Raving Joe Wilson : The Pride of South Carolina!

Graphic by Larry Ray / The Rag Blog.

Move over, Mark Sanford:
Joe Wilson gets South Carolina ‘Jackass Award’

Wilson made a beeline out of the House chamber immediately after the end of the President’s speech. He must have had a political epiphany and decided to apologize…

By Larry Ray / The Rag Blog / September 10, 2009

When Hugh de Veaux Wilson and Wray Graves Wilson looked at their newborn that July 31, 1947, they knew he was destined for national recognition. They named him Addison Graves Wilson, Sr., but everyone just called him Joe. The crescent moon in the South Carolina flag was his teething ring as he started a career as a conservative Republican. As a teenager he worked on Congressman Floyd Spence’s campaign, and later as as aide to segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond. Joe is a product of South Carolina, and became a U.S. Congressman to represent his state in 2001.

And he did make history last night, stunning a jam-packed joint meeting of both houses in the House chamber as well as millions of TV viewers as he bellowed “You Lie!” as President Obama was delivering his major address on health care reform.

Good old Joe made history because as far as anyone could determine, no one had ever exhibited such crass disrespect for the President of the United States during a presidential address.

Shouting out a crude epitaph in a routine session of the House of Representatives is grounds for a formal reprimand. So what was Joe thinking?

Not quite a year after Joe Wilson became a congressman, during a September 2002 debate on going to war in Iraq, Wilson called Congressman Bob Filner “viscerally anti-American.” During the debate, Filner suggested the United States supplied chemical and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein and Joe exploded that Filner had a “hatred of America.” Joe said later that he “didn’t intend to insult Filner.”

White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, was sitting just a few rows in front of Congressman Wilson when he hurled his insult at his boss, the President. Emanuel reportedly made it very clear to Republican leaders that the congressman doing the shouting be identified and issue an apology immediately, noting that “No president has ever been treated like that. Ever.”

Wilson made a beeline out of the House chamber immediately after the end of the President’s speech. He must have had a political epiphany and decided to apologize, just like he had to fellow congressman Filner, by calling the President, to maybe again say “I didn’t mean to insult you.”

Rahm Emmanuel took the call and accepted Joe’s apology on behalf of the president. A formal letter of apology was hastily issued from Wilson’s congressional office but it clearly shows Joe’s wrong-headed hubris. While the letter apologized for “a lack of civility,” it also pointed out that, “While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate…”

This is actually a classic example of the “flipped conservative lie” where a clearly established fact, is ballyhooed to constituents back home as being just the opposite. It is classic GOP “government is lying to you so we gotta fight this” political trickery.

“While I disagree with the president’s statement…” is Joe’s way of continuing to maintain the President is lying to you because Joe wants so badly to believe that his real lie, instead, is true.

In this case the President of the United States was categorically clearing up a totally false Republican claim that illegal immigrants would be provided free health care under a new health care reform bill. Joe’s ingrained demagoguery automatically made him shout “You lie!” For that instant he forgot he was not in a chummy, fired up town hall meeting in South Carolina, but that he was seated among his peers and his president was debunking a large Republican lie.

So, lets look at this. The president unambiguously declares that the illegal immigrants free health care rumor is false. Joe says he “disagrees” with the president… meaning that somehow Joe is convinced the illegals are going to get free health care no matter what the president or anyone else says. That Barack Hussein Obama is the president, calm, collected, and much bigger than a sputtering, defeated southern white man might be part of what is going on here.

A hometown blog, Carolina Politics Online, reporting on their congressman’s ugly and universally condemned outburst, simply asked:

“Did y’all hear Congressman Joe Wilson stand up and yell ‘You lie!’ to Obama tonight when he said illegal aliens won’t get covered under government health care? It was clearly audible on the television and it made the Dalai Bama pause for a second or two. It’s already hit YouTube. The look on Pelosi’s face is priceless too.”

Yeah, we all heard it, millions of us, and so did your “Dali Bama.” In fact, we’ve all had more than an earful of “Carolina Politics.” Your romance novel, philandering governor holds the South Carolina Jackass Award. Y’all also got all that rumor-mongering betting Governor Sanford’s GOP buddies will not impeach him out of fear of putting a supposedly gay man in his place. That is hard to top, but now Congressman Joe calls the POTUS a liar, in prime time, and takes top jackass spot for a while. Y’all are in a big steamed up glass house. Time to quit throwing rocks, and worry about our country’s real problems don’t you think?

FOLLOW UP: People wanting to leave their thoughts about Rep. Joe Wilson on his Capitol Hill web site are getting this notice after clicking “Contact Us.” Joe really connected with America it seems. And lots of them would like to have a piece of his red neck.

[Retired journalist Larry Ray is a Texas native and former Austin television news anchor. He also posts at The iHandbill.]

The Rag Blog

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13 Responses to Raving Joe Wilson : The Pride of South Carolina!

  1. Paul says:

    Joe Wilson from South Carolina, is just another good old boy where in the morning these married men preach to you that there should be prayer in our schools and in the evening they are on their cell phones setting up a date with their other women on the side, hypocrisy has been bred in. I am not surprised that he felt compel to yell like he was at some Friday night game. He is a hater not a debater like most of his side of the isle.

  2. Joe Wilson didn’t “just lose it!” He thought that his brazenly insulting the President would bring cheers from constituents and his GOP colleagues. Unfortunately (for him) he misjudged and by playing the macho high-school-Harry-hero, he accomplished what we all previously thought to be impossible: he embarrassed the fascist nitwits on the right side of the aisle – infront of the entire WORLD! You can be sure that he was immediately brought to heel and forced to make a speedy “apology”.

    Make no mistake, guys like Wilson DO NOT admit their mistakes or apologize unless compelled to do so by a higher force which they respect out of fear . . . that’s probably Boehner.

    As for his lapel pin last night: he was wearing a standard size Purple Heart medal n a manner which is absolutely NOT IAW with uniform regs (or wasn’t during my 30 years in service). The only people whom I have seen wearing standard size medals so improperly have been those who neither earned nor respected the medal. Those who earned them know that there are less ostentatious mean of displaying thisd honor AND are expected to know what is proper and what is not. Could this tasteless display be fraudulent?

  3. Wilson was in the U.S. Army Reserve in the early 70’s, then in the National Guard for years till he retired as a Colonel, which he plays to the hilt for political purposes. Closest he ever got to an injury might have been pulling a muscle opening a heavy law book.
    He has no notable decorations, and no purple heart that is listed anywhere. Being a Colonel and calling his Commander in Chief a liar just adds to the depth of disrespect he showed. America’s real danger is in having career politicians like this knot head having a say-so in crucial matters facing our country.

  4. Pollyanna says:

    Well, apology be damned, the news today (9/11/09)says Wilson has raised TWO HUNDRED THOUAND DOLLARS in spontaneous contributions since his assholic action!

    This cross between Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber will be heard from again, I betcha!

  5. Fed Up says:

    “Contributions” from whom? Isn’t anyone tracking this stuff…after the way the Republicans manipulated the book best seller lists, you’d think someone would be on this one.

    In any case, the fact that the Republican Party is engaging in an open blitzkrieg on the President and the Democrats indicates they seek to destroy the only other legitimate political party in the USA. Think about that a moment, folks. Think about what they are really after…because without two parties, you have ONE party, and if its Republican, you can bet it will be fascist.

  6. It’s highly unlikely that the GOP, working alone, could ever eradicate the Democratic Party, but they don’t have to work alone. We’re helping them! If the GOP is the “Party of No”, then we are certainly the “Party of Roll Over and Play Dead”. We allowed the R’s – led by the two fat fascists of the far right, Limbaugh and Turd-blossom Rove – to demonized the word & concept of “Liberal”. Our reply to these despicable demagogs was limited to: “OK! No problem. We’ll be Progressives now. Is that a right with you? We’re sorry for having caused you the trouble.”

    But this is about Joe Wilson: His was an outrageously rude miscalculation. His racist, juvenile, Highschool-Harry outburst was a transparent play for applause from his constituents and his silent (during the speech) right wing-nut colleagues, but it backfired on him. He embarrassed the GOP in front of the entire world. True, he did apologize quickly after Obama’s speech but you can bet your ass that it was on account of his having been brought sharply to heel by House GOP leadership. Guys like Wilson DO NOT apologize unless forced to do so by raw power and real threats.

    But did you see his lapel pin? It looked like a standard size Purple Heart Medal that he’d stuffed into a buttonhole , and if so, it was both improperly and ostentatiously displayed! My experience (E1 to 05 in 30 years, USN & Viet Nam Campaign Medal w/4 stars) is that anyone who disrespects a high medal in such a way probably did not earn it. . . probably bought it from a widow at a yard sale. But assume, for argument, that he did earn it. . : under what circumstances? John Kerry had three (or was it four?) Purple Hearts and you see what the wannabe’s did to him in 2004!

    How ironic it would be if Wilson’s alligator mouth were to have overloaded his tadpole ass with a verified charge of improperly and/or fraudulently displaying this honorable award during such dishonorable conduct.

  7. ….and Joe's opponent, generated even MORE $$$$ – I think Joe shot himself in the foot!

  8. dospesentas says:

    I hear lot’s of unsubstantiated claims, little fact. One fact that did escape everyone is that Wilson had a point. But let’s not discuss healthcare specifics in the debate on healthcare, instead let’s discuss irrelevant side issues and exercise our partisanship.

    Why have all the committees in the house and senate refused to include specific wording that bars access to the healtcare benefits by non-citizens? Why is there wording in HR 3200 that specifically bestows benefits in legal terms to non-citizens? Why are there no provisions in any of the proposals to verify citizenship status as a requisite to recieving benefits? All these FACTS lend credibility to Rep. Wilsons charge and contradict Obama’s claim.

    Think about it.

    “When China stops lending and all the rich are taxed into poverty, who will fund our ‘dependent society'”

  9. Sherm says:

    Remember that Joe Wilson led the charge in trashing the African Amereican woman who turned out to be Strom Thurmond’s illegitimate child. That bit of information should settle the debate about whether his comments were racially motivated.

    I wonder if his comment was not orchestrated by the same people who are behind the Tea Baggers and hysteria at Democratic tgown meetings. In any event, his remarks and the silly debate about whether to condemn his action has taken public attention away from the points the President made in his address.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How quickly we forget the Democrat ‘boos’ during Bush’s state of the union address. Evidently boorish behavior is o.k. when it’s being done by a gang or members of your chosen party.

  11. “Anonymous” used past boorish behavior by legislators to justify Joe Wilson’s outburst last week, but past boorish behavior by others NEVER justifies my rude behavior today. Further, there are degrees of ill-mannered behavior ranging from mild to despicable. A good example was Joe Wilson’s outburst last week: ill-timed, rude and contemptuous as it was, it transported Joe and his remark clean down to the lowest level of “common and ill bred”.

    As for implying that Obama deserved what he got because a group of legislators booed Bush in years past, let’s try to keep things in perspective: Bush, Cheney & Co. lied us into an unjust war in Iraq for which we essentially abandon the arguably “just war” in Afghnistan. His actions shot us in the foot internationally, caused hundreds of thousands Iraqi deaths and drove millions into refugee status, for whom the USA has effectively done nothing! (Judging from the Bush Administration’s heartless efforts to assist displaced Iraqis, you’d think that they were our own refugees from Katrina . . . but I digress.) Skipping over to the economy, he turned a giant surplus into a gigantic deficit, he oversaw the degeneration of our banking system & economy, he made clear headway in efforts to turn this nation into a Orwellian police state . . . essentially, he fiddled as Rome burned.

    Obama, on the other hand, is black – I advisedly and grudgingly avoid the more dramatic “N” bomb – and he’s trying to make health care affordable for almost 50,000,000 un-or-under-insured citizens of the USA.

    So what am I missing here?

    As for the veracity of Joe Wilson’s remarks: Any person, legal or illegal, is presently guaranteed three things in an American Emergency Medical facility – access, stabilization and discharge – and thus it MUST remain! My understanding is that Mr. Wilson professes to be a “Christian”, but by implication he would deny a bleeding Mexican the a few stitches necessary to save his life or a pregnant, laboring Guatemalan woman a safe delivery. What about an Rwandan with a particularly virulent strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis? Talk about a stupid, short-sighted hypocrite!

  12. dospesentas says:


    “Anonymous” DIDN’T “use past boorish behavior by legislators to justify Joe Wilson’s outburst”. Read the comment, it doesn’t say that (or any of the other nonsense you make up to demonize Wilson), he/she is simply pointing out a double standard. I agree past behavior doesn’t justify it today. The greater point is: Was Wilson’s claim true?

    Another falsehood is; “he turned a giant surplus into a gigantic deficit” – WRONG! Do a little research. There has NEVER been a surplus, giant or otherwise in our lifetimes. The surplus you claim was ‘projected’ and never came to fruition. Here’s the national debt/annual deficit amounts for the Clinton years from U.S. Treasury:
    FY1994 $4.692749 trillion/$281.26 billion
    FY1995 $4.973982 trillion/$281.23 billion
    FY1996 $5.224810 trillion/$250.83 billion
    FY1997 $5.413146 trillion/$188.34 billion
    FY1998 $5.526193 trillion/$113.05 billion
    FY1999 $5.656270 trillion/$130.08 billion
    FY2000 $5.674178 trillion/$17.91 billion
    FY2001 $5.807463 trillion/$133.29 billion

    When you make false claims it undermines your credibility. If you want to demonize spending, then demonize Obama as the projected deficit during his term is over $4 trillion (and that’s ignoring stimulus, TARP, health care reform and assumes no additional catastrophies or wars). Obama will increase the national debt far more in 4 years than Bush did in 8. Got any problem with that?

    You chastize Wilson for not being ‘Christian’, because he (supposedly) opposes giving free health care to non-citizens at the taxpayer’s expense. If you truly belive in and hold these Good Samaritian, Christian, human compassion principles (and not just use them to attack), to avoid the “stupid, short-sighted hypocrite” label applying to yourself, you must advocate sinking the U.S. deep into debt to open, staff and fund free clinics/hospitals in Mexico, South America, Africa and everywhere else to provide free healthcare to all that need it. Don’t all those fellow human beings deserve the same compassion?

  13. dospasentas, my fellow American, here is EXACTLY what “anonymous said: ” How quickly we forget the Democrat ‘boos’ during Bush’s state of the union address. Evidently boorish behavior is o.k. when it’s being done by a gang or members of your chosen party.” That statement is clearly a Sean-Hannity-esque, back door “justification” for Wilson’s trailer-park trashy behavior: high school English and freshman logic 101!

    As for the massive surplus that never materialized:
    (1) Your own numbers for the years 1994 – 2001 show a dramatic decrease in deficit spending during the Clinton years – down to a paltry $18 billion in 2002 and with a several hundred BILLION dollar surplus projected for 2001. . . and then Bush took over and deficit level jumped up by 700% (over 2002) on a revenue flow that increased by $133 billion, which was the exact amount of the Bush deficit for 2001. Go figger!
    (2) IF one squanders a surplus (before he gets it) on generous & unnecessary tax cuts for those who don’t need them – and at he expense of those who do – and IF one lies us into a trumped-up and unwinnable foreign war, OF COURSE the surplus will not materialize – It was blown out the back door through profligate spending backed with NO calls for extraordinary sacrifices by American citizens here at home and no plans for securing and consolidating Iraq after our successful ground invasion – like, Bush & Co. Bush blew it!

    One grows SO weary of sophomoric Limbaugh linguistics and illogical rants. Obama’s finances are all necessarily Bush carry-over policies. Bush took eight years (nienty-six months or ~3000 days) ) of non-oversight and non-regulation to devastate out economy. much of our environment and our financial system . . . and YOU find fault in him for not clearing up behind the Bushites prolonged irresponsibility, greed and negligence during his first 180 days in office . . . with the racist, bigoted, ex-“Democrats for Reagan” fighting an obstructionist battle against him every step of the way? Give us a beak, OK?

    As for health care for the needy illegal aliens within the USA – and that is ALL that we are talking about here – no more, no less – I will defer to you, Dear Readers, to decide for yourselves whether our leaving illegal aliens to die in the streets and/or to spread preventable pestilence among our population is a Christ-like action or not. Your verdict is final and binding – upon YOURSELVES!

    And about gifting heath care in many third world countries: you-can-bet-your-ass that our sending our treasure overseas in the form of medical and financial aid to the needy is infinitely more rewarding – and profitable – than providing arms subsidies to patently wicked dictatorships! Don’t you honestly believe that we would do more good in this world by opening our purses instead of our bomb bay doors over foreign lands around the world? The Bush-era $15 billion in AIDS relief to Africa was a good start, and if we spent ten times that – hey! – make that fifty-times – we would just be making a good start. How about the slogan: “Miss a meal for the hungry! Help a hungry kid for the price of a burger.”

    And yes, those fellow human beings do deserve the same compassion – despite your tongue cheek sarcasm.

    Finally: all of my Christmas and birthday gifts to other adults are donations (“in your name”) through the Heifer program. I also support “Operation Smile” and contribute insofar as I can to a “micro-loan” pool in Peru. This gives me some – though not much – absolution for those whom I harmed in Viet Nam and environs.

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