Not Far Enough -- And Way Too Far
Carol Platt Liebau
9/9/2009 10:13:22 PM - Carol Platt Liebau
When even CNN's David Gergen concedes that the President's speech was nothing new -- and probably not that effective -- there's not that much more to say about it. We heard most of it before, without the newly combative tone that seems more than anything to signal a fair degree of panic.
What is unfortunate, however, is that Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina took it upon himself to heckle the President in the middle of his address
. What Wilson has just succeeded in doing is shifting the focus from the insufficiency of Obama's plans to the "incivility" of the President's political opponents. And you can bet Wilson's behavior didn't persuade a single American who didn't already agree with him.
In any case, just on the merits, it's plain wrong for people to heckle the President -- whoever it is -- when he is addressing a Joint Session of Congress. There's plenty of time and opportunity for the GOP to make its points without resorting to tactics that are beneath the dignity of the setting. And sadly, it's just one more step toward an "Idiocracy" style free-for-all (which featured congressmen whose behavior strongly resembled that of an audience at the lowest-brow kind of smackdown event imaginable).
This was neither the time nor the place for a Congressman to shout "you lie!" at the President. No, the President was not truthful. But there's a time and a way to point that out.