John Bresnahan has an excellent article about efforts to get Joe Wilson to apologize, including this nugget:
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other Republicans also privately asked Wilson to make an apology on the floor, but he wouldn’t comply, according to GOP insiders.
We’ve reached a stage where the Joe Wilsons and Michelle Bachmanns of the world are more beholden to Glenn Beck and the tea baggers than their own party leaders. The good news is that this weakens the Republican party. The bad news is that it creates a self-contained pocket of complete craziness in Washington that could do a lot of damage under the right circumstances.
I’d say Joe Wilson made a very hard-headed, practical decision. He is a congressman after all. He has to please his local constituents and after some reflection, he obviously believes that he has more to gain by appealing to the foaming-at-the-mouth voting bloc rather than by being civil and conciliatory.
I hope Obama is paying attention. I also look forward to metaphorically punching in the mouth the first pundit or blogger who says that both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for this state of affairs.
Or the [i]wrong[/i] circumstances.
Brick Oven Bill
Apparently, Representative Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, is a Freemason, as evidenced by his recent being awarded that society’s Metal of Freedom. At the awards ceremony, he interacted with Masonic Lodges from Africa.
This makes Representative Wilson the perfect candidate to star in National Treasure III, The Birth Certificate.
General Winfield Stuck
Something like having a rabid mouse loose in the house.
@Brick Oven Bill: I want to be a free mason some day. Honest to god.
This is a great one of those little moments the Republicans loved to use back in the early part of the decade. Get a nutter on one side of the aisle and spend a week running around the press demanding an apology. Then we don’t have to talk about policy anymore, we can just talk about whether shouting during a national televised event is proper ettiquette. (Kayne West, paging Kayne West).
This is terrible news for anyone that wants substance in media discourse (but you people should be used to it by now). Relatively good news for Democrats.
Left Coast Tom
Seems fair enough. Those alleged leaders answer to Limbaugh, after all.
Leelee for Obama
I’m not sure what would be the right thing to do here. I don’t want this yahoo to get martyr status, so my inclination is to get it out of the spin-cycle. I think a better way to handle it is to try really hard to defeat him in 2010. That’s change we can use, right? Anyone think that pushing this out there anymore is a good idea? I’m interested in opinions.
Congressman Joe Wilson had the audacity to speak truth to power, and the leftist campaign to silence the lone voice of dissent in the patriotic wilderness has been brutal, vicious, and inarguably frightening.
This has been indeed been a teachable moment for all Real Americans — especially those who gathered in the millions on 9/12 at our nation’s capital this past Saturday in order to protest against the tyranny of socialism.
[My wingnut’s a bit rusty. How’d I do?]
Well, if that bitch of a wife, Valerie Plame, hadn’t caused all that trouble, there’d be no reason to apologize.
@Leelee for Obama: Let him get Martyr status. To the true believers, he’ll be another Joe the Plumber, valiantly battling the Usurper Xerxes Hitler. To the heretic masses, he’ll just be another code word for crazy.
As Lawrence Wilkerson pointed out in that excellent interview which somebody here (DougJ? JC?) linked to over the weekend… the media loves this sort of shit.
That new Little Bitsy ad is fantastic! I gotta vote again…
I’m not sure what would be the right thing to do here.
I think it’s to censure him. At least, I think that Pelosi and Boehner probably both agree that’s best. They have certain ideas — right or wrong — about the level of decorum that is expected in the House.
Republicans may not vote for a censure motion, but I’ll bet most House Republicans do think it’s a good idea.
Give the guy credit for balls — at least so far. I wish that Pete Stark had had the stones to refuse to crawl after he rightly!! remarked that Bush had started the Iraq war for his own sick amusement.
The best part of this is how it absolutely puts the Republican’s nuts in a vice, which is why the leadership is begging him to apologize. If he does not they then will have to vote on a censure motion that no matter what they do will kill them. They vote for it the base gets pissed at them and you possibly get a primary opponent or depressed turnout of the base at the next election. Vote against it and it will be all over the evening news where it will make it look like the entire party has been taken over by the loons (which it has) which will drive off independents.
could do a lot of damage under the right circumstances.
You mean when one of them gets elected president and decides to nuke San Francisco to defeat the evil queer army? Or circumstances short of that too?
@DougJ: A rewrite –
We’ve reached a stage where…the asses have taken over the GOP.
They seem to be doubling down on the white, mouthy, neurotic vote. While these freaks (and I am being kind) give a bit of energy and a sideshow vibe to an increasingly diminishing GOP, it is hard to see how et al lead to a bigger and better party.
Let’s painfully pretend that the GOP is able to recapture one of the 3 centers of power that it lost since 06. Can anyone explain how they could lead, how they could govern?
Assuming the country survived, that could well be a final nail in the current GOP’s coffin.
They are truely Ben Laden’s gift that keeps on giving.
You mean when one of them gets elected president and decides to nuke San Francisco to defeat the evil queer army?
Yes, something like that.
Obligatory Monty Python sketch.
The line needed ti read:
“it is hard to see howWilson et al lead to a bigger and better party.”
Plausible deniability. Wilson gets to say “I’m being oppressed!”, GOP leadership gets to wring their hands to the media about the loons while substantially doing nothing.
Looked at purely from a cynical, self-and-own-district-constituents point of view, what exactly is in it for Wilson to apologize? Very little, it would appear, unless by not doing so he’s truly risking that enough of the relatively “gentrified” voters within his district who would otherwise be safe votes for him in 2010 will either stay home in disgust or switch to his opponent in greater disgust. And on the contrary, a further formal apology would at the very least highly annoy his core base whom he MUST depend on turning out in an off-year or any other election – cracker wingers who might just be annoyed and cynical enough to support “primarying” the suddenly-viewed-as-milquetoast Wilson, or stay home and allow his democratic opponent to win just this one term, confident they could find a hard-core irredentist winger candidate who could win in ’12 and be far more to their liking.
Yeah, it’s crap that honor and decency aren’t worth so much anymore, but the notion that Southern society supported a superior veneer of civility than elsewhere over it’s many ugly warts and tumors underneath doesn’t bear out so well under examination. Lots of Southern racist cracker politicians were, face-to-face, absolutely delightful peach-to-have-as-neighbor types of folk, and the ones considered patrician conservatives were the ones who most successfully laid the thickest, least easily perturbed veneer of civility over that ugliness (take Lindsey Graham, for example).
But it is what it is, and as much as I think Wilson is a cracker-crazy schmuck whose ilk are dangerously bad for the well-being of the country and people, I’ve got to reluctantly admit that his cynical calculation (parading as principle) is correct on what’s in his own electoral best-interests.
Here’s the thing sticking out for me: that the GOP’s House leader, the Minority Leader, can’t get his own troops to fall in line.
It used to be, even when they were in the majority and they had more moderates to herd into their voting blocs, that the GOP was brutally efficient in getting their backbencher types like Wilson to answer their commands. But if a third-tier nobody like Wilson – someone even a lot of South Carolinians never heard of, and please remind me which committees that Wilson chairs, I can’t recall – is willing to stand up to Boehner, somebody who in theory can make his congressional career a living hell… what does that tell you about the state of the GOP today?
Yup. Boehner has no true power. Meanwhile Wilson is sucking up to the likes of Beck and Limbaugh and the rest of the Fox Fakers.
If I were Boehner, right now I’d be saying “F-ck it, I gotta do my job” and use intra-party discipline to punish Wilson. Then I’d go to Pelosi and tell her “Go ahead, use Wilson like a f-cking pinata” and wash my hands of him. But then again, I’m not Boehner – I haven’t sold my soul to Murdoch, Moon and Sciafe.
DougJ in post 13:
I think you give the Boner far too much credit here. He could give a shit about civility or decorum, he is simply concerned that Wilson’t behavior is going to push the disapproval rating for the GOP even lower.
Hmmm. I don’t know. I worked the Democrat’s booth at the county fair yesterday, and I was surprised at how people perceive this.
I spoke to about 40 people who stopped. One lone teabagger, by the way, who just asked one silly belligerent non-question phrased as a “question” and then sort of slunk away.
Anyway, the people I spoke to perceive this as Obama versus tea baggers and the GOP Congress. Obama. All by himself.
I think the Democrats in Congress have managed (somehow, incredibly) to make themselves irrelevant in this.
I personally think they did this because they were waiting for public reaction before committing passionately and publicly to reform as a concept,
Anyway, the general meme on “reform” was positive.
People were asking things like “is he going to get anything done?”
Of course, I don’t know the answer to that.
I have to agree with Obama though. This is his.
What I’m wondering is this: the GOP/ teabaggers versus Obama is certainly a way to look at this, and people do indeed seem to be looking at it that way, and that may or may not be a good strategy for Republicans, but I have to ask, what is the Democrat’s strategy?
I don’t know that sitting back and hoping for Obama to pass health care, and then deciding whether to take credit for that is a sound strategy.
I don’t even think that’s a strategy, actually.
Personally, I think that the best thing Obama could do for the Democrats is to announce that Wilson made a suitably groveling apology and that the matter was closed as far as he was concerned. Nope, no martyrs in the Republican benches, just them chickens.
Mark your calendars for around October 15, when the FEC quarterlies for Q3 are released. I’ll really be interested to see if Wilson did raise $1million he claims, and if he did, who he raised it from. He sure didn’t get it from the Republican equivalent of ActBlue — he’s at $2,500 there:
Was his office buried in checks sent by Federal Express? Did hundreds of PACs band together to max out his contributions? Or is Joe Wilson lying?
BTW, his opponent has raised $900K from ActBlue, so the claim of $1 million raised for him passes muster:
I can’t help see a downside for Democrats as well.
In a weird way, their outrageous behavior artificially minimizes some the egregious crap constantly being pulled by some of our own. Wilson, Bachman et al, set the bar so low that just being not a Republican is becoming good enough for us. When a crooked Democrat is preferable to even the most principled Republican, it’s bad news all around
@Brick Oven Bill: BoB! good to see you are back on your meds.
What is most telling is that the democrats are pushing for Joe Wilson to apologize while ignoring completely Charles Rangel and Chris Dodd.
Hmm…sounds like newspaper like credibility to me.
I have to go with you on this one.
I have to be honest here — I think it’s time to shut up about this. Censuring a Congressman for behaving childishly? I don’t know. I think Digby’s got a decent handle on it: a President is not a King. Wilson did apologize, almost immediately, as a matter of fact. If he hadn’t apologized, I’d feel more inclined to censure him. As it stands… it seems unnecessary. I guess it feels like something the GOP would do.
Good thing Obama is letting the House leadership handle this, since putting the screws to Wilson is a win-win.
Ah, but despite Obama’s attempt to cut the legs out from under them, it looks like the Dems will be giving Joe the Loudmouth a strongly worded letter.
Well! That’ll teach him.
I saw something about where it supposedly came from. I’ll try to dig it up.
More like Eric Idle’s Anarcho-Syndicalist Peasant from Holy Grail: “Now we see the violence inherent in the system. Now we see the violenc–help, help! I’m being repressed!”.
This is GREAT NEWS for John McCain!
“… a self-contained pocket of complete craziness in Washington that could do a lot of damage under the right circumstances.”
Do you mean before 1992, or do you mean 2000-2008?
is a description of the Reagan administration.
If you’re worried about the crazies taking over the Republican party, you’re 29 years too late.
* assured us that forest fires had created more pollution than all the smokestacks in America.
* used an astrologer to tell him when to make major announcements from the White House press room.
* told the prime minister of Japan that the Second Coming and the Apocalypse predicted in the Book Of Revelations was “not far off.”
* appointed religious crazies to head major government agencies, including a religious fundamentalist who said it wasn’t necessary to conserve natural resources at the Department of the Interior because “Jesus is coming back before that happens.”
* presided over the most corrupt administration in history, with 135 members of the Reagan administration indicted or resigned to avoid indictment.
* assured Americans that the choice “is not between left or right, but between up or down — up to freedom or down to the totalitarian anthill.” And what was the “totalitarian anthill”? Medicare.