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Posted by on Sep 15, 2009 in Politics | 15 comments

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Joe Wilson’s Censure

The House of Representatives may not be able to do much these days to draw praise from this corner of the room, currently having a joint approval rating somewhere in the range of fifteen points below Dick Cheney, but let the record show they can pass something. I mean, they’re turning the health care debacle into a national tragedy right before our eyes, and can’t seem to pass a single piece of paper that doesn’t drive the national debt beyond Carl Sagan type numbers. But today they got together and decided that Joe Wilson’s rude outburst last week deserved a censure.

House Democrats dealt South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson a formal rebuke Wednesday, taking the rare step of passing a resolution of disapproval for his famous “You lie!” outburst last week in the House chamber.

The vote was 240-179, falling almost exclusively along party lines.

As I said at the time it happened on our radio show, Wilson was dead wrong to do that, and needed to apologize. And he did, directly to the President as well as going on television and expressing his regrets. Had he stuck to his guns, slugged a bottle of Mad Dog and continued on shouting insults, he should most certainly have been censured. But he didn’t. All the House did today was show themselves to be a hopelessly partisan body who will leap at any scrap of red meat to score political points, even when it seems destined to backfire on them.

Over at Hot Air, we are reminded of previous speeches on the House floor by Democrats such as Pete Stark. And on a subject related to… you guessed it. Health care.

First of all, I’m just amazed that they can’t figure out– the Republicans are worried that we can’t pay for insuring an additional ten million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you gonna get that money? You gonna tell us lies, like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have the money to fund the war or children, but you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people, if we could get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.

Not exactly the model of decorum, eh? Now, let’s be very clear here. I recognize that there is a difference between what Stark did and what Wilson said. Shouting insults at the President during an address to a joint session of Congress is on another level. We don’t get the same entertainment value from the House that people get from the House of Commons for the Brits, or the legislative bodies of various South American or Asian nations, but there’s always some sharp elbows thrown in the chamber. Still, an apology should really have been good enough.

Who wins in all of this? The censure is, as the linked article notes, nothing more than a slap on the wrist for Wilson. But in the process, he highlighted a nasty loophole in the legislation which Democrats rushed to close after claiming that it didn’t exist, pretty much vindicating Wilson’s ill phrased claim about Obama’s statements. It also drove tons of money into a race next year which otherwise probably wouldn’t have drawn much attention. The Democrats are sliding across the board in polls, with even Harry Reid looking like he’s in trouble next year, and I have a feeling that Joe Wilson will ride this moment in the spotlight to an easy victory, even if the original cause was pretty offensive.

But hey… let’s be of good cheer. The House actually held a vote and passed something!

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