When truth trumps protocol

The "you lie" outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson R-SC) during President Obama's health care speech last week brought the four-term lawmaker national attention and more than a smattering of hypocritical comments from Democrats.

After 8 years of blistering attacks on President Bush by the top echelon of the Democrat Party, suddenly they've become prudish about references to the country's Chief Executive. How quickly they forget the instances when Bush was booed by the liberal side of the aisle when addressing the Congress in that same "hallowed" hall. Let's also recall an interview in December 2004 on Meet the Press in which the moderator, Tim Russert, asked Democrat Senator Harry Reid, "When the president talked about Yucca Mountain and moving the nation's nuclear waste there, you were very, very, very strong in your words. You said, "President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country. Is that rhetoric appropriate?"

Senator Reid's response was, "I don't know if that rhetoric is appropriate. That's how I feel, and that's how I felt." The Senate Majority Leader went on to say," People may not like what I said, but I said it, and I don't back off one bit." In another interview, just as the president was beginning a five-day good will European tour in May of 2005, Reid referred to Bush as a loser. How's that for protocol? That remark violated the restraint that the opposition party customarily exercises when a president is abroad, but it was an example of the bitter acrimony that was regularly being spewed by those who are now pretending to be mortified by one comment from one congressman, who, (until last week) was unknown to the rest of the country. Even during the last months of the Bush presidency, Nancy Pelosi, in a CNN interview last year said, "Bush has been a total failure in everything, from the economy, to the war, to energy policy."

Furthermore, where was the outrage against Moveon.org, the leftwing radical group who compared Bush to Adolph Hitler in a televised ad during the 2004 campaign? The ad used a tape recording of the Nazi leader speaking, while it showed images of Hitler and German military prowess during World War II. At the end of the ad, a photo of Bush raising his hand to take the oath of office was shown. The ad went on to say, "A nation warped by lies! Lies fuel fear! Fear fuels aggression! Invasion! Occupation! What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003." After the damage was done, Moveon.org issued a statement: "We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process. In the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system." There was no apology to the president and there was no condemnation of the substance of the ad. So, what's worse; calling Obama a liar, or calling Bush a Nazi war criminal?  

Rep. Wilson violated protocol with his outburst during the president's speech, but the reaction by the Democrats, in view of their incendiary style of politics, is so profoundly hypocritical, that it's pathetic. As an example of their feigned outrage, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's webpage has a header that reads: "Hold the GOP accountable; stand against Rep. Joe Wilson's unacceptable outburst. Calling the President of the United States a liar in front of the nation is a new low even for House Republicans and it deserves the strongest response we can give." Okay, let's recap: If the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House appear on national television and call the president a liar, a loser, and a total failure in front of the nation and the world, even when he's representing our country on foreign soil, it's acceptable. However, if an obscure lawmaker from South Carolina does it, he should be destroyed. It appears that Democrats have a bifurcated view of political rhetoric; only they should be able to use it.

Lost in this entire deceptive diatribe is whether President Obama was telling the truth when he said millions of illegal aliens will not be covered in his healthcare plan. The fact is that Republicans have served on committees that considered amendments to the president's plan which would assure that illegal aliens would not get coverage, but those amendments were defeated by Democrats. Rep. Wilson served on such a committee and came away believing that the president was lying. If he was correct, his outburst may have been the only way to expose legislation that could be disastrous for the future of this country. If he was incorrect, all he did was breach a protocol that has been breached many times before.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.
The "you lie" outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson R-SC) during President Obama's health care speech last week brought the four-term lawmaker national attention and more than a smattering of hypocritical comments from Democrats.

After 8 years of blistering attacks on President Bush by the top echelon of the Democrat Party, suddenly they've become prudish about references to the country's Chief Executive. How quickly they forget the instances when Bush was booed by the liberal side of the aisle when addressing the Congress in that same "hallowed" hall. Let's also recall an interview in December 2004 on Meet the Press in which the moderator, Tim Russert, asked Democrat Senator Harry Reid, "When the president talked about Yucca Mountain and moving the nation's nuclear waste there, you were very, very, very strong in your words. You said, "President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country. Is that rhetoric appropriate?"

Senator Reid's response was, "I don't know if that rhetoric is appropriate. That's how I feel, and that's how I felt." The Senate Majority Leader went on to say," People may not like what I said, but I said it, and I don't back off one bit." In another interview, just as the president was beginning a five-day good will European tour in May of 2005, Reid referred to Bush as a loser. How's that for protocol? That remark violated the restraint that the opposition party customarily exercises when a president is abroad, but it was an example of the bitter acrimony that was regularly being spewed by those who are now pretending to be mortified by one comment from one congressman, who, (until last week) was unknown to the rest of the country. Even during the last months of the Bush presidency, Nancy Pelosi, in a CNN interview last year said, "Bush has been a total failure in everything, from the economy, to the war, to energy policy."

Furthermore, where was the outrage against Moveon.org, the leftwing radical group who compared Bush to Adolph Hitler in a televised ad during the 2004 campaign? The ad used a tape recording of the Nazi leader speaking, while it showed images of Hitler and German military prowess during World War II. At the end of the ad, a photo of Bush raising his hand to take the oath of office was shown. The ad went on to say, "A nation warped by lies! Lies fuel fear! Fear fuels aggression! Invasion! Occupation! What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003." After the damage was done, Moveon.org issued a statement: "We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process. In the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system." There was no apology to the president and there was no condemnation of the substance of the ad. So, what's worse; calling Obama a liar, or calling Bush a Nazi war criminal?  

Rep. Wilson violated protocol with his outburst during the president's speech, but the reaction by the Democrats, in view of their incendiary style of politics, is so profoundly hypocritical, that it's pathetic. As an example of their feigned outrage, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's webpage has a header that reads: "Hold the GOP accountable; stand against Rep. Joe Wilson's unacceptable outburst. Calling the President of the United States a liar in front of the nation is a new low even for House Republicans and it deserves the strongest response we can give." Okay, let's recap: If the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House appear on national television and call the president a liar, a loser, and a total failure in front of the nation and the world, even when he's representing our country on foreign soil, it's acceptable. However, if an obscure lawmaker from South Carolina does it, he should be destroyed. It appears that Democrats have a bifurcated view of political rhetoric; only they should be able to use it.

Lost in this entire deceptive diatribe is whether President Obama was telling the truth when he said millions of illegal aliens will not be covered in his healthcare plan. The fact is that Republicans have served on committees that considered amendments to the president's plan which would assure that illegal aliens would not get coverage, but those amendments were defeated by Democrats. Rep. Wilson served on such a committee and came away believing that the president was lying. If he was correct, his outburst may have been the only way to expose legislation that could be disastrous for the future of this country. If he was incorrect, all he did was breach a protocol that has been breached many times before.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.