zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
[personal profile] zorkian
I've been thinking recently about the incident where Rep. Joe Wilson from South Carolina yelled out "You lied!" during President Obama's speech on healthcare. I've got really mixed feelings about it, so I'm going to lay them out here for your gray matter pondering.

First up: I think that it's definitely within Rep. Wilson's right to say what he said. Free speech and all that. His statement is also correct, technically. The bill, as proposed/supported by the President, does not provide for citizenship checks in the eligibility criteria. Hence, it is certainly possible and, given the left's track record for social issues, downright plausible that they will leave this in to allow for the coverage of illegals paid for by yours truly, the working Americans.

With that said, I do not think it is appropriate for a member of Congress (or any other branch of our government, hell, for any of our citizens) to show such flagrant disrespect for the office of President. Regardless of your feelings for the person with the title, it is completely inappropriate to so violently and flagrantly show disrespect: especially on such a public, national level. That's just not okay.

Shame on you, Rep. Wilson, for doing that. You may be right, but there are far more appropriate ways of getting your voice heard. (Of course, this little outburst has apparently raised over a million dollars for his campaign funds. That's good, I guess, but I'm not sure I'd want to be represented by a man who willfully disrespects the President in such a way.)

And on that note, I leave you with a little reminder. If you happen to think that Rep. Wilson should be canned, censured, etc etc etc, then I would like to remind you of a certain period of time where it was "fashionable" to mock, deride, and publicly disrespect our previous President. If you intend to say something about Rep. Wilson's comments, make sure to research the 2005 State of the Union address where Democratic members of Congress did similar en masse. Or during President Obama's inauguration where Democrats started singing "na-na-na-na, hey hey hey, good-bye!" at President Bush.

I may be the only conservative on Dreamwidth (not true, but it's fun to say), but I promise to be fair in my critiques and commentaries. I ask only that you do the same.
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Date: 2009-09-14 07:58 pm (UTC)

hkellick: (Political)
From: [personal profile] hkellick
It has gotten louder and more outrageous during the State of the Union. I won't disagree with that. The Democrats were not quiet and they did do some.. less than savory things. But yelling out "You Lie!" WAS a new low.

I don't think he should be canned or censured. I just think he should be voted out of the office. But that's up to the voters in his district to decide.
Date: 2009-09-14 08:13 pm (UTC)

princess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princess
In my opinion, regardless of how you feel about the person holding the office, that behavior is NEVER appropriate (and I said just as much about Democratic actions during Bush's presidency). I am very strong in my beliefs (both liberal and conservative, and you're not the ONLY conservative on DW...I'm a libertarian...)

But my theory is that if you're elected to office it's because we as a people believed you had the maturity to stand up and voice your opinions in a respectful and adult manner, as opposed to throwing your toys out of the pram.

No matter your side of the aisle.
Date: 2009-09-14 08:43 pm (UTC)

cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (Eeek! A Metroid!)
From: [personal profile] cheyinka
I dunno. Until Saturday night all I had heard was that not only had Rep. Wilson had his brain-to-mouth filter briefly disengaged, he'd been wrong or himself lying - in other words, that the president had not been lying, so it was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

When I found out that Rep. Wilson actually had had a point, it became harder to be mad at him - because I kind of like the idea of the minority party heckling the majority, especially when the majority party's also the party in control of the executive branch. It's not like Rep. Wilson could just pointedly withhold his vote and have that mean anything - I mean, yes, he could, but the Democrats don't need Republican votes to get anything passed, all they need is party cohesion.

If we hadn't just had two terms of "bushitler" from non-politicians, and greater or lesser degrees of respect from politicians - if this had come in a vacuum - I'd totally agree with you that it's not the time or place, whatever the appeal to me personally of a bit of heckling here or there. But now I'm kind of thinking that since it appears to have become an appropriate time or place, politicians should start learning how to manipulate it as well.
Date: 2009-09-14 08:43 pm (UTC)

cheyinka: A sketch of a Metroid (Default)
From: [personal profile] cheyinka
er, of disrespect. Oops.
Date: 2009-09-15 03:07 pm (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
I agree with the right to free speech. I agree with every citizen's right to stand up for what he believes in even if it means shouting down the president in congress. (Even if it is a major breach of etiquette. But sometimes you do have to put politeness aside.)

However...

HR3200, Section 246:

NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.


Now, illegals may sneak into the system. It's not entirely unheard of. And maybe there could be better protections against that (although such protections would come with a cost. Delay in care, perhaps. Or reluctance to seek care by those who are, for whatever reason, reluctant to undergo identity checks. That's a matter of debate, I suppose.

(Though it should also be mentioned that, as things stand, emergency rooms are currently required give care first and leave questions of legal status, ability to make payment, etc for later. Which, I believe, is how it should be.)

So... Wilson was rude. He was within his rights. But he was also factually wrong.

As for respect to the president... That's a whole other can of worms. To some degree, respect has to be earned and can be lost. On the other hand, every patriot, no matter the political affiliation, should have respect for the office. Protests against Bush were often carried past what I consider to be the point of appropriateness and good taste. (Then again, I also believe that the actions and policies of his administration degraded the office. But that's another matter.) It's a whole complicated mess, but it's a matter of personal judgment. Legally, we all have the right to speak our minds.
Date: 2009-09-15 05:15 pm (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
There are several versions of the bill under debate. All created by Congress. Obama never gave more than a broad outline. What he'd like to see in a plan. But it's Congress's job to actually make the laws, and he has explicitly reminded us of that on a number of occasions. And none of the bills under consideration grant protection to illegals. I should mention that one of the bills is being put together by a committee of 3 democrats and 3 republicans - 50/50 representation, even though the voting public supported rather different numbers.

I think claiming it as "his plan" was a rhetorical overreach, but insofar as he does have a plan, he's explicitly stated that it will not and should not include protection for illegals.

As for the office... We're not in the military, so I'm not entirely sure that analogy holds (and I'm not sure I like the implications if it does). But that said... I do believe it's possible for a commanding officer to bring disgrace to his office - through gross misconduct, abuse of power, etc. But that's a whole other debate.
Date: 2009-09-15 05:58 pm (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
MSNBC (with the exception of their morning host) is reliably liberal, yes.

Not to split hairs, however, but this is the first provision which would explicitly require proof of citizenship, not the first time the president has said the plan shouldn't cover illegals. It's an extra measure of protection. The previous plans didn't allow coverage for illegals, but this measure adds some security to back that up.

And, again... it's up to Congress to make the plan. Obama can only request. And he's been extra careful to show that (unlike his predecessor) he respects the founding principle of checks and balances.
Date: 2009-09-15 06:30 pm (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
The government was divided into three branches, each with its own domain, and each with checks against the other two. It makes government less speedy and effective, but it is supposed to prevent abuses of power. It's a system that failed during the Bush years, when unprecedented levels of executive power were seized and the other two branches withered and went along with it.

In some ways, it would be nice if Obama was more forceful. In other ways... he has to set the system right again. Restore the balance of powers. And I've been disappointed that he hasn't done a better job of it.

It's Congress's job to make the laws. It's the executive branch's job to execute them - to put them into effect. He can submit laws or ideas for laws. He can campaign for them, amongst the people and the lawmakers. But he can't simply order Congress to move forward with his agenda.

And he's got a complicated, multifaceted agenda. Which includes health care... but which also includes attempts to restore the balance of power and to heal the divide that has been exponentially growing between Left and Right. To get people to work together and to put the welfare of the country first.

As for Congress itself... yes, it's deeply flawed. The system of legalized corruption we have now is disgusting and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, that can only be done by the very people who are benefiting from the system as it is - Congress.

Obama did mention lobby reform and campaign finance reform here and there during the campaign (particularly the primaries), but he's left them by the wayside while he tries to deal with the economy and health care and the wars and everything else. And that's something I disagree with him on. You can't push forward with something like health care until you fix the system that's building it.

Anyway... yes, he's been passive. Perhaps too passive. But I think he's also been fighting (not always in the public arena) for the right things. He hasn't bowed to critics from either side, and he hasn't been afraid to take on more than one thing at a time.

But he's started to take a more active role, and I'm glad of that. I hope it continues. As long as he doesn't overstep. And as long as he finds a balance between doing everything that needs to be done and not spreading himself too thinly.

It's not an easy job and I don't envy him. And while I disagree with some of his actions (and inactions), I believe that he's more qualified to make those choices and calculations than I am.
Date: 2009-09-16 11:24 am (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
Not much to add, but I wanted to thank you for this. Civil debate seems to be becoming a lost art. I disagree with you on several points, but we also seem to agree on a fair number. And I respect your views and opinions. We just happen to fall on different sides of certain gray areas.

I don't know, I don't feel like I'm making quite as much sense as I should. Should probably have left this for when I was more awake.

Just trying to say that this was a good discussion, and it's been a while since I've had its like.

Something I've been pondering is that there's too much information out there. It's too easy to get. Which is very weird for me to say because I believe very strongly in Truth, Information, and Communication. Ideals to be treasured, things to be kept pure and freely flowing. But the downside to having so much readily available information from so many sources is that it forces you to pick and choose. We can't all just watch Walter Cronkite and then debate the news we got from him. Now one person watches Fox and the other watches MSNBC (and CNN fills its airtime with puff pieces and on-air tweets). So you hear from the people you agree with and get the facts that they choose to focus on... and you get them with the spin that they choose to put on it. And all it does is confirm what we already believe and isolate us from the people who believe otherwise.

I hear that there's a new provision about ID checks in Obama's health care plan and I see it as him strengthening his existing position (which he'd stated firmly but generally, with Congress to flesh out the details) in order to mollify the people who believe(d) that illegals would have been covered.

You hear that there's a new provision about ID checks in Obama's health care plan and you see it as evidence that he changed his position - that he'd perhaps been giving lip service to not covering illegals but hadn't really planned to enforce it.

It's the same fact, but we hear it through different filters. The filters themselves are nothing new, but they've become strengthened, more polarized. And I think that hurts us, and it hurts the debate.

So... thank you for opening the debate and for forcing me to step back and consider other possibilities and viewpoints. Even if my beliefs haven't changed (and I don't think yours have, either), I'm at least not taking them so much for granted.
Date: 2009-09-15 06:05 pm (UTC)

hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
Clinton's failure was a personal one. And yes, it does tarnish my respect for him. But my respect for him as president is another matter, because I think he was a good leader. I could say the same of Bush Sr., though I don't agree with everything he did. His son's actions... get into murkier territory, IMO.

So... I didn't like the "na na na na" singers. I thought that was poor form and poor taste and that Bush and the office of the presidency deserved better.

OTOH, if I met him personally... I'm not sure. I'd call him "sir," I expect. But I don't have much respect for him as a leader. And I think his conduct as a leader diminished national and global respect for the office. And that by abusing his executive power in more ways than I care to think about he tarnished the office itself.

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