It isn’t easy to upstage the President of the United States when he’s delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress. But Rep. Joe Wilson managed the feat 10 days ago, when he blurted out, “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s pitch for his healthcare proposals.
Legislators from both sides of the aisle were quick to jump all over the Republican congressman from South Carolina for his rudeness. Katon Dawson, the former head of the Republican Party in South Carolina, opined, “If Joe’s mother or father were alive, they’d take him to the woodshed and whip him for bad manners.”
Before the night was out, Wilson had been pressured to call the White House to apologize. Not content that Rep. Wilson apologized directly to the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her cronies demanded he also apologize on the House floor. When he refused, they voted 240-179 to "disapprove" his actions. Ah well, at least it distracted them from spending a few billion more of your tax dollars for a day or two.
By the end of the day last Thursday, Rob Miller, his opponent in last year’s election, reported that he had received some $400,000 in contributions from 11,000 donors to help him defeat Wilson next time around. Wilson promptly announced that he too had received a big chunk of moola from patriots who want him to stay in Washington. Looks like next year’s election in that district will be mighty interesting.
Lost in all of the hullabaloo were two things worth mentioning: First, Wilson’s outburst paled in comparison to the treatment President George W. Bush received on numerous occasions from his Democrat opponents. There were times during George W.’s State of the Union speech in 2005 when there were so many jeers, cat-calls, mutterings and murmurings it was difficult to hear what he was saying. Anyone remember the liberal media expressing its outrage then?
But my second point is far more important: For all of his impoliteness, Wilson was telling the truth. Obama wasn’t.
Wilson’s outburst was in response to the president’s claim that nothing in the Democrats’ proposals would lead to federal funding of healthcare for illegal immigrants. Wilson knows something most Americans don’t: Liberals in Congress have defeated every single attempt by Republicans to put such provisions into law. Of more than 20 such amendments that were introduced in the past year, not a single one has been allowed out of committee.
No wonder Wilson was so upset. He knows what’s really been going on behind those closed committee doors. He knows Obama was playing fast and loose with the truth. And so did everyone else in the House chamber that night.
I wasn’t surprised by all the blatant falsehoods in Obama’s speech. For me, the tone was set in the first five minutes, when the president told the assembled lawmakers, “I am not the first president to take up this cause. But I am determined to be the last.”
That may have been great rhetoric. The assembled Democrats obviously thought so, because they gave the president an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Yes, it might have sounded good. But it wasn’t the truth. And everyone listening to the president knew it.
Is there anyone anywhere who honestly believes that the government’s role in providing healthcare for the public will no longer be an issue when President Obama leaves office? That no one on either side of the aisle—Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative—will ever introduce new legislation to “improve” whatever system Congress agrees to during Obama’s tenure?
Give me a break. This debate will continue until long after your great-grandchildren have collected their last Social Security check. Obama knows that. So does every member of the House and Senate who sat through his speech that night. And to pretend otherwise is nothing short of political duplicity. (That’s a more polite way of saying, “He lies!”)
Another obvious fantasy in the president’s address was his claim, “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future—period.”
Let me see if I’ve got this right. Under ObamaCare, some 40 million Americans who currently do not have health insurance will suddenly get coverage … and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime? Does anyone believe this?
I was amused to hear the president say that one reason his plan would be more efficient is that the government-run program, unlike private insurance, wouldn’t have to make a profit. Nor would it have to pay all those expensive executive salaries.
Has anyone anywhere found one example of a government-run program that is more efficient than private enterprise? Anyone? Anyone?
It’s hard for me to believe that any adult American could be so gullible as to believe this. What I do believe is that a majority of Congress will pretend to believe it, knowing that a bunch of their constituents want it to be true. (Or, far more likely, don’t care if it is or not, so long as they get all those “free” benefits they’ve been promised.)
Another misleading remark in Obama’s address was his claim that “no federal funds will be used to fund abortions.” Did you notice that not a single pro-abortion legislator (who as a group are probably the most outspoken extremists in Congress) said anything in opposition to this part of Obama’s speech?
That’s because they know the fix is in. Despite repeated efforts by pro-life legislators, not a single proposal to put this into law has been approved in Washington. No matter what Obama says now, the pro-abortion crowd is confident that whatever legislation is finally approved, it will include a provision requiring that so-called “public option” health insurance covers abortions.
Finally, let me say a few words about the part of Obama’s speech I found the most offensive. That was his “my way or the highway” attitude. He accused talk radio hosts, cable news and conservative leaders of deliberately spreading falsehoods. He wants you to believe that everyone who opposes his plan to nationalize medical care is lying.
There was not a word of criticism for the attack dogs on the left, such as House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who called opponents of these plans “un-American.” Or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who labeled those who disagree with him as “evil mongers.”
After denouncing virtually everyone who has disagreed with him, the president then said, “Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together.” The amazing thing to me is that no one laughed out loud at the hypocrisy of such a statement.
As every conservative on Capitol Hill knows, there has been absolutely no effort to include them in this debate. Their ideas are not welcome—and neither are they.
To say that conservatives and libertarians have never offered any constructive suggestions about healthcare is a flat-out lie. Anyone who cares can check out proposals on “How to Insure Every American” by Republican Representatives John Shadegg and Pete Hoekstra. Or the very sensible ideas for health-care reform by John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Whole Foods. Or the detailed analyses and proposals from the Cato Institute, Reason magazine, the Heritage Foundation and a dozen others.
Republicans haven’t been included in negotiations on Capitol Hill for months. House Speaker Pelosi has shown nothing but disdain for those who disagree with her. Nor is it any different at the White House, where conservatives have been locked out of discussions on healthcare since early spring.
While he says he wants bipartisanship, Obama means he wants opponents to sit down, shut up and go along with his proposals. He seems determined to use the Democrat majority he enjoys in the House and the Senate to ram through the most drastic reorganization of healthcare this country has ever seen.
He doesn’t want to debate, he wants to dictate. We’re about to find out if a majority in Congress will let him.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.