Rep. Joe Wilson’s first sin was heckling President Obama in the middle of his speech on health care reform to a joint session of Congress last week. Mr. Wilson’s second sin was being right.
When Mr. Obama asserted that the Democrats’ legislation would not permit health care coverage for illegal immigrants, Mr. Wilson blurted out, “You lie!”
Was it rude? Yes. Were there better venues in which Mr. Wilson could have expressed himself? Yes.
But on the issue itself, Mr. Wilson was armed with facts that Mr. Obama had conveniently swept under the rug: While the legislation does prohibit coverage for illegal immigrants, it also prohibits anyone from checking on the citizenship status of any person seeking health care. When Republicans offered amendments to close this loophole, the Democrats voted resoundingly to defeat them. The net effect would be, as Mr. Wilson inartfully suggested, that those here illegally would be eligible for publicly funded health coverage.
The White House and congressional Democrats knew he was right, of course, which is why they now say they will move to strengthen enforcement of citizenship verification in their legislation.
It’s also why they have tried to obscure Mr. Wilson’s victory by attempting to humiliate him. After his exuberant, if misplaced, challenge to the president, Mr. Wilson phoned the White House to offer an apology, which Mr. Obama promptly accepted. Yet this was not enough for the congressional Democrats, who must pile on Mr. Wilson in order to make folks forget that he was right.
Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, they have staged a delirious passion play in which they have tried to nail Mr. Wilson to a cross of forced contrition. They threatened to drag him to the well of the House, and then spanked him with a formal “resolution of disapproval,” which is the epitome of those bearing the biggest sins throwing the stones.
Since the Democrats suddenly seem so interested in the virtues of penance, here are some others I’d like to see in the well of the House, prostrate before America, begging for forgiveness:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat: for calling President George W. Bush “not honest” and a “loser” in 2005, and for turning his back on U.S. troops by claiming in 2007 that the surge in Iraq “wasn’t accomplishing anything,” and that the war was “lost.”
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat: for defaming the Central Intelligence Agency as a rogue body of liars who “mislead” members of Congress “all the time.”
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat: for failing to report millions of dollars in income and assets on his tax returns for years, despite the fact that as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he’s in charge of writing the tax laws.
Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat: for saying U.S. Marines in Iraq “killed innocents in cold blood,” despite seven out of eight of them having been cleared of all charges.
Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat: for accusing our brave men and women in uniform of “going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women.” See also: Mr. Kerry’s 1971 Vietnam War testimony, in which he accused his fellow troops of committing every atrocity imaginable. See also: Mr. Kerry’s 2006 crack that if members of the military had studied and worked hard, they wouldn’t have gotten “stuck in Iraq.”
Code Pink member Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz: for screaming “war criminal” at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice while pushing her red-dyed hands in Miss Rice’s face during a 2007 House hearing on Iraq.
Now-former Obama administration “green jobs” czar Van Jones: for being a self-avowed communist, for believing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were an inside job, and for calling Republicans a choice profanity.
Select Democrats: for booing and mocking Mr. Bush during his 2005 State of the Union address.
And while the Democrats are at it, they might also demand formal apologies from other rude and loutish individuals:
Serena Williams: for her unsportsmanlike conduct at the U.S. Open last weekend.
Kanye West: for acting like a pompous jerk when he ripped the microphone out of 19-year-old Taylor Swift’s hands in the middle of her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards. This is not the first time Mr. West has behaved boorishly; perhaps he should stand in the well and make repeated apologies. (See Mr. Kerry, above.)
Some of these people, like Mr. Wilson, have already offered apologies for their behavior. But that doesn’t seem to matter much to the Democrats. Perhaps Mr. Wilson should stand before his colleagues with this list and hang his head in shame only when all of the others do.
Something tells me that the well of the House won’t be a very busy place.
Monica Crowley is a nationally syndicated radio host, a panelist on “The McLaughlin Group” and a Fox News contributor.