Keith Olbermann Demolishes Joe Wilson

Keith Olbermann demolished Joe Wilson in a Special Comment last night(video above). Transcript (via Crooks and Liars) under the fold. More on Wilson here and here.

And finally, as promised, a Special Comment about the shout of “You Lie” during the presidential address to the joint session of Congress last night on the matter of health care reform.

The 43rd president of the United States lied the nation into the war, lied 4,343 of his fellow citizens to death in that war, lied about upholding the constitution, and lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction.

He lied about how he reacted to Al-Qaeda before 9/11 and he lied about how he reacted to Al-Qaeda after 9/11.

He lied about getting Bin Laden, and he lied about not getting Bin Laden.

He lied about nation-building in Iraq, lied about the appearance of new buildings **in** the nation **of** Iraq, and lied about embassy buildings in nations like Iraq.

He lied about trailers with mobile weapons labs in them, and he lied about trailers with Cuban prostitutes in them.

He and his administration lied — by the counting of one non-profit group — 532 times about links between Al-Qaeda and Iraq. Only 28 of those were by that President, but he made up for that by lying 231 times about W-M-D.

And yet not once did an elected Democratic official shout out during one of George W. Bush’s speeches and call him a “liar.”

Even when the president was George W. Bush, even when he was assailed from sidelines like mine, even when the lies came down so thick the nation needed a hat… he was still the President and if he didn’t earn any respect, the office he held demanded respect.

More over, that President and his Congressional tools like Congressman Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson of South Carolina insisted not just unquestioned respect for the office; they wanted unanimous lock-step compliance with the man.

And when the blasphemy of mere respectful criticism somehow came anyway — say by, or built on that by, the real Joe Wilson — lord help he who might have made the slightest factual error in that criticism.

Congressman Wilson and his masters and the flying monkeys of right-wing media would pursue the erroneous critic to the ends of their careers, firing hot accusations of moral or intellectual confusion and incompetence at the unbelievers.

And that is the line Congressman Wilson crossed last night when he shouted “you lie” at this President of the United States.

Not the respect line.

The stupid line.

Hey, Mr. Wilson!

“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill,” you hurriedly said last night as a nation caved in on you, and your own party’s leadership coerced you into saying something. “While I disagree with the President’s statements, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”

For the lack of civility, Congressman?

Is that what you think this is about?

Of course your comments were inappropriate and regrettable — you are a Republican trying to de-legitimize the elected president of the United States — that’s all you do, and that’s all you’ve got.

Of course you let your emotions get the best of you. At a figure of $435,296 in campaign donations from the Health Sector, of course your emotions would take over when your gravy train was threatened.

It isn’t about “inappropriate and regrettable,” Sir!

Your comments were inappropriate and regrettable and…. **wrong**!
You got up in front of the world, embarrassed your district, embarrassed your state, embarrassed your party, embarrassed your nation, shouted at the President like he was a referee at a ballgame and you were a drunk in the stands, and you were wrong.

House Bill 3200 specifically says, Sir, in language made precise and binding — in section 246 — under the heading, quote:


Look, Congressman!

All capital letters!

For the benefit of the factually-challenged!

“Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

You got it wrong!

There is no ambiguity, Sir. There is no disagreement!

The bill says those here illegally will not be covered; yet whether through stupidity or a willful attempt to mislead the gullible, you decided to spend whatever credibility remained to you, on a position in which you are utterly, inarguably, and — in a manner obvious to newborns and the more sophisticated of farm animals — wrong!

You apologize for your lack of civility?

When are you going to apologize for your lack of… being right?

Wrong-Way Wilson.

Whatever it is, it’s congenital.

Wrong-Way Wilson just wrote an op-ed, on August 27th for the Columbia, South Carolina newspaper “The State,” about the non-existent death panels that he and Mrs. Palin saw in their dreams — or something:

“Those who have stood up and shown up to have their voices heard have already made a difference in this debate.”

Perhaps henceforth Mr. Wilson should soft-pedal the “have their voices heard” part.

“…citizens have discovered and brought to light numerous aspects of the health care overhaul (H.R. 3200) that are deeply troubling. These include the end of life counseling program, which has been correctly highlighted by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a program which could lead to seniors being encouraged to seek less care in order to protect the government’s bottom line.”

Perhaps henceforth Mr. Wilson should soft-pedal the Palin Paranoia, since **he** caught enough of it that last night, he made himself look like an uninformed eight-year old screaming at an adult.

“Americans… want and deserve this honest debate.”

Perhaps henceforth Mr. Wilson should remember that the word “honest” is as important as the word “debate.”

The latter without the former is better known as Political Tourette’s Syndrome.

The evidence that Wrong-Way Wilson and reality are strangers goes back much further than last night.

When Congressman Rob Filner said the U-S had helped Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons, Wilson went nuts.

Worse, he accused Filner of a quote “hatred of America,” and insisted “you shouldn’t say that” and “you should retract it” and “you know it is not true.”

It was true.

It had been confirmed by the Commerce Department… in 1994.

Wrong-Way Wilson was… wrong.

A year later, when it was asserted that Senator Strom Thurmond from Wrong-Way’s home state had fathered a daughter with a black woman, Mr. Wilson called the assertion a quote “smear on the image” of Senator Thurmond.

This was after Senator Thurmond’s family had acknowledged not just paternity, but the fact that the Senator had maintained a secret relationship with his daughter, and provided her money, for decades.

**After** this was admitted, Congressman Wilson considered references to it a “smear” and said Thurmond’s daughter should have kept it to herself.

Coincidence, of course, Wrong-Way, that it would be **you** who would consider the confirmed, acknowledged bi-racial child of Strom Thurmond as a “smear”…

And then it would again be you who — in the middle of a festival of blind racial rage dressed up as a health care debate — would shout out, “you lie” at a bi-racial President of the United States as he addressed Congress.

And just a coincidence that you’re a member of a radicalized, insurrection-glorifying group, accused of harboring white supremacists, called “Sons Of Confederate Veterans.”

Back to **this** incident. You have swallowed some of the Kool-Aid you mix up for those damn fools who believe you, Congressman.

You sounded as pathetic as one of those poor souls, stampeded by corporate funding from the insurance and health care industries, who shout out nonsense at those demonstrations of willful stupidity that have been mislabeled “Town Halls”… these places where a citizen’s life is reduced to acting out that ridiculous maxim, if you’re going to be wrong, be wrong at the top of your voice.

But Congressman — you’re not supposed to be a Town Hall panicker, you’re not supposed to be a Rube defending the efficacy of the Snake Oil, you are a Congressman — and still you were wrong at the top of your voice!

Town Halls, Death Panels, Oligarhys, a multi-racial president who is accused of hating half his own ancestry, neuroses about communist artwork, the idea that fascism and socialism aren’t mutually exclusive, grass-roots protests bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations, scared seniors terrified enough to turn to insurance companies for protection against reformers who want to increase their coverage and cut their rates, birchers, birthers, deathers, the voices in Michele Bachmann’s head, the Republican rebuttal to the President of the United States given by a guy who thought he could become “Lord Boustany” by paying a couple of English con men…

And now to top off this pile of stupidity: Congressman Wrong-Way Wilson, who — when a President publicly, and ostentatiously, gave credit for part of his health care reform proposal to the very Republican he swamped in the election last year — Wrong-Way Wilson… followed that bi-partisan gesture, by shouting “you lie” as soon as he heard the truth.

It is… this week, evident… that the greatest threat to the nation… is not terrorism… nor the economy… nor H1/N1… nor even bad health care.

It is rank, willful stupidity.

When did we come to extol stupidity ahead of information, and rely on voo-doo, superstition, and prejudice ahead of education?

How many Republicans believe in Death Panels… and Brownies and Elves?

When did we start to listen to — to elect — the impregnably dense?
I was almost too fearful of using the word “impregnably” because of the prospect that Governor Palin would go after me the way she went after Letterman.

The time has come to rise up and take this country back, to again make it safe… for people who actually completed the seventh grade.
The crime of Wrong-Way Wilson was not reflected in his emotions, nor his disagreement, nor his inappropriate conduct, nor in his incivility. It was in his prideful wrong-ness.

There are many vague portions of this bill, but section 246 says it plain: “NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.”

I defend Congressman Wilson’s right to incivility. A little incivility six years ago might have stopped the Iraq war. He can shout anything he wants, at anybody he wants, in any circumstances he wants.

Providing that he is willing to suffer the consequences of his actions, I am willing to suffer him.

This nation can survive a president being disrespected by some nickel-dime congressman from Beaufort; the shame falls onto the shouter and not the one shouted at.

But this nation cannot survive the continued acceptance, the continued endorsement, the continued encouragement, the continued institutionalization… of stupidity I think if Mr. Lincoln were alive he might re-cast his most famous imagery in the light of the truest of our present crises:

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half smart, and half… stupid.

Section 246 is written expressly: there will be no health care funding for those who are here illegally; that there will be no mechanism created to establish such funding.

I fear Section 247 will have to be reitten expressly: so that there will be a mechanism created to establish… Stupid Panels.


  1. 1
    Infidel753 says:

    An outstanding commentary. “Demolishes” is the right word for it.

    Unfortunately there are those who embrace stupidity, are proud of stupidity, even want to proclaim their identification with stupidity. The half-and-half government will be with us for a while yet.

  2. 2
    kulturhack says:

    It's Not The Incivility: Olbermann's comment on Wilson is really about GOPers being *wrong* at the top of their lungs.

  3. 3
    kulturhack says:

    It's Not The Incivility: Olbermann's comment on Wilson is really about GOPers being *wrong* at the top of their lungs.

  4. 4
    Meryl says:

    How about if we prepare posters for every senator who is against the public option with one side reading
    Senator… against the public option and you are paying $ for his public insurance…then on the other side have
    Senator …received $  from …. insurance company for his vote against your chance to be covered by affordable insurance.  Then march with these signs wherever the senator’s voting public would be….and/or publish it on your show..web site etc.

  5. 5
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Olbermann’s statements about the importance of the word ‘honest’ in the phrase ‘honest debate’ bring to my mind a quote by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

    “Some ideas about the world deserve honest debate and others deserve scorn. Each person must decide for themselves which is which.”
    I think that far too many of the opponents of health care reform are slipping away from firm ground on which they can expect reasonable discourse in reply. They are increasingly deserving of scornful dismissal.
    This is not to say there are not real issues that could be reasonably debated. Cost control (the argument that health care reform will lower real costs is spurious, though proper reform would lower consumer costs significantly while still paying real costs comfortably), econ0mic viability (especially of the increased tax burden on American business inherent in HR 3200), and the notion of just how to achieve the best possible system for everyone rather than turning a lop-sided system favoring the top (as exists now) into a lop-sided system favoring the bottom (as exists in the UK, Australia, or Canada) are all subjects for legitimate debate.
    However, the ideas that ‘the free market’ will solve all the problems if we just deregulate the industry and ration Medicare (Sen. Judd Gregg’s argument), that making sure nutritionists are covered by insurance plans will magically lower the cost of health care so that everyone will be covered (Sen Ron Wyden’s argument, as expressed in his bill with Sen. Bill Bennet), or simply condemning any reform whatsoever as an attack on the best system of health care in the world (multiple Republican congressional loudmouths) are ridiculous. They deserve scorn.

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