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10 September 2009


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The modern GOP: the party of poor impulse control.

Subkommander Dred

Joe Wilson probably forgot he was sitting in the US Capitol, listening to a speech by the President of the United States, instead thinking he was in a Town Hall meeting. Like Preston Brooks, he'll probably get a hero's welcome when he goes back to his home district, so I don't see any sort of sanction for his actions from the voters back home. However, The U.S. Congress can and should censure him. Again, a relatively toothless measure, but it's the least that august body ought to do regading this most ungracious and disrepectful act.

Pete Deer
Charlottesville, Virginia


yes, it's shameful, and my initial disgust has flipped to amusement as i realized obama couldn't have asked for a more perfect illustration of the republican party he has to deal with -- contemptuous of process and the institutions of government -- and not in the least bit interested in negotiating in good faith.

and the resulting contributions ($100k and counting) to wilson's democratic challenger, rob miller, are just icing on the cake.

Nancy K

Maybe Joe Wilson can lead South Carolina out of the Union again (only kidding).
I imagine many in SC are rejoicing just as they did when Brooks beat Sumner. I'm not so sure civility can be taught.

Maureen Lang

Censure is needed for Wilson & his nationally televised public gaff, despite the afterthought forced apology.

He disgraces South Carolinians. They're not all like him, or the other SC mutts who get airtime so frequently.


The worst isn't the fact that Joe Wilson can't control himself.

How could you expect anything different, when many Republican leaders have gone on a two month anger-fueled binge, spouting lies about a "government takeover" of the private insurance system and "death-panels": both blatant lies about health care reform? And all the while giving winks and nods to the birfers and other barely-concealed racists? And have the media lap all this up and only demand more?

One of the best things about the speech was when Obama offered to work with senators to improve his health plan. But not if they were going to lie about it.

He cannot trust the media to properly analyse this discourse. He's going to have to do it himself. Those on the fence or against health care reform would have learned more in Obama's short speech than watching months of TV news coverage.

Patrick Lang


Ah. I forgot to mention that I am not in favor of the "public option."

I would favor federal regulation of private health insurance companies and an expansion of Medicaid to deal with the truly poor.

I know it offends many people to speak of anything European but that seems to work in a number of countries. pl


The backlash has gone viral.

Rob Miller (Joe's opponent) has now raised a quarter of a million. (at 60K/hr rate). Dkos alone raised $100K+. My guess Rob is going to raise around half a million. It is now beyond the reach of natural representative race fund raising capability. This is nation wide backlash.

see statistic here:



I'll take prime minister's questions, which make Joe Wilson look like a schoolboy. Obama is not a sun king -- he's a guy with a job. If you think he's lying, say so.

A little shouting? I wouldn't have thought we would all be so delicate.


It is my understanding that people with employer-provided health insurance would not be eligible for the so-called public option.

The public option, as it is being presented in the several bills pending, is for people who cannot obtain insurance in the private market - for one reason or another (and there are many - beyond simple poverty).

The state of Vermont has enacted something like this for its citizens. The state government has entered into a partnership with two private insurers to get everyone covered at a reasonable cost.

It is truly unfortunate how misinformed people are about what is in the legislation, when the legislation itself can be accessed on-line.

Mark Stuart

I understand that Mr. Wilson's outburst was considered by many as out of place to say the least.
I am not familiar with life inside Congress, but I wonder on what basis? is that on the basis of sheer proper etiquette pertaining to speeches in general or else?

In any case, does anyone see a difference between booing and his outburst? I personally found both rude and uncivilized.

Following the same reasoning, i wonder if the President's supporters couldn't have cut down on the standing ovations?! I found it not only disruptive and a bit much, but their frequency and frenzy made them worthy of parliaments found in dictatorships! Simple rounds of applause would have sufficed in my opinion.



I'm going to throw some cold water on you lot for your tenderness regarding Wilson's shout out. I am an Obama supporter, but I think you take this too seriously. When the PM addresses the British Parliament he is liable to get some lively and noisy response. Is our democracy so fragile?


The prime minister is not head of state. He is a member of the Commons. Obama is head of state and was a guest of the Congress. Pl
Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.


Civility toward the head of state should be easily understood. Pl
Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.


I know it offends many people to speak of anything European but that seems to work in a number of countries. pl

I assume you a speaking roughly about the German model: health insurance is underwritten by private companies but there is a common 'policy' tied to employment, heavily regulated by the government and subsidized for those with lower incomes. Those with higher incomes may then afford 'extra' coverage on top of the common policy.

As with many things, even though the German system looks 'privatized' it's very much dependent upon the German way-of-doing- things. But most importantly, I doubt you could ever implement the German model if the German health insurance companies were in open antagonism with the German state. I am completely sure that, in the U.S., any health insurance regulation will immediately be examined by the best lawyers money can buy for loopholes that allow the insurance industry to continue it's current business practices (aside from the influence they will undoubtably have had in crafting the legislation in the first place.)

For me, the main justification for the "public option" is that it would use the market (rather than the courts) enforce a government mandated standard of coverage (a 'common' policy) It's just an American way of heavily regulating the health insurance industry.

What is amazing to me about the health insurance debate in the U.S. is that American business hasn't come to the conclusion that providing for universal health coverage is in it's own best interest; as if the implosion of GM wasn't enough of a cautionary tale. I think the debate would be remarkably different if more Americans traveled in Europe. Right now, those Americans with the most experience with European culture and society are either in the economic and business elite or the military, neither of whom need to worry about health insurance (for very different reasons.)

Nancy K

I support Universal Health Care in the sense that every American would have access to Health Care. Private insurance when possible and a public option when private insurance companies refuse to cover, drop coverage or make coverage so expensive that a family or individual has to choose between housing and food and health care.
We are not British nor do we have a Parlimentary Gov. My husband grew up and was educated in England and he was apalled at Joe Wison. He agreed that the members of Parliment can be very vocal but they are usually more eloquent than "You Lie". Joe Wilson was not disagreeing with a point, he was demeaning the President of the United States of American.

Kevin Walsh Crean

One aspect that has yet to be commented on is the social signaling of the event. I've spent quite a bit of time in courtrooms, with lots of money on the line and lots of pressure in the air. I've found that the party with the poorest argument often begins to unravel in subtle and not so subtle ways, just before a crucial decision is to be made. I've seen it happen over and over again.

Last night, it was almost as if Joe Wilson had been unconsciously selected by the Republicans to stand up and signal their weakness. (And if you look at Wilson's comments today, he's claiming that the outburst was all but uncontrolable.) In the face of Pres. Obama's even-handed call to rational discourse, the party that fails to control its tone when it objects is done for.

Substantively, Pres.Obama gave a moving, masterful speech. Given the force of that speech and the fact that the healthcare bill is still a close-run thing, Republicans could have positioned themselves very differently--that is, had they not signaled to us, clearly, their own view that they cannot withstand the pressure of a rational debate on the merits. For this, we should be thankful for Rep. Wilson, though he didn't know then, and apparently doesn't know now, what he did or why.


My parents hail from the Palmetto State.
The SC pols are increasingly embarassing to this Republican. Come to think of it, why the hell am I still a registered Republican? Laziness, as they have repelled me during the Bush II financial profligacy. Not that the Dems would have done any better. It appears financial soundness will ultimately be imposed externally. That is a shame.

Duncan Kinder

If we can not be civil even as we disagree, then we are nothing but a mob.

This reminds me of a famous confrontation between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor in the House of Commons.

Astor: "Mr. Churhill, if I were your wife and you were my husband, sitting across from me at the breakfast table drinking a cup of coffee, I would put poison in that cup."

Churchill: "Lady Astor, if I had the great misfortune that you be my wife and I be your husband sitting across from you at the breakfast table, I would drink that cup."


Made as Paid. Consider, http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/can_ind/2009_H2SC02059




Col. Lang,
Civility towards the head of state should indeed be easily understood, but we are talking about a Republican from South Carolina!
With all due respect, saying the British Prime Minister is not the head of state is a pretty fine point to balance on. While it is true that the Queen is actually the head of state her position is nominal, since the PM is the executive power of the government.


Absolute nonsense! Can you imagine a member of the Commons shouting "liar"
at the queen? Pl


Gen Eaton called him out @ Huffpost. He said an ex-military man should know better (paraphrase}.



I am completely sure that, in the U.S., any health insurance regulation will immediately be examined by the best lawyers money can buy for loopholes that allow the insurance industry to continue it's current business practices (aside from the influence they will undoubtably have had in crafting the legislation in the first place.)
That's just silly. Germany has very capable and expensive lawyers who do just what you describe, successfully.

Lawyering wasn't invented in the US. Neither was lobbying for that matter.

R Whitman

Joe Wilson is guilty of just bad manners and lack of respect for the Office of the President of the United States.

On health care. Somewhere between 40 and 50% of the US population are already covered by government health programs. Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Tricare, Military, employees and families of federal, state, local and GSE agencies, prisioners in federal, state and local jails are all covered. Most are very happy with government provided health care. Extending it to the rest of the population should be a "no brainer".

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