You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

EDITORIAL: Joe Wilson’s war

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Democrats pushed through a resolution yesterday rebuking Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, for breaching House rules when he shouted "You lie" during President Obama's Sept. 9 speech to Congress. This was nothing more than a cheap political stunt based on cynical, race-baiting politics.

Mr. Obama accepted Mr. Wilson's apology numerous times, and the tift should have ended there. Instead, House Democrats have used the war of words as an opportunity to play the race card. Rep. Hank Johnson, Georgia Democrat, accused Mr. Wilson of instigating racist sentiment and argued the rebuke was necessary to stop people from,"putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside intimidating people." So much for the post-racial politics Mr. Obama's election was supposed to enshrine.

Yesterday's rebuke ignores the history of the House floor, which long has been a rancorous place, particularly in the 19th century before the Civil War. In those days, brawls were not unheard of and members even challenged one another to duels outside. Member outbursts during presidential addresses are nothing new. In 1950, Republicans heckled President Truman after he admonished their opposition to a tax increase. Many of the same Democrats who rebuked Mr. Wilson booed down President George W. Bush during his 2005 State of the Union address.

Before yesterday's vote, Mr. Wilson told The Washington Times that vengeful Democrats were ignoring a theme of Mr. Obama's speech, which is the need for bipartisanship. "If you apologize to the leader of the free world, whom I have respect for, that is sufficient," the congressman said. "The president was very clear in that speech that we should stop playing politics, yet what the Democrats are doing is playing politics."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been outmaneuvered in this game because rebuking Mr. Wilson has kept the controversy alive -- and the facts don't justify Democratic umbrage. Mr. Wilson's accusation that Mr. Obama was lying was a reaction to the president's claim that Republican opposition to government health care is based on lies and falsehoods. If the congressman deserves a rebuke for lowering the level of political discourse, so does the president.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts