Feature

Punishing Joe Wilson

How the House will deal with the South Carolina Republican who heckled President Obama

Rep. Joe Wilson sure did Democrats a favor, said Roger Simon in Politico. Wilson "is the simpleton from South Carolina who shouted, 'You lie!'" at President Obama during his health speech to Congress last week (watch Obama speak while Wilson heckles him). "It is so much easier to debate a resolution condemning his rudeness than it is to agree on a bill that provides health care to all Americans without increasing the deficit"—so Democrats are dealing with Wilson first.

Call it a lesson in etiquette for Wilson, said Naftali Bendavid in The Wall Street Journal. "The most common rebukes for a House member are reprimand, censure, and expulsion," but House Democrats are slapping Wilson with the lighter "disapproval" sanction. That allows them to play down the punishment for Wilson's egregious violation of House rules—and the whole matter will be dropped if Wilson apologizes on the House floor, as leaders of both parties want.

It's too bad for Joe Wilson that the truth is no defense, said William Tucker in The American Spectator. The South Carolina Republican heckled Obama for saying that ObamaCare reforms wouldn't cover illegal immigrants. And while technically Obama's right—illegal immigrants will be legally ineligible—Wilson was the one telling the whole truth, because "they'll get covered anyway."

"Wilson is obviously a bozo," said Michael Kinsley in The Washington Post. But all the phony umbrage over his outburst "is making him more popular within his own constituency, not less so." The man has already apologized at least twice. "Why can't the Democrats be the class act here and just drop it?"

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