As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday issued a formal smack-down of the Republican congressman who dissed President Obama during his recent nationally televised address before the joint Legislature.
In a 24-0-179 vote, which pretty much split along party lines, the lawmakers admonished Rep. Joe Wilson (R-(S.C.) for shouting “You Lie!” at the president in the middle of his speech. In doing so, the House did something it hasn’t done in its 220-year history, discipline a member for blurting out a rude remark in the chamber during a joint session.
"Whereas the conduct of the Representative from South Carolina was a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House: Now, therefore, be it resolved that the House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson, during the joint session of Congress held on Sept. 9, 2009," the resolution reads.
Not that Wilson seemed to care – after all, it was the most timid form of punishment he could have received by his colleagues. "When we are done here today, we will not have taken any further steps toward helping …," said a recalcitrant Wilson, who refused to apologize during the resolution, as requested by Democrats. "It is time that we move forward and get back to work for the American people."
He added, "In my view, by apologizing to the president, the most important person in the history of the world, that applied to everyone."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), called Wilson's behavior disrespectful, while other members pointed to potential racism. "[Heckling] only happened when this country elected a president of color," said Rep. Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia. Added Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia: "No president has been subjected to that type of treatment on the floor of the House of Representatives, and if we go down that road, then it's the law of the jungle, and I think that's just wrong."