Boy oh boy, things have gotten pretty ugly in Washington. As most of you have probably heard, many of you live as it happened, a Republican House member last night shouted "YOU LIE" at President Obama during his speech on health care reform.
The crude response was met with boos from the left and stunned faces on the right. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina certainly put himself on the national map with his outburst, but earned the scorn of both sides of the political fence in the process, despite his comely, savage tan. He issued an apology, something about his emotions getting the best of him, which was accepted on the President's behalf by Rahm Emmanuel. Seems like Obama wasn't really in the mood to chat with Wilson afterward.
Josh and I were talking about it this morning over a cigarette (I try to look cool while Josh smokes). Yelling out things like this is a long-standing tradition in the halls of Parliament, but it's pretty frowned upon here in the United States, where civil discourse is generally strived for, at least in theory. We both found it ironic that Bush wasn't called out like this over an eight year span by those who felt he told more than one lie regarding the war in Iraq, and Obama gets smacked down during his first eight months in a speech on making affordable health care available to all Americans.
Chances are Wilson will be vilified politically and praised by the likes of the Limbaughs and O'Reillys for "being brave enough to stand up for Americans," or something like that. As for his claim that Obama lied about illegal immigrants receiving the same benefits as American citizens, we can only check the facts. Factcheck.org is a good place to start, and here's what they had to say about it. CNN's "truth squad" chimed in as well.
So that's that - a new low has been reached in Washington and while Obama's speech has gotten good marks from the left, it seems that we're just as divided as ever as a country. It's a shame that the issue of health care reform, above all others, isn't one that we've been able to come together on yet.