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Was Joe Wilson Wrong To Call Obama A Liar?

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.

57 comments to Was Joe Wilson Wrong To Call Obama A Liar?

  • Way to go Joe. Someone has to stand up to Obama when he’s not telling the whole truth. Has anyone forgot when Bush was in office all the comments that were made during his speeches? Or when Pelosi called the CIA liars? Or have we forgotten that already?

    • Laura

      WHAT are you talking about? No one interruped or heckled Bush during speeches. Pelosi did not call the CIA liars during a President’s formal address to Congress. This was not a debate on the Congressional floor. No one forgot anything. I think you just started making stuff up in your head.

      • “No one interruped or heckled Bush during speeches”
        *******

        I am going to disagree with that. One reporter stood up and threw shoes at his head ;-)

      • MIke

        Their is video footage of bush getting heckled during a congressional speech… Google video for it and you will find it. Nobody yelled out, however the majority of the room was talking over him.
        Also how is Joe a racist for saying “You Lie”. This race card is being pulled on every white person who expresses there freedom of speech. I voted for obama and I am allowed to say good or bad things about his policies. I disagree with many of the things he is doing now. It doesn’t make me racist. I believe in the constitution and it is under attack. Illegal Immagrants will receive healthcare.. THEY RECEIVE IT NOWWW… You think that will change if the plan changes.. NO
        Would a hospital deny a illegal alien who is about to give birth… If an illegal immagrant need medical attention He/she will receive it because its our duty to help people that need it. Some1 is not gonna be like “that person is about to die, but he/she is an illegal so.. let them die” NO people will still help save lives regardless if Illegal or Not… thats why… Obama is a LIAR.. we will give illegals healthcare .. probably forever.. unless we can protect the borders better.

      • gaetano

        Hey laura,If you don`t know the facts,stay the hell off the internet.Bush was booed loudly during his congrssional speeches by the democrats each and every time.Joe wilson did great!! He should have gotten a standing ovation from the republican side. I`ll bet you didn`t notice Big mouth pelosi standing up every time Mr. Obama remarked. Joe wilson told the truth and every one was watching.GOOD SHOW< JOE!!!!!!!!!!

        • ReMarker

          Wonder why some people don’t know the difference between groaning “ooohhh” or mumbling “oh man” or grutting “what the fuck” as compaired to yelling “YOU LIE!!!”, as a President is giving a speech?

          I can tell the difference.

    • Barbara

      Give em hell, Joe! Speak truth to power!!

  • Uh, K, no one in Congress confronted Bush during any of his speeches. That’s the point of this article. Joe Wilson has done the right thing in standing up to authority, perhaps, but he’s chosen a right wing paranoid obsession to get all worked up about. Wilson’s no hero.

  • denise

    He has nothing to be sorry for, freedom of speech remember. It’s about time a R stands up and does the right thing for the people. I would move to S.C just to support him. I know his heart is in the right place. Please don’t back down. Please we need you in our corner. This President is a very mean, hateful person, and I have lost all respect for him and the office of President because of his ways in talking to people, He can talk to his kids that way but not to us. He is a very bad example for a black president.

    • Oh, stop, Denise. Republicans have been standing up and ruining things for too long. My point is only that it isn’t wrong for a member of Congress to stand up and shout when they think that the President is doing something seriously wrong. Joe Wilson doesn’t have his facts straight, but that doesn’t change the general principle.

    • Laura

      “Freedom of speech” does not mean a free-for-all, and we can’t all act like high schoolers in a gym our whole lives. This was not an open debate on the Congressional floor.

      And I have to remark about Obama being a “mean, hateful person” in his “ways in talking to people.” WHAT are you talking about? Do you have any examples? While he said he strongly supported the public option, he also said he was open to other ideas. Sure, how nasty and hateful of him, the tyrant. Riiiight.

      Also, your comment about him being “a very bad example for a black president” speaks volumes about what the REAL issue is for you. I would never have said that Bush was a bad example for a “white” president. How about you?

  • Jim

    A person like Joe Wilson can have freedom of speech and be in his right to exercise it…

    … and still himself be a liar in accusing someone else, still be bearing false witness, still be an embarrassment for baring his ignorance and his bizarre thinking.

    Joe Wilson is right to speak his mind. But he’s still the one who’s lying, still the one who’s wrong, still an outright embarrassment.

  • Joe Carlton

    The fact is, Phase 2 of Obama’s agenda is to legalize all the illegals. He frankly admits it.
    Presto! Six months or a year from now, all the illegals have healthcare.
    It’s a cynical misdirection play, and somebody needs to rub Obama’s face in it.
    Way to go Joe! Thanks for telling it like it is.

    • Jim

      No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t say “I’m going to legalize all the illegals.” And his plan is NOT to “legalize all the illegals.” Get your facts straight.

      • Joe Carlton

        Yes, he does. Obama is 100% on the record in favor of amnesty:

        “Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama today speaking to the National Council of La Raza in San Diego promised amnesty for the more than 12 million illegal immigrants that are living in the United States.”

        “Bringing these people out of the shadows…” is one of this top priorities. It says so right on his website. That means legalizing them, and giving them healthcare.

        Please don’t cloud the air with further lies.

        • Jim

          Anyone else notice the shift? Having been caught, Joe Carlton shifts from “legalize all the illegals” to “100% on the record.” He assumes you will misread his phrase to mean “100% amnesty.”

          Tricky, tricky.

          Also notice the quotation marks without the source? Who is speaking there? Is it Barack Obama? No. Is it a journalist making an impartial report? Look up “Ross Balano.”

          • Joe Carlton

            President Obama lied to Congress and the nation during his speech of 09-09-09 when he claimed “The reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

            The evidence this is a lie is found in countless major news reports indicating that President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) intend to try and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform Amnesty legislation soon, that would legalize millions of illegal immigrants and qualify them for all taxpayer benefits and jobs in America.

            Rasmussen Reports poll released this week indicates that 83% of Americans oppose “government health care subsidies”for illegal immigrants.

            Further evidence of Obama’s lie is found in the FACT that while illegal immigrants are mentioned in HR 3200 as being ineligible for health care benefits, there are no enforcement provisions and Republican lawmaker attempts to amend the legislation and add enforcement provisions have been voted down by Democrats.

            “Under current law, illegal aliens are not supposed to receive welfare or medicaid benefits. They are not supposed to register to vote or have jobs, either,” said William Gheen. “But due to a virtual non enforcement of our existing immigration laws, illegal aliens are stealing American jobs, registering to vote, and receiving welfare and medicaid benefits.”

            • Jim

              If they’re legalized, then they’d become legal, at which point they would not be illegal, because they would have gone through a legal immigration process.

              “illegal immigrants are mentioned in HR 3200 as being ineligible for health care benefits” — um, that’s evidence of Joe Wilson’s lie that Obama’s a lying liar, ya liar.

              • Joe Carlton

                “If they’re legalized, then they’d become legal, at which point they would not be illegal, because they would have gone through a legal immigration process.”

                Precisely. As I said, it’s a cynical misdirection play. Claim that 12 million illegal mexican immigrants won’t get Obamacare. Then legalize them 12 months later, so they all get Obamacare — on your dime.

            • ReMarker

              Btw Carlton, where were you during the Bush years when the violations you claim Obama is responsible for, were being perpetrated? Reminder; Obama has been President for only 7ish months.

          • Joe Carlton

            Here you go… right from Obama’s website, “Organizing for America”:

            Immigration goal #3:
            “Bring people out of the shadows:

            Obama and Biden support a system that requires undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.”

            => Amnesty => Illegals get healthcare

            • ReMarker

              J.Carlton, get a clue. What don’t you understand about the “back of the line”? And that only gives a person an opportunity to become a citizen. After their time comes around (usually years), they must then qualify under the rules and regs. set by the U.S. State Dept.

              Here is a link to some immigration information that may be helpful, assuming, of course, that you can read.

              • Joe Carlton

                Going to the back of the line is a great idea. Here’s an even better idea: Cut off the healthcare and govt. services illegals enjoy today, and send them back to Mexico to wait in line.

              • Joe Carlton

                “After their time comes around (usually years), they must then qualify under the rules and regs. set by the U.S. State Dept.”

                And in the meantime, they’ll remain in the country, sucking down welfare, medicaid and emergency room health care — violating the rules and regs. set by the U.S. Govt. on a daily basis.

            • Jim

              First, what Barack Obama is describing is a legal system, with participants being part of a legal process.

              Second, it’s not amnesty. Amnesty is forgiveness. Barack Obama is proposing something else, obviously.

              Third, individuals could not obtain health insurance under Barack Obama’s plan while holding the status of illegal immigrant.

              Why don’t you show me the part of Barack Obama’s health care plan where people get to participate as illegal immigrants? If it’s so obviously clear that this is the case, surely you can point me right to that part of Barack Obama’s plan?

              You can’t. Instead, you point to something else, throw in the word “amnesty” even though it is not amnesty, and then say KABLOOEY!

  • Sammy

    I think the good GOP are out of control. They operate in fear, deception, and just plan hate.I do not understand why they can’t see the whole world is watching the United States. The republicans can’t except the fact that President Obama is a black man. The Republicians feel and think President Obama can do nothing right. They spread these bad spirits all over the country. They won’t stop until something horrable happens.

    • Bad spirits, Sammy? Like what? Like the demons of interruption? The ghosts of disrespect?

      We can oppose Republican nonsense without going off the deep end ourselves, can’t we?

    • gaetano

      Here we go again, with the race bull sh%%.That word don`t mean anything any more,and it`s getting kind of boring to hear it.We americans have started a new word. Get use to hearing it. PATRIOT

  • bobby

    hes been president only eight months and i dont think the republicans like the fact that like other presidents hes being forcefull in what he wants to do

  • Cyndee

    Joe Wilson was dead wrong! You people know it. I agree with freedom of speech, but he should have waited for the President to finish his speech. No one has ever done disrepected the presidency like Joe Wilson. I am going to fight to get this man out of office.

  • ReMarker

    A lesson to be learned (maybe the most important lesson for the politically naive) from the Bush Administration, is the Presidency of the United States has an enormous amount of POWER. That is as it should be for, arguably, the most powerful country on earth, and I want it to be that way for MY country.

    The Bush Presidency showed us how to minimize the welfare of “we the people” and maximize the welfare of the special interests that gave support to the Bush Presidency. The technique used by the Bush Presidency can accurately be defined as hypocritical deciet.

    From munipulating data for reasons to attack a sovereign nation (Iraq) to the names of presidential initiatives (Leave No Child Behind), the Bush Presidency used hypocritical deciet to secure its policy initiatives. I submit, that technique, is DISRESPECTFUL. It disrespects truth, honor, fairness, intelligence, our willingness to work for the “greater good” of America, among other things that collectively define most Americans.

    Surely, when you say, “It isn’t the job of a member of Congress to be respectful”, you don’t suggest that being disrespectful has a place in positive, progressive conversations. I, among many others, feel strongly that being RESPECTFUL of others is a character trait that helps us be civilized. Please remember our politicians must have and keep enough support to stay in office or the hypocritical decievers will be there.

    There are times in the political life of a person IN OFFICE when just staying there gives value to the greater good. I think of this when people refer to the Democrats as “backboneless”. I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up for “the greater good” (win or lose) in the face of hypocritical deciet. REMINDER: VOTES INSTALL AND REMOVE PEOPLE IN AMERICA’S POLITICAL PROCESS!!! If progressives were choosing ALL our representatives, America would surely have better (not perfect) representatives and be much better than it is today.

    A personal story:
    I had a friend (a Doctor of Phychiatry) that was a Assistant to the Director of Drug Abuse and Alcoholism for the VA, during the Reagan and Bush 1 Administrations. He was the doctor some of our Generals and high level government officials went to for help in dealing with their personal substance problems, among other things.

    One day I asked him WHY he would even work for those guys (we have similar politics) and he said, “be thankful it is me (the doctor) they are seeing instead of someone else. I understood his point.

    One of the reasons I support our current Administration is the emphasis it (the Obama Administration) gives to being civil.

    To repeat; the “ship of state” is large and changing its course is not an easy task, OBVIOUSLY.

    I see many American’s patience is wearing thin. Mine is not one of them.

  • Laura

    I do generally agree with “freedom of speech” for everyone regardless of politics and the right to disagree with the President. However, I don’t think this was the time or place to do that. This was not the floor of a Congressional debate, and it was not a give and take conversation going on right then. This was a speech for the President to address the members of Congress and for them to listen for a listen while. This was a place to act with some civility and decorum.

    My politics are quite a bit more liberal than many people I know, including some of my best friends. However, I fully recognize that there is a need for certain rules of behavior in certain places. Without that you would have a free-for-all wherever you go.

    I believe that doing something like this is virtually unprecedented. I don’t remember it ever being talked about in the news in my life thus far of a Congress member actually yelling out during any President’s speech. I despised Bush more than you can imagine, but I really do not think that I’d agree with any Democratic Congress member heckling him during a speech. We can’t all act like kids our entire lives, and there comes a time to act like a mature adult and control yourself. I think Wilson acted like a high schooler and embarrassed himself and the entire state he represents.

  • Lu Ann

    Way to go Joe!!!!!

  • mike smith

    What do you expect from a flaming right wing redneck? Is anyone really surprised at this type of behavior. White trash.

    • Joe Carlton

      “redneck”… “White trash”… Right on cue, here come the racial slurs. Last time I checked, insulting people based on their skin color was the very definition of racism.

  • Bill Hickcox

    Joe Wilson needs a merit badge for telling the truth.
    Now if he could just stuff soething in Claire McCaskils mouth it would be even better.
    Obama just can’t tell the truth!

  • Joe Carlton

    As if you can prevent illegals from tapping into Obamacare…

    “In November 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187, which requires publicly funded health care facilities to deny care to illegal immigrants and to report them to government officials.”

    Guess what? Prop. 187 was ruled unconstitutional. And that’s exactly what will happen to the clauses prohibiting illegals from enjoying free Obamacare. President Obama knows this, and is having a good chuckle when the cameras are off.

    • Jim

      Hey, guess what, Joe?

      You just admitted that there are “clauses prohibiting illegals from enjoying free Obamacare.”

      Why don’t you write Joe Wilson a two-word letter? The text: “You Lie!” He’s the one who lied here.

      Der.

  • ReMarker

    I think many of the anti-Obama crowd must have some kind of communication link to the subconscious mind of Pres. Obama. They say his thinking and intent, which is typically different from what Pres. Obama does and says.

    How that crowd gets their info is beyond me unless it is in the same way they get info from God. I understand God’s voice is heard in ones sleep, many times. Maybe some think the Word of Truth is heard on Fox news.

    Regardless, they are full of sh*t.

  • Joe Carlton

    Some detailed infofrom CBS News:

    In an interview in July with CBS News, Obama said he didn’t want to include illegal immigrants but indicated that American taxpayers could be required to pick up some health care bills for their children. That’s not the same as all illegal immigrants, which is what Wilson, the South Carolina Republican, was talking about.

    So that brings us to to the House Democrats’ proposal, aka H.R. 3200. It’s true that one portion, Section 246, limits “federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.” But H.R. 3200 is a large and complex bill and Section 246 is limited in scope; the overall bill contains far more moving parts than just affordability credits.

    The Congressional Research Service, the legislative branch’s research arm, took a close look at H.R. 3200 in a report dated August 25. It concludes that the bill’s individual mandate to have health insurance (with tax penalties for non-compliance) would apply to legal residents and illegal aliens alike.

    When the legislation’s “Health Insurance Exchange” offering private and government-run plans would begin operation in 2013, CRS concluded would be no restrictions on illegal aliens buying government-offered insurance: “H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens participating in the Exchange — whether the noncitizens are legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently.”

    Hmmm… Looks like Obamacare for illegals to me. Is that La Cucaracha I hear playing in the distance?

    • Jim

      “Not the same as all illegal immigrants.”

      That’s not the same as what you said earlier today. Are you backtracking?

      Besides, H.R. 3200 is not Barack Obama’s proposal. It’s this pesky thing, the news. You have to pay attention to it.

      It’s not my job or even my volunteery aspiration to defend Barack Obama, as I have a number of policy differences with him. But you, pal, are just throwing shit up against the wall and seeing what sticks. It’s sloppy, it’s inaccurate, and…

      … here’s the thing Joe. Pssst. No, no, really, Joe. I want to help you out here. Pssst. C’mere. I won’t punch you, promise…

      Are we alone? Good. Thing is, Joe, you should make sure you know what you’re talking about before you start huffing. Try getting your facts together, and then CHECK them. Otherwise, it just makes you look bad. OK, now you go over there, and I go over here, and…

      HARRRUMPH!

  • Joe Carlton

    Another juicy tidbit from CBS News:

    If Democrats wanted to eliminate allegations such as Joe Wilson’s, they could simply rewrite H.R. 3200 to say: No illegal immigrant can shop at the Health Insurance Exchange.

    Rep. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, offered precisely that amendment during a House Ways and Means committee vote in July. It said that to “utilize the public health insurance option, an individual must have had his or her eligibility determined and approved” through two existing verification programs already used by the federal government. One is called SAVE, and checks immigration status, and the other is called IEVS, which is used in conjunction with Social Security.

    In a party line vote, Democrats rejected Heller’s amendment. After the vote, Heller said in a statement that: “If the majority party insists on moving forward with government-run healthcare plan, Congress should do everything within its power to curb abuse. Requiring citizenship verification for enrollment would ensure only citizens and legal residents receive taxpayer funded healthcare.” (Here’s a YouTube video of Heller.)

    One likely reason why Democrats shot down Heller is that they’re under pressure from the left to include — or at least not explicitly exclude — illegal immigrants. That would mean rejecting any requirement that applicants’ eligibility as citizens or legal immigrants be verified.

    Jennifer Ng’andu, deputy director of the National Council of La Raza’s Health Policy Project, recently told the Associated Press that she believes any plan without coverage of illegal immigrants won’t last. (Her group is the largest U.S. advocacy organization for Hispanics, especially Mexicans.) “If we don’t talk about integrating communities that have been traditionally shut out, we’re going to be talking about health care reform again in 15 years,” Ng’andu said.

    Well, well. It seems the prohibition against illegal aliens is just a cynical *pose*, because there will be no mechanism to verify an enrollees immigration status.

    Hats off to Joe Wilson, for telling the truth.

    • Jim

      One more time. Say it with me. I’ll spell it syllabically:

      EH – ARR – 3200 – IS – NOT – AN – OBAMA – PLAN. THE – WHITE – HOUSE – DID – NOT – WRITE -IT. IT – IS – ONE – OF – A – NUM – BER – OF – CONG – RESS – ION – AL – DEM – O – CRAT – IC – RE – FORM – BILLS. EH – ERR – 3200 – WAS – WRIT – TEN – BY – JOHN – DING – ELL – OF – MICH – I – GAN. THE – CEE – BEE – ESS – NEWS – AR – TIC – LE – IS – A – BOUT – EH – ARR – 3200.

      GET – A – GRIP.

  • Eli

    After reading this thread I’m really happy to see educated democrats standing up for the truth and not falling silent. When facts and truth are on your side, you should always win the argument. Do not let the title wave of B.S. get you to stop debating.

  • Tonia

    I guess the boos and heckling was ok while President Bush was giving his speech. I remember watching and feeling sick at the disrespect shown to the position of President. I disagree with Mr. Wilsons timing but agree that he is correct in what he was saying. It isn’t very difficult to prove the untruthfulness of Mr. Obama. All you have to do is go back during his campaign and compare them to what he is saying now. Videos don’t lie. And what ever happen to Mr. Obamas promises to bring this country back to unity and working together? I have never seen or read about a President bringing so much division to a country. History proves… where there is division there is failure! Sure hope its not what the future holds for America.

    • ReMarker

      Why give whites a pass and not give non-whites a pass? Is that fair?

      Surely you aren’t saying Bush’s pre-election rhetoric was truthful to his actions in office.

      Refer: Unity
      How to have unity with unfair people?

  • Yes. Wilson was wrong and should be reprimanded for his disrespectful actions! You’re talking about the President of the United States. If throwing a shoe at a President warrants time in the clinker, then this act from a Congressman can not be excused without sanctions either!! Wrong is wrong whether you’re Republican or Democrat!

  • bwill

    It is against the House rules Manual for anyone in Congress to call the President of the United States a liar. He was disrespectful and wrong! No excuses. FOX and all the other racists are dividing the country. It’s a shame. this isn’t the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. This is a new generation that will not stand for the craziness that was the norm back then.

    • Jacob

      Obama in the White House obviously set back race in this country because of all of the idiots who no sling race around for every disagreement. COME ON!!!! White people and black people can disagree without race being a factor! People can even be mean and stupid to each other without race being a factor. Wake up bwill

    • gaetano

      BUT ITS oK WHEN BIG MOUTH PELOSI DOES IT.Shuv you word “RACIST” up your butt.We are sick of hearing it!!!!!!

      • ReMarker

        Ehh, mr. brilliant, Pelosi didn’t refer to race. She refered to the vitriol that is evident in your comment.

        Btw, if people are “sick of hearing it”, refering to “racist” in your comment, then if racist didn’t act like racist, many people wouldn’t accuse them of “it”.

  • qs

    I assume Carter was just bullshitting. He knows what to say to really annoy the right. He seems to like doing it.

    Glen Beck had, in turn, an equally ridiculous reply in retaliation on thinkprogres.com that was pretty amusing too.

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