Monday, September 14, 2009

Joe Wilson's Embarrassment

Craig Ferguson and Keith Olbermann have both issued responses to Joe Wilson's outburst from Obama's health care speech, indicating his behavior was an embarrassment to the legislative process and the nation.

Really, I disagree. I think our houses of congress could stand to use a little bit of a relaxing of the rules of decorum. Joe's outburst wasn't quite as bad as South Korea's fistfighting, and really, was rather on par with the standard booing and cheering that would tend to occur during any speech. I might argue our legislators aren't interrupted enough. When a congressman stands in front of his (usually empty) house and the c-span camera and chooses to provide misleading information, there's no reason that person shouldn't be interrupted with exclamations to contrary or at least boos.

Joe Wilson did not embarrass the U.S.; he embarrassed himself.

There were some elements of the speech that might require some skepticism, the least of which was probably the claim to which Wilson objected. The thing I might have been most likely to question was the following: "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future."

The president has often indicated that he intends the purpose of reform to be to "bend the cost curve," meaning to reduce, over time, the percent of GDP spent on health care. This does not necessarily mean, as is often mistaken, that we will be reducing what share of the health care cost is taken by the state. And though in the end, the cost of reform should be paid for, the time to promise no additional deficit on the state balance sheet is not in the middle of a deep recession.

No comments:

Post a Comment