Monday, September 14, 2009

You Lie. I'm sorry

Joe Wilson (R-SC) interrupted the President's speech on health care to a joint session of Congress with a shout of, "You lie," when the President said that illegal immigrants wouldn't be covered by his proposed health care reform.

Wilson's outburst was shocking, ill-mannered, and way out of order. After the speech he promptly apologized--not one of those "I'm-sorry-if-you-misinterpreted-my-remarks" type of pseudo-apologies, but a real one.

"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.

Game over? An emotional outburst followed by an apology and a statement by the President accepting the apology as sincere?

Not so fast. The House Democrats (and some of the liberal commentariat are demanding a second apology on the floor of the House, thereby demonstrating that they can behave worse than Wilson. They're also restoring Wilson's reputation, making him a hero to the right for his outburst.


Edward Stern said...

It may be burdensome, but not unreasonable, to require Congressman Wilson to apologize to the House of Representatives. He apologized for his insult to the President, and was forgiven. But, by insulting the President at a joint session of Congress, his behavior was an embarrassment to all of the members (at least) of the House. He should apologize for that offense. Of course, he is free to call the President whatever he wants, when the President is not his guest.

Judith Ellis said...

Hmm? If I was sincerely apologetic I wonder if I would be on Youtube saying that President Obama did lie when in fact it was Joe Wilson's statement that was untrue. Hmm? If I was sincerely apologetic I wonder if I would be signing pictures of the photo which displayed such disrespect to the President of the United States, the Congress, and the people of the United States. The man who threw the shoes at President Bush did not only disrespect the president but the people of the United States as well. I was deeply offended and angered and wrote about it. It did not matter that I vehmently disagreed with the Iraq war. Congressman Wilson did not only disrespect the president and the his office, he disrespected and offended the American people.

An apology to the Congress, which is the House of the People, would have been an apology to Americans. Congressman Wilson has been officially rebuked. He chose the rebuke instead of an apology. He was asked by the leadership of both sides to make an apology on the floor and he forthrightly refused. That was his choice. But ask me as someone who was offended by his words and actions which action would have made me feel better. The apology would have been a balm. The rebuke was important but it does nothing to heal the sharp disappointment I and many Americans personally felt by his words and action.

Bob said...

My esteemed correspondents are of course correct: Wilson was wrong, and ought to apologize. He has, but another apology or two wouldn't hurt.

But the Democrats! They had the high ground with Wilson on the bottom. Now, by dismissing his (pretty good) apology and demanding more they are like the little kid who explained that the other guy started it.

Wilson was wrong. The Democrats are wrong to exploit his mistake, and horrible to ascribe it to racism.

Judith Ellis said...

Bob - I listened to Congressman Clyburn (D) South Carolina on the floor this afternoon and there did not seem to be a reason to "exploit" Wilson in the very least. Did you see the debate on the floor? I did and thought Congressman's Clyburn's response most genuine.

Do you think President Carter had an alterative motive to exploit Congressman Wilson when he spoke tonight in an interview with NBC of the prevailing racist tone and images emerging? I didn't think so at all. What would he gain from this? He's an honorable man.

I wrote a piece this morning after listening to Mark Williams, a leader of the Tea Party Movement. I imagine that it will not meet with your approval. But here it is anyway: Being a Teabag Party Leader