I love Joe Wilson. Again! Which sets me up here and now to make sure a critical distinction is made. Joe Wilson is not Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador whom I really do love for the devotion and fiery outrage he’s displayed in nonstop defense of his wife, outed CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame. The other Joe Wilson, by contrast, seems more like an inhabitant of Superman’s Bizarro World.
But make no mistake, I heartily celebrate him nonetheless! This Joe Wilson may not necessarily be the Evil Twin of Plame’s husband. But he indeed is the newly crowned, self-appointed hero of the politically deranged. As such, these are ironically some of the very folks who would certainly stand to benefit most of all from Obama’s efforts to clean up the health care mess and make insurance coverage more widely available and affordable. I was outraged, of course, while watching President Barack Obama’s Wednesday night speech to a Joint Session of Congress, to see Congressman Wilson loudly blurt “liar!” WHILE Obama was speaking. This thoughtless pipsqueak brought shame upon himself, his constituents in his 2nd district in South Carolina, and to the entire Republican Congressional delegation.
The Second District, according to Wikipedia, is located “in central and eastern South Carolina. It includes all of Lexington, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale and Barnwell counties; almost all of Richland County and parts of Aiken, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties. It is based in the state capital, Columbia; other major cities in the district are Beaufort and Hilton Head Island.”
The benign, smiling face in Joe Wilson’s official representative’s portrait is lightyears distant from the GOP Gargoyle-du-Jour he became on the night of Obama’s speech. That signature candid of Wilson rudely interrupting the President, pointing, mouth agape, having just formed a loud and hugely inappropriate diss of the President, will live in both infamy and on the internet.
I couldn’t be more delighted. Thank you Joe Wilson, for voluntarily becoming the angry, twisted, insolent face of the Republican naysayers, “NO-bodies,” and assorted nattering nabobs of negativity (hey, this fellow is becoming one BIGTIME inspiration – I’m getting totally carried away here)! Mr. Wilson, you’ve just birthed a poster child for all those folks who insist on creating ugly, out-of-control displays and tantrums on your side of the fence. Makes our job that much easier! Plus, while you’re busy dining on crow all the following day, your Democratic opponent, Rob Miller, has spent the morning digging out from under an avalanche of fresh new campaign donations – estimated at least double the stated hundred-thousand-dollar goal.
I’m certain the flip side has been left mumbling “say it ain’t so, Joe!” for what may be several news cycles in a row. Joe Wilson accomplished something rather impressive. Suddenly, the GOP was knocked off its stride yet again, while already reeling on the heels of a vigorous and impressive speech by Barack Obama. Just what they needed to put a cherry on top of their PR offensive (an even more relevant term now) was for one of their own acting like a cretin to draw attention to their stubborn incivility and lack of willingness to work with the President.
Certainly many of them were hardly innocent themselves. Plenty of them were busy with texting, waving papers and leaflets, harrumphing loudly, and other rude stunts during the speech when they were supposed to be paying at least some attention and showing respect. Thanks Joe! Now THAT’S leadership. Outstanding example to set. A REAL family value! You ALL must be so proud. The whole sordid display reminded me of a TV commercial for a local men’s clothing store in which the spokesman says – “you’re gonna like the way you look.” So, Republicans, do you like how you guys look now?
Evidently not. The next day, cable TV was awash in uncomfortable, hesitant, embarrassed Republicans trying to dial it back a notch. Whether it was an uncharacteristically warm-fuzzy Michael Steele commercial, or self-styled firebrands Eric Cantor and John Boehner turning the volume down on the verbal punches they were now delicately trying to pull, these political WWF combatants seemed extra defensive. Even some of the pundits were more circumspect. Washington Post contributor Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC noted that if any Democrats had behaved that boorishly when George W. Bush was speaking, there would have been Seven Levels of Hell to pay.
Objectively, this is not what the “’loyal’ opposition” needs as its members keep trying to throw banana peels into Obama’s path. They’re still hoping to make the face behind the Oval Office desk – and not the faces they see in their own bathroom mirrors – look bad. But, not surprisingly, they overreach, throwing too many banana peels on the pavement, leaving plenty available for them to slip on, too.
The marginally-penitent Congressman offered an apology following across-the-board condemnation. That’s mighty big of you, Joe. Almost as big as your mouth. Or the hole in your head. For all I know, they’re interchangeable. Doesn’t matter. The damage, thankfully, has been done. You’ve unintentionally knocked your own forces off-message, Mr. Wilson, giving your side a very messy bloody nose by behaving like a swine. I hope the Democrats and pro-Obama/pro-health care reform groups take full advantage, because this kind of break doesn’t happen often. The GOP just loaded and gassed up a battle-ready battering ram, and handed the Democrats the keys. Here’s hoping the Dems know how to drive it – through every kind of terrain.
Contact Rep. Joe Wilson via Web Form.
Washington, D.C. Office:
212 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-4002
Phone: (202) 225-2452
Fax: (202) 225-2455
Beaufort Office: (more district offices)
903 Port Republic Street
Beaufort, South Carolina 29902
Phone: (843) 521-2530
Fax: (843) 521-2535
West Columbia Office:
1700 Sunset Boulevard (US 378), Suite 1
West Columbia, South Carolina 29169
Phone: (803) 939-0041
Fax: (803) 939-0078