In a move dripping hypocrisy, Democrats in the House are poised to introduce a floor resolution today to condemn Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for his outburst during the President’s health care speech to a joint session of Congress last week.
After a long litany calling those opposing government-run health care “Liars,” the President claimed in his speech that millions of illegal aliens would not be covered under the Democrat scheme, despite the fact that amendments to every bill were voted down by Democrats in committee that would have specifically required proof of citizenship to sign up. An incredulous Wilson shouted “You lie” from the House floor in response — an involuntary burst of truth — as uncivil as it may have been.
In 1801, Vice President Thomas Jefferson wrote the first American book on parliamentary procedure, “Rules Governing Conduct and Proceedings.” The House formally adopted Jefferson’s manual in 1837. Under the rules, among other things, members are not allowed to call the President a liar from the House floor. The manual doesn’t specifically address the circumstance of the President calling members of Congress liars during a joint session speech in the well of the House. Likely Jefferson thought a person elected to the highest office in the land might naturally possess a certain level of decorum when invited to speak in the People’s House.
Prompted by party leadership, Wilson called the White House immediately following the speech and offered an apology to the President for his behavior. He also apologized in writing. The President accepted his apology the following morning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) declared at her weekly press conference the day after the speech, “It’s time for us to talk about health care, not Joe Wilson.”
Wilson’s actions were focusing uncomfortable attention on the fact that illegal aliens were not barred from signing up for the government-run healthcare option in the Democrat bills. Joe Wilson was right.
Yet Democrats are now insisting that he apologize again, this time from the House floor, or they will introduce a Resolution of Disapproval admonishing Wilson.
Wilson has refused to apologize yet again. Republican leaders are backing him up.
“Rep. Wilson has apologized to the President, and the President accepted his apology,” said House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) in a statement. “Last Thursday, Speaker Pelosi said that she believed it was time to move on and discuss health care. I couldn’t agree more, and that’s why I plan to vote ‘no’ on this resolution. Instead of pursuing this type of petty partisanship, we should be working together to lower costs and expand access to affordable, high-quality health coverage on behalf of the American people.”
The resolution is purely political and has literally zero impact on Wilson’s powers and authority as a member of the House of Representatives.
In 2005, particularly upset by his re-election, Democrats openly booed President Bush in the House chamber during his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress. During the Bush presidency, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Ca.) and Pete Stark (D-Ca.) each called the President a liar while giving actual speeches from the House floor.
The Wilson outburst hardly begins to approach the level of vitriol hurled at Obama’s predecessor.
You won’t often find me defending anything to do with the Bush administration (either of them) but the vile rhetoric from Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media aimed at Bush was unprecedented in scope and scale — including a film suggesting Bush’s assassination and a Guardian columnist desirous of a Lee Harvey Oswald or a John Wilkes Booth materializing to end Bush’s presidency. I must have missed the outrage from Democrats then.
In August, the arrogant Democrat leadership called their own constituents Nazis, angry mobs, phonies, right wing extremists, Astroturf, brown shirts and un-American, to name just a few of the slurs. Where’s the resolution condemning the Democrat leadership on behalf of the American people?
Speaker Pelosi called the CIA liars, saying they had willfully and with malice of forethought misled members during intelligence briefings. If CIA principals lied to Congress during those briefings, it’s a federal crime. Where’s that resolution? Where’s the investigation, for that matter?
Speaking of Investigations
The investigation into House Ways & Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has been limping along now for a year with no discernible progress.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), secretary of the House Republican Conference and a former judge, led a Special Orders hour of remarks from the House floor last night again demanding accountability from the House majority for Rangel’s admitted violations of tax law.
“While the credibility of this body is being destroyed by the double standards of the Speaker and the administration, and the confidence of the American people in the integrity of the House of Representatives is at an all-time low, Democrats jump through the ceiling over an inappropriate verbal outburst while ignoring blatant law-breaking by fellow Democrats.”
Carter also noted that the hubbub over Wilson yelling “He lies” — right after the President called Republican objections to his health bill “Lies” — as indicative of the Democrats’ skewed priorities.
“The Speaker has failed to police the House,” Carter said. “The IRS has failed to enforce the tax code. The administration has shown contempt for the rule of law itself by consciously ignoring the self-admitted law-breaking of Chairman Rangel and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, through refusing to hold them accountable to the same standards as ordinary taxpayers. The glaring conflict of interest of the IRS commissioner having to answer to a tax evader who would be ineligible to work at the IRS based on his tax violations is intolerable in any nation that respects the law. And the only response of the Democrats to this massive corruption is to jump on Joe Wilson for a floor comment.”
Democrats appear completely oblivious at this point to the reality that surrounds them: approval ratings in freefall, public outrage over the growing size of government and the trillions in spending and people speaking out against the government takeover of health care by the millions at town hall meetings and in tea party protests around the country.
Mercifully, the clock is ticking.
Johanns Amendment Prohibiting ACORN Funding Passes Senate
ACORN employees in Baltimore were caught by a hidden camera giving tax advice that included ways to evade paying taxes while getting a loan to covertly open a brothel for underage South American sex trafficking victims (you can’t make this stuff up). Other covert tapes have surfaced from Washington, D.C. and New York City locations that include more questionable practices. These videotapes have resulted in employee firings at the ACORN offices and the formal severing of partnership employment ties with the group by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Now, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) has offered an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill in the Senate which would bar the group’s federal funding. The amendment passed late yesterday afternoon by a vote of 83-7 with nine Senators not voting.
The amendment still has to survive the conference that will reconcile the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill and final votes on the conference report. Stay tuned.