Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Joe the Martyr

The House of Representatives voted 240 yes, 179 no, 5 present to “disapprove” of Rep. Joe Wilson’s shouting at the president last week. In terms of what the House could do, that’s the equivalent of getting a mild scolding, and it had no effect whatsoever on Mr. Wilson, who will probably use it in a fund-raiser. Meanwhile, his Republican colleagues rallied to his support.

Many Republicans huddled around Wilson, some hugging him, some shaking his hand, and after he spoke, a few members of the public in the House galleries clapped, drawing a warning about violating the chamber’s etiquette rules.

I have to hand it to the GOP; the president is the one who is heckled and treated with disrespect, and the heckler is the one who is the aggrieved party. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) labeled the rebuke as a “partisan stunt.” Never let it be said that the Republicans didn’t know how to turn on the martyr complex and exploit it for political gain, and never let it be said that Mr. Boehner doesn’t have a well-developed, if unintentional, sense of irony.