Thursday, September 10, 2009

Liar Liar

Easily the biggest news of last night was Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelling out "You lie!" during the President's address to a joint session of Congress. It was during a point where Obama was addressing some of the more ridiculous claims about current healthcare plans... "death panels" and the like... and when he said:
There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

Rep. Wilson then belted out an angry "You lie!" It's a fairly large breach of protocol these days for a member of Congress to heckle the President, but frankly, I hate the theater of Joint Sessions and don't watch them anymore (follow the live blogs and read the prepared remarks)... the endless standing ovations vs. sitting on your hands and looking dour is just so silly I can't stomach it... so I'm with Yglesias in being open to more heckling from members of Congress, it would at least liven things up.

If you're wondering if there is substance to Wilson's charge... there isn't... illegal immigrants won't get any subsidized coverage. The only argument you can conceivably make that the "reform effort will insure illegal immigrants," is that there is no current provision to prevent people here illegally from buying private insurance (or the public option if it happens) at full price. Which they can do now.

So, I guess if you're a wingnut who thinks people should have to show their driver's license to buy a pair of shoes at Wal-mart, then you might see the merit in Rep. Wilson's outburst... for the rest of us, the President was clearly in the right to call it out.

As for the rest of the speech... who knows? I didn't watch it, and I think I'm pretty much done trying to predict what public opinion is going in response to singular events, but I thought we were on track for a decent bill being passed since we made it through August... and I certainly don't see chances getting worse after last night.