Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Shout in the House

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson was formally rebuked on Tuesday by a vote in the US House of Representatives. No matter what else he does in life, Rep. Wilson will always be know for shouting "You lie!" during Obama's speech to Congress on September 9th.

While I don't agree with Rep. Wilson's views on health care reform, I don't think a Congressional rebuke was necessary.

I think of his shout as an analog "micro-tweet." It was more an interjection than an interruption. Unlike the protesters at some of the recent town hall meetings, the representative did not prevent the President from finishing his speech. He merely interjected a two-word tweet.

And it doesn’t stand up to fact checking.

So, I’d leave it at that.

Sure, it was rude. Sure, a grade school kid would know better. And I and most rational folks wouldn’t want to set a precedent of encouraging anyone to interrupt a speech because of a difference of opinion.

But he knows what he did. He apologized to the President. His actions have been judged in the court of public opinion (not to mention the late night comedy circuit).

Most think he was out of line. A minority applaud him. These are folks who don’t like the Obama Administration and like the idea of someone “putting to him." I say the rebuke only makes him more a martyr for their cause. The rebuke may be counterproductive and energize the opposition to reform.

Most importantly, the whole issue of the shout and rebuke is a major distraction from the debate over the important details of reform.

So, let’s put the Shout in the House in the past and let's get on with a civil discourse where all opinions are heard on this important topic of reforming health care!

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