Disrespectful. Uncivil. Rude. Lacking grace and dignity.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouting "You lie!" during President Obama's speech was all those things. (I was listening to the speech on the way home last night when I heard it and thought, 'Did I just hear that right?'.) Naturally, The Shout Heard 'Round The Country is plastered all over the main pages of media outlets. Columnists and pundits are all in a twitter and waggling their knowing fingers at Republicans.
It all makes me chuckle, really. I feel like channeling the guard from "Cool Hand Luke":
"What we've got here is...failure to remember."
Like when House Minority leader (at the time) Sen. Harry Reid calling President Bush a "loser" and a "liar" to high school kids.
Or when the late St. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-forever-Mass.) accused President Bush of being a liar by “telling lie, after lie, after lie”, in order to go to war in Iraq.
Or when President Obama misrepresented the oppostion last night calling them liars regarding "death panels", health insurance to illegals and use of federal dollars to fund abortions, when he himself is not fully disclosing that there are some truths to those claims*. So he is a liar for calling them liars.
But I think one of the more amusing responses in all this came from House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Queen of San Francisco, CA). Stories and columns today noted that Pelosi looked "visibly stunned" by Wilson's "You lie!"
She was quoted in the New York Times as follows:
Asked if she had considered gaveling Mr. Wilson out of order, she said: “No. Well, the — if he had continued. But the sergeant-at-arms — you know, the parliamentarian passed me a piece of paper that said what the options were, and I said we’re just going to move on.”
Well of course she wanted to move on—lest anyone else in the Chamber call her out on national TV for her baldfaced lies claiming she was never briefed on the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques back in 2002. (Thanks to AG Holder for pulling off the "Triple Ooopsy!" by releasing the EIT documents that a.) prove Pelosi's a liar; b.) undermine CIA agents and future intel gathering operations and; c.) EITs actually do work.)
And where were the stories and columns and calls for apologies on those equally disrespectful and unprofessional remarks?
If you're hearing crickets and tumbleweeds in the Land of Double Standard you're not alone.
Look, no doubt Joe Wilson was way, way, way out of line and disrespectful last night. He's since apologized, and Obama has graciously accepted it.
But before the calls go out for Wilson's resignation—because you know that can't be far away—the feigned indignation over the demise of civil discourse in this country and double standards should be checked at the door.
*This is not to say that those who make such dubious claims regarding "death panels" aren't exaggerating or using hyperbole; they are. But those are discussions for another time.