South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson’s now-infamous yeller, “You lie!” is still reverberating across living rooms and newsrooms across America. His bellow of rage on health care reform, during the president’s speech, made clear the Southern-led, vituperative campaign against president Obama.
An “off-the-record” comment by him, made during an informal, pre-interview chat with CNBC host John Harwood, was promptly tweeted by a few ABC news employees. This is the offending tweet: “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential.”
He’d called rapper Kanye West a “jackass” in the context of his shocking outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards, where he’d stormed onto the stage, snatched the microphone from winner Taylor Swift, and praised Beyoncé instead.
Barely a few days earlier, there was a furor over his address to school kids nationwide. Attacked, for trying to indoctrinate them, his speech was not aired in school districts in states including Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
What the nation’s highest office-holder does or doesn’t do, makes headlines. Sure. But lately, he’s been attacked unfairly, for either trying to reform a health care system that’s in need of an overhaul or for making an off-the-cuff remark or for trying to reign in a cluster of greedy corporate czars on Wall Street.
Former president Jimmy Carter, in an interview with Brian Williams at NBC, said the opposition to president Obama has to do with the fact that he’s “a black man.” Maureen Dowd holds a similar opinion. In an op-ed, in the New York Times, “Boy, Oh, Boy,” she writes:
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer—the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids—had much to do with race.
Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president—no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq—convinced me: some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.