There’s a great deal of outrage being expressed at U.S. Representative Joe Wilson over his shout during Barack Obama’s speech before Congress last night. When Obama said that health insurance reform would not pay for illegal immigrants’ medical care, Wilson yelled, “You lie!”
People are saying that it was disrespectful for Joe Wilson to shout like he did at the President. Is it necessarily a bad thing, however, to be disrespectful?
It isn’t the job of a member of Congress to be respectful. It is the job of a member of Congress to represent constituents’ needs. I don’t agree that obsessing about the small chance that a few immigrants might benefit from health care reform is a good way to represent constituents’ needs. Still, Joe Wilson does, and given that he does, wasn’t shouting out during the President’s bully pulpit time a politically powerful way to get his own message across?
I wish that, when George W. Bush was President, the Democrats in Congress had shown one fraction of the backbone that Joe Wilson exhibited last night. The Democratic Congress was so distracted trying to show how respectful it was that it failed to assert its constitutional power to check the President.