I didn’t watch President Obama’s speech last night, primarily because I was occupied with the family. I was also pretty sure what I was going to hear and, with 2 exceptions, I was right. The 1st was the mention of tort reform I’ve already written about this morning. The other was the outburst of Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) when he reacted to President Obama’s assurances that illegal immigrants won’t be covered under Obamacare by yelling out, “You lie!” or something to that effect.
H.R. 3200 is explicit about this matter: persons in the United States illegally may not apply for or acquire health benefits as described in the bill. So, strictly speaking, the President didn’t lie. However, the bill contains absolutely no measures to actually detect whether an applicant is, in fact, a “person in the United States illegally.” Also in fact, an amendment proposed that would have placed such abilities into the bill was specifically killed by Democrats in the committee in which the amendment was proposed. H.R. 3200’s inability to detect illegals attempting to gain access to the health benefits Obama insists they won’t be allowed access to is an inability explicitly engineered by Democrats in Congress and they’re doing what Obama wants done. So, was it a lie? No. Was it a misleading assertion? Oh, yes. Yes, it was.
Does that excuse Wilson’s outburst? Not a chance. Obama’s own language in the speech – calling assertions that the bill will allow illegals to be covered “lies” and, by extension, those making such assertions “liars” – could certainly be viewed as provoking a response. But a sense of decorum and professionalism on the part of members of Congress should have kept any vocal response from rising to calling the President a liar on national television. Wilson has already apologized for letting his emotions run away with him. Good. He should have. And, you’ll note, that his apology isn’t the non-apology apology that several members of the Left have made into an art form. From an article over at the Huffington Post:
Not long after the speech ended, Wilson issued an apology. “This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill,” he said. “While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.” Wilson also called the White House to apologize.
There’s none of that “if anyone was offended” or “apologies to anyone who might have been offended” nonsense. He knows full well that his actions would be viewed as an offense by any reasonable person and he doesn’t try to mitigate his error. Good for him.
What bothers me the most as I wander the ‘sphere this morning looking at the reactions is the incensed outrage on the Left over this incident and the wider outrage about the reactions of the Republicans as a whole. The general feeling, it appears, is that the Left thinks the Republicans should have either been standing in applause or sitting completely still and quiet during the entire speech. Where were these people the last several years? Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air wonders the same thing and uses the 2005 State of the Union address as an example. If you’re of the opinion that the Republicans last night were acting in an unprecedented manner, as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel apparently does, you need to watch this video and tell me what you think this is all about:
Unfortunately, people on the Left want to keep hyperventilating about this as though the world was born on the day Barack Obama won the presidential election. As Omri Ceren and Michelle remind people, the Democrats were hardly models of decorum in the last administration. Here’s a clip from the State of the Union speech in 2005, when George Bush warned Congress that Social Security was going broke and needed reform immediately. Did Democrats politely listen to the warning? Not exactly. Listen to the boos and catcalls:
The SOTU speech in 2005 was not unique. Morrissey asks the same question I did when I read the first post this morning demanding widespread apologies from the entire GOP side of Congress: did any of those demand apologies from their side for the rudeness displayed in that video? Did any Democrat offer such an apology. No and no. When their side takes decorum toward a sitting president seriously enough to demand better treatment toward a president from the other party, I’ll take their demands for decorum on our side more seriously. Until then, I’ll just note that Congressman Wilson offered his apology in short order and didn’t qualify it. His outburst wasn’t right but his reaction to it has been. I’m satisfied that we, at least, are acting honorably.