Joe Wilson:Barack Obama::Harry Reid:George W. Bush

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 10, 2009

Remember this?

The Senate’s top Democrat, Harry M. Reid of Nevada, called President Bush a “loser” yesterday just about the time Air Force One was touching down on foreign soil. Reid immediately called the White House to express regret.

The remark violated the restraint that the opposition party customarily exercises when a president is abroad and reflected the acrid environment on Capitol Hill as Republicans prepare to change a rule that lets Democrats use delaying tactics to block the confirmation of judges.

Reid made the remark while discussing the filibuster issue with about 60 Del Sol High School juniors, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Web site.

“The man’s father is a wonderful human being,” Reid said in response to a question about Bush’s policies. “I think this guy is a loser.”

How about this?

MR. RUSSERT: 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?

SEN. REID: I don’t know if that rhetoric is appropriate. That’s how I feel, and that’s how I felt. I think to take that issue, Tim, to take the most poisonous substance known to man, plutonium, and haul 70,000 tons of it across the highways and railways of this country, past schools and churches and people’s businesses is wrong. It’s something that is being forced upon this country by the utilities, and it’s wrong. And we have to stop it. And people may not like what I said, but I said it, and I don’t back off one bit.

About the only difference is that in each case, Reid made his comments outside of an official session of Congress. But the disrespect to the Presidency was the same.

Think the port-siders will drop the hypocrisy and acknowledge that they did not nearly get the case of the vapors they have now in the aftermath of the Wilson outburst?

Neither do I. What Wilson did was wrong. But Barack Obama’s defenders should stop pretending that this is some kind of new low in partisan rhetoric. That low was reached a while ago, with the current Senate Democratic Leader having helped reach it.

  • fanofreason

    No one is claiming this constitutes a “new low in rhetoric.” Shouting the phrase, “you lie” hardly qualifies as rhetoric. What some are justly claiming is that this action constitutes a new low in terms of failing to observe proper protocol, and that Mr. Wilson's actions constitute an unprecedented lack of repect for the office, itself. The fact that Joe Wilson is completely uninformed on the issue, is just the icing on the cake.

  • fanofreason

    No one is claiming this constitutes a “new low in rhetoric.” Shouting the phrase, “you lie” hardly qualifies as rhetoric. What some are justly claiming is that this action constitutes a new low in terms of failing to observe proper protocol, and that Mr. Wilson's actions constitute an unprecedented lack of repect for the office, itself. The fact that Joe Wilson is completely uninformed on the issue, is just the icing on the cake.

  • fanofreason

    No one is claiming this constitutes a “new low in rhetoric.” Shouting the phrase, “you lie” hardly qualifies as rhetoric. What some are justly claiming is that this action constitutes a new low in terms of failing to observe proper protocol, and that Mr. Wilson's actions constitute an unprecedented lack of repect for the office, itself. The fact that Joe Wilson is completely uninformed on the issue, is just the icing on the cake.

  • fanofreason

    No one is claiming this constitutes a “new low in rhetoric.” Shouting the phrase, “you lie” hardly qualifies as rhetoric. What some are justly claiming is that this action constitutes a new low, in terms of failing to observe proper protocol, and that Mr. Wilson's actions constitute an unprecedented lack of respect for the office, itself. The fact that Joe Wilson is completely uninformed on the issue, is just the icing on the cake.

  • fanofreason

    No one is claiming this constitutes a “new low in rhetoric.” Shouting the phrase, “you lie” hardly qualifies as rhetoric. What some are justly claiming is that this action constitutes a new low, in terms of failing to observe proper protocol, and that Mr. Wilson's actions constitute an unprecedented lack of respect for the office, itself. The fact that Joe Wilson is completely uninformed on the issue, is just the icing on the cake.

  • http://twitter.com/bdomenech Ben Domenech

    “Unprecedented lack of respect for the office” would perhaps be true, if not for the fact that Democrats routinely booed Bush during his joint session remarks. Here's just one example:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/10/flashback

  • meouthere

    You are a lier. That didn't happen!

  • scholar2009

    There does seem to be an obvious parallel… to the uninformed or uneducated. The difference, to those of us who bother to dig a little deeper, is that what Reid said is justifiable. Wilson, on the other hand, should read the health care bill… which clearly states that illegals do not qualify (HB 143:246).

  • billnopus

    The blind leading the blind…None of these proposals do anything for the middle class…the majority of those paying for all of these expenses. As opposed to others on this chain, I have done my digging. Instead of educating yourself on liberal news why not pick up the phone and ask someone with this coverage how it works. It doesn't. German citizens have two levels of health care: The slow barely useful version which covers the poor and the expensive/costs extra coverage which individuals pay for out of pocket. I'm not sure what page of the bill scholar2009 was reading but, yes, it does leave the option open to covering non-citizens. No offense but who do you think is paying for the emergency room visits that illegals are building up now. One question you have to answer with a straight face…is there an honest politician? Really? I'll make the biscuits if you bring the tea.

  • Finrod

    You are neither informed nor educated. The section that says that illegals do not qualify is in section 242 and refers to one particular subsidy only (affordability credits). However, in section 202, the subsidies there apply to 'all individuals'.

    Furthermore, there is nothing in section 242 to provide any enforcement for qualifications. This is akin to the Utah state legislature passing a bill saying the Great Salt Lake can't rise above a certain depth, or a town with no police passing laws. In addition, Republicans have repeatedly introduced amendments to provide enforcement (for example, the Heller Amendment) yet all those amendments, every single one of them, have been voted down on strictly partisan votes.

  • HonestAbe_123

    Absolutely, irrevocably wrong. What is at issue at center is what you glanced off as a trifle: it happened within a joint session of the Congress. If Charlie Rangel had shouted President Bush down and called him a liar, while Bush was addressing the Congress, you can be damned sure that Republicans would ensure that would be his last week in office.

    Hell— the RNC wouldn't have to. Fox would do it for them. To say anything less is absolutely disingenuous.

  • Finrod

    No one who was politically conscious from November 2000 to January 2009 can claim with a straight face that Rep. Wilson showed an 'unprecedented lack of respect for the office', given the level of bile routinely spewed at President Bush during that time from Democrats.

    What goes around comes around, buckaroo.

  • Finrod

    So all the booing during Bush's speeches before joint sessions of Congress didn't happen? Boy, do you have a selective memory and a deceitful username.

  • HonestAbe_123

    Are you kidding me? Selective memory? Booing is as old as apple pie. Opposition has ALWAYS booed. And sat down while the other side of the aisle stands & claps overlong.

    But shouting out, losing one's sense of decorum, and calling The President Of The United States a LIAR, in an open joint session of Congress— is NOT booing. There is a parlaimentary list of things that Congressmen & women CANNOT say to one another while session is open: that's part of the reason why they refer to their opponents as “The Gentleman from…” or “My friend the GentleLady from…”: it's procedure for how the Congress must do business. And guess what: there's a specific rule against calling the President a liar, or a coward. Booing? Nothing in there about that. Boo yer damned heart out.

    He broke the rule and deserves censure.

  • HonestAbe_123

    To be specific:

    Categories of Unparliamentary Speech

    * Defaming or degrading the House
    * Criticism of the Speaker’s personal conduct
    * Impugning the motives of another Member
    * Charging falsehood or deception
    * Claiming lack of intelligence or knowledge
    * References to race, creed, or prejudice
    * Charges related to loyalty or patriotism

  • CSBadeaux

    Presumably “calling officers of the Executive Branch Nazis” somehow slips past this one, huh?

  • HonestAbe_123

    Of course. The calling of Executive Branch members “Nazis” is a long-standing heralded Congressional Parlaimentary procedure; in fact, 'til 1947, the Congressional Announcer would officially proclaim, “Ladies and Gentlemen. The American Nazi President of the United States” before admitting the President to the chamber, before any joint session of Congress.

    Though then abolished, the current revival of that practice just warms the heart, don't it?

  • CSBadeaux

    I'm not into alternate history. The first instance I've discovered while Congress was in session dates to 2005 A.D. (4 B.O.).

  • http://twitter.com/gmerits gmerits
  • http://twitter.com/gmerits gmerits
  • http://twitter.com/rubyteagarden ruby tea

    Rieds comments unlike Wilson's were true – a. bush is a loser- this is a worldwide consensus b. Bush was a liar about torture and many other things – the iraq wmd eg- Obama is trying to drag the usa into the 21st century whiles the yobs at FAUX NEWS whips up hysteria and falsehoods – yes Wilson should be thrown out of congress for lack of respect

  • Finrod

    So a couple hundred Democrats booing and shouting “No!” when President Bush talked about privatizing Social Security in his 2005 State Of The Union address is fine and dandy, but one lone Republican Representative saying “You lie!” is a total break-down in decorum?

    What's the standard here, is shouting one word OK but shouting two words a violation? Or is it that it's ok for a couple hundred Democrats to boo and heckle but not ok for one Republican to do the same thing?

    And since you're getting all technical, I'd point out that Obama violated the standards of Parliamentary Speech first by calling his opponents' speech lies. That's also 'Charging falsehood or deception'. So when are you going to slam Obama for that? Or is it only Republicans that are held to standards?

  • Finrod

    Don't you have a bridge to crawl back under, troll? It seems that not only does logic elude you, but so does spelling and grammar.

  • HonestAbe_123

    Dude, don't get partisan here— Parlaimentary rules apply to EVERY ONE. Wilson is not reprieved because he's a Republican.

    The standard here is STANDARD Parlaimentary procedure: the procedure that the American Congress has followed for 200+ years. No one— NO ONE— in all that time, has called OUR President a liar from the floor of an open session of Congress without breaking the rule.

    And yes, a couple hundred Democrats booing & shouting “NO!” is not calling him a liar. And a couple hundred Republicans booing & shouting “NO!” is not calling Clinton a liar was ALSO not against Parlaimentary procedure.

    I'm not making a partisan point here. The dude broke the damned rule. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, Republican or Democrat— the rule was broken.

    President Obama calling a political TACTIC— a POSITION— a lie is NOT calling a single invidual a lie. And, if you'd read the Parlaimentary procedure, calling a President one of the verboten things is a SPECIFIC grievance against the rule.

  • HonestAbe_123

    More to the point: Reid did not call Bush these things IN a joint Session of Congress. And if he did? He'd deserve censure.

  • Finrod

    So a couple hundred Democrats booing and shouting “No!” when President Bush talked about privatizing Social Security in his 2005 State Of The Union address is fine and dandy, but one lone Republican Representative saying “You lie!” is a total break-down in decorum?

    What's the standard here, is shouting one word OK but shouting two words a violation? Or is it that it's ok for a couple hundred Democrats to boo and heckle but not ok for one Republican to do the same thing?

    And since you're getting all technical, I'd point out that Obama violated the standards of Parliamentary Speech first by calling his opponents' speech lies. That's also 'Charging falsehood or deception'. So when are you going to slam Obama for that? Or is it only Republicans that are held to standards?

  • Finrod

    Don't you have a bridge to crawl back under, troll? It seems that not only does logic elude you, but so does spelling and grammar.

  • HonestAbe_123

    Dude, don't get partisan here— Parlaimentary rules apply to EVERY ONE. Wilson is not reprieved because he's a Republican.

    The standard here is STANDARD Parlaimentary procedure: the procedure that the American Congress has followed for 200+ years. No one— NO ONE— in all that time, has called OUR President a liar from the floor of an open session of Congress without breaking the rule.

    And yes, a couple hundred Democrats booing & shouting “NO!” is not calling him a liar. And a couple hundred Republicans booing & shouting “NO!” is not calling Clinton a liar was ALSO not against Parlaimentary procedure.

    I'm not making a partisan point here. The dude broke the damned rule. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, Republican or Democrat— the rule was broken.

    President Obama calling a political TACTIC— a POSITION— a lie is NOT calling a single invidual a liar. And, if you'd read the Parlaimentary procedure, calling a President one of the verboten things is a SPECIFIC grievance against the rule.

  • HonestAbe_123

    More to the point: Reid did not call Bush these things IN a joint Session of Congress. And if he did? He'd deserve censure.

Previous post:

Next post: