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Barack Obama and Joe Wilson: The Truth about ‘Lies’

There’s an old line about the treacherous people in television news that “Things have gotten so bad about (Fill-in-the-blank) he’s stabbing people in the front”.

That’s all that Republican Congressman Joe Wilson was doing…stabbing in the front…when he interrupted the President’s speech last night to shout “You lie!” from his seat in the Peanut Gallery.

The truth is that President Obama’s political enemies spent August screaming about the President’s “lies”, just not to his face. So why are picking on poor old Joe, and why did he wimp out and apologize later?

Was he worried about embarrassing his home state of South Carolina? That hardly seems possible these days. Was he trying please his true believers but still trying to survive in the hypocritical environment that is Washington? In other words, was he trying to have it both ways? No. There isn’t any evidence Congressman Wilson goes both ways.

What’s the big deal? Didn’t the President himself use the “L-word” when he accused the “Death-Panel”-mongers of telling “a lie plain and simple” (Were you watching Sarah?)

Let’s stop being so sanctimonious about all this buffoonery. Polite is soooooo 20th century…at least early to mid-20th. It pains me to say this but, television, particularly 24 hour news television, caused all of us to lose our minds.

Debate resembles a “Jerry Springer show (come to think of it, wasn’t he first a politician?) and Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment. The big difference is that WWE is more dignified than politics.

Those of us in TV lap this stuff up, and even add to the din with contrived confrontations. What the politicians and all their groupies learn is that boundaries of good taste are for losers. To win, one must be shameless. So Joe Wilson is not Joe the Dumber, he’s actually pretty smart.

So here we are. Those who use terms like “lie” and “liar” reap the benefit, not those who politely tremble under the assault.


The ones who make up the lies smirk about their cleverness, even when they get caught…in fact PARTICULARLY when they get caught, because in their twisted peer group, sleaze is the highest calling.

So let’s cut Joe Wilson some slack. He was just playing the game…a game where rules are for fools, where the only taste is bad taste. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Joe is now elevated to hero status on his side, just like those who stand out among the extremist single-minded buffoons on the other.

The only way the politicians will accomplish any sort of health care change, is when they do things the old-fashioned way behind closed door and decide just which constituencies they’ll stab in the back while they work their little secret deals with the much-more-discreet lobbyists.

The only hope then that they’ll get anything done, for better or worse, comes when they’re insulated from the brawlers flinging charges of lying and worse back and forth. And that’s the sad truth.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 10, 2009 10:06 AM.

The previous post in this blog was President Obama: Trying to Play Offense.

The next post in this blog is 9/11. How Far We've Come. Down.

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