It’s old news now: though I didn’t care to watch Mr. Obama’s speech last week–and it apparently proved to be exactly what I thought it would, justifying my decision to ignore it–Rep. Joe Wilson made headlines by shouting “you lie” at a point in the speech. Thoughts:
1. Joe Wilson was right. The President did lie–as he has been at points during this entire healthcare debate. The President has been fundamentally dishonest in his approach to this issue. My friend Bob Robinson catalogues some of these. Bob also, by the way, lists some of the inaccuracies in the Republican response. I’m not convinced, by the way, that Bob’s first comment, that Obamacare would not cover illegal immigrants, will prove to be true in the end. One of the things that has characterized this debate is that the Administration and its apologists have effectively lied by telling the truth: no, nothing in Obama’s plan will force people to give up their current insurance–but that begs the question. If Obamacare is enacted with a “public option”, many small businesses will opt to cease offering insurance as a benefit, turning that responsibility and expense over to the government. If the Administration and its liberal cronies don’t understand this, what business do they have running my country? And if they do, they’re lying. What’s the truth? Well, the problems with this Administration–and they are myriad–don’t include being stupid…
2. The President called many of us “liars”. He spoke of mischaracterizations and misrepresentations, and while there have surely been some, there are a lot of truths that the Democrats find to be “inconvenient truths”, and label them “lies”.
3. President Bush was treated rudely by the Democrats.
4. That doesn’t deny the reality that Joe Wilson was wrong. To his credit, he said so in an apology, and to the President’s credit, he graciously accepted the apology. The Democrats complain about the poisoning of political discourse–largely ignoring their own massive culpability–but Wilson was certainly a doofus for providing them ammunition (more on that in Part II), and a bigger doofus for doing it in the first place. Conservatives need to set the pace for constructive engagement, fact-based debate, reasoned argument, considered conversation. His outburst ought have no place in the conversation.