And just like that, the Republican Party became Code Pink.
After a month of propagating vicious falsehoods in childish fashion — “death panels,” for one — Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) felt the need to reduce this American moment to one iconic millisecond. And so we have this:
The effect is remarkable: Obama looks like a bemused parent, and the entire Republican Party suddenly snaps into view as the juvenile malcontents that they truly are (I’m unsure how Wilson’s eventual apology affects that conclusion). Wilson’s little outburst itself, of course, perpetuated a lie — the bill on the table would not fund illegal immigrants (HR 3200, § 246). Attempts at more nuanced constructions — the argument that the bill would bar doctors from asking about the citizenship status of their patients — miss the point. Provisions against discrimination in the bill, e.g. HR 3200, § 152, pose no conflict with § 246’s ban on healthcare for illegals by virtue of their wording (read the damn bill!), and in fact should give comfort to Republicans “concerned” about partisan delivery of benefits.
God willing, the spell is broken. Wilson’s outburst obstructed a fine speech, but revealed healthcare protestors as petty and misinformed. Oh, and the Republican response? Delivered by a birther. Checkmate.