during a debate with his opponent Bob Filner, he said Filner had a "hatred of America" and is "viscerally anti-American."
If this had been a random outburst that would be one thing, but this summer has been plagued with right-wing nut jobs yelling out at town halls, refusing to allow speakers to even attempt a dialogue. (Like this, for example.) Media outlets like Fox News' Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, politicians pandering to the right-wing, and other Republican wannabe dilettantes like Rush Limbaugh have been catering to this fringe, giving them more sound bites and spinning misinformation into a summer full of horrible scare tactics like Death Panels that want to kill grandma. This outburst would have been a mild, nearly humorous inconvenience if we weren't in the middle of trying to convince the tea-party-right-wing fringe that Democrats are not out to get you, and Obama is not a Nazi.
This outburst most assuredly is costing Mr. Wilson some points (and, turns out, over $100,000 in donations), but I think he's probably ok with that. This is exactly the kind of thing that a Republican politician - or any politician really - will keep in his political back pocket for those times when he wants to cater to his right-wing constituency. Should there come a time when public opinion becomes rather negative, if not any more than in his home district, towards the President, he'll pull this stunt out with phrases like "I was the only one to stand up and say something," or "I spoke what I truly felt," etc. These are the kinds of things that made Obama President in the first place, right? Wasn't Obama one of the first individuals to speak out openly against Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2002? Sure, he didn't yell out at the President during his congressional address, but he used his opinion and publicly noted vote to his advantage when the tide turned anti-conservative.
This may be a man we, sadly, need to watch out for. Though, for now, he'll spend a few days in the dog house. Unless, of course, he's stupid enough to try to parlay his media attention into a talk show a la Mike Huckabee.
Love and Lyte,