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Can Rep. Joe Wilson recover after embarrassing himself and his party? September 11, 2009

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Perhaps the most talked about aspect of President Barack Obama’s big speech on health care on September 9, 2009 was Republican Representative Joe Wilson’s vocal accusation that the President was lying. While Obama spent some time dispelling the rumors about health care reform, he specifically targeted claims about illegal immigrants receiving government health benefits. Wilson, who has ties to these rumors, shouted “You lie!” from the floor, and was quickly denounced by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Wilson’s shocking behavior had two immediate effects. First, as many are now claiming, it has reenergized the liberal left of America in its fight against conservative Republicans. Second, and far worse for Wilson, Americans have given over $350,000 (a number climbing by the hour) to his opponent in the upcoming election, Democrat Rob Miller. Miller ran against Wilson in 2008, and received 46 percent of the vote, but financial resources.

To watch Wilson’s embarrassing moment yourself, and his subsequent apology, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why was Wilson’s behavior so offensive?  Was this a special context that demanded a particular kind of decorum?

2.  Will Wilson’s behavior have a negative impact on the party, or will people blame him alone?

3.  Was Wilson’s apology good enough to improve his reputation? Why, or why not?

4.  What might Wilson do to improve his reputation in the months before the next election in 2010?



1. Philospher - September 11, 2009

He says there’s no death panels, but death by bureaucrat care denial is there.

He says there’s no additional spending, but its there according to non-partisan CBO.

He says there’s no one will lose their current health care because of his public option but they will when it drains the private market with unfairly priced government competition.

And he says no illegal immigrants will be covered, but there’s no verification to stop that from happening. Your own Politifact citation says exactly that as well.

Is there specific language saying any of these are allowed? No.

But only an irrational person will say you are telling the truth when you can see the practical outcome is exactly the opposite.

That is why Obama was called a Liar.

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