South Carolina House member Joe Wilson yelled this during the Obama speech on health care tonight. Good for him. Sadly, he did not stand by his outburst and issued an apology to the White House. Bad. What we need right now is for the men and women in government, the ones with the courage to stand up to ‘The Empire,’ to speak truth to power. The comment was made over Obama’s assertion that no illegal immigrants would be covered under the health care reform proposal, but it can be applied to nearly everything that he has said over the last 8 months. While many have denounced Wilson for being disrespectful, I applaud his emotional response. It shows that we are not simply slouching towards Gomorrah but that still exists some fire in our bellies, that even some members of that semi- to fully-corrupt body we call the Congress can call out a liar when he sees one. He deserves to be commended for his actions.
He starts his (second!) prime-time speech on health care claiming that he brought the economy “back from the brink,” when reality shows us that retirement plans have taken a beating, unemployment continues to inch towards double digits, credit is still tight, banks are continuing to fail, consumer spending is stagnant, and the national debt continues to balloon. To call the president out of touch would be too kind. The rest of the speech is a flagrant insult to logic, calling our current health care fiscally unsustainable while simultaneously urging Americans to pass a system that will cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office, trillions more. The fact that we are even discussing this distresses me immensely. If the problem is that we cannot sustain this level of expenditure on health care, then we should not be passing a health care program that will cost more money. This cannot be repeated enough.
Yet in a poll taken after Obama’s speech, two thirds of those who watched now favor his plan. This is absurd. Obama simply repeated the same old arguments. He blamed Bush for a deficit that is dwarfed by Obama’s, yet he received a standing ovation. He misrepresented conservatives’ position on health care and presented his Public Option as something that would not destroy the free market. He promised that senior care will not suffer. He lied about the cost of the health care reform plan. He lied about not raising taxes on the middle class while pushing an individual mandate for everyone to buy into the system (there’s your taxes). He denied everything that people have come to hear about his health care reform plan. He denied that federal dollars would be used to fund abortion (they just fund everything else, call it ’subsidizing’ abortions). It went on and on. He used his urgent voice, his soft voice, his dreamer voice and, apparently, a lot of Americans out there fell for it… again.
This is why I worried when Obama was going to give a speech to schoolchildren, because when Obama speaks to adult Americans, polls show that so many of them turn off their brains. I am starting to doubt the accuracy of these polls… otherwise, we are truly entering a brave new world.