Friday, September 11, 2009

On Decorum in Congress

We had a lively discussion yesterday on the matter of decorum in Congress and I was instructed at some length on the horrible breach of protocol from Congressman Joe Wilson (not to be confused with Ambassador Joe Wilson, who made a lot of money from calling the President of the United States a liar).

A little recent history seems to be in order. Consider the wise words of Representative Fortney "Pete" Stark of California, discussing the actions of the President of the United States, circa 2007:

You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

Let's see if we have this straight -- you cannot call the President of the United States a liar on the floor of the U.S. Congress. But you can say what Rep. Stark said, apparently. From what I can tell, he did not utter these words at a Rage Against the Machine concert, by the way.


Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, Charlie Rangel, another recent subject of your ire, denounced Stark's speech shortly after it was given. What I don't recall is Stark screaming this from the floor of Congress while Bush spoke to a joint session.

Whether Stark uttered that vile nonsense during a regular session, or during a Presidential address, he would be wrong to do so. But if he yelled it from the floor of Congress during a Presidential address, he would be wrong AND guilty of a terrible breach of decorum. If you think I am wrong about that, so be it. I know I am not.


Mr. D said...

So it's not a breach of decorum to go the floor of the Congress and accuse the President of the United States of having soldiers blown up for his own amusement?

Congrats. You cleared that shark.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Once again, touche. The Dems have a lot to answer for from these past 8 years before they can begin to act aggrieved.

my name is Amanda said...

I don't feel particularly aggrieved about Wilson's faux pas. I hope it doesn't take 24 comments to establish this, but the point is, he was addressing the nation - on national television, and it was rude and disrespectful to the President. After the initial surprise, I don't care that much, but it is what it is. The same act by any elected government official during such an occasion, toward any president, is disrespectful. That is the point.

It doesn't mean that you can't say anything about the president or any other elected official at any other time, or in the media. We NEED to call out elected officials when they go back on their word, or when they are simply lying. But calling out all the random occasions when people talked about Bush - it doesn't mean anything, unless you are talking about the same situation - being disrespectful toward the person who is leading our country, while he is addressing the nation. If there was name-calling or other disrespectful yelling going on at the 2005 State of Union address, then yes, this should warrant the same commentary.

Now I'm going to go back to being enraged about all the school supplies I'll have to buy for my future children.

Bike Bubba said...

Anonymous, the trick is that Stark's claims were false, while Wilson's were true; the Democrats had killed motions to prevent illegals from accessing a government option twice by party line vote.

And I don't know that we should really say that it's completely off limits to do this. Quite frankly, Obama was having trouble getting through a single sentence without an easily verifiable lie--why should honorable men stay quiet in such a situation? The scandal is that only one man spoke up, instead of all standing up and telling him that they were not going to listen to his lies.

Gino said...

hey yall,
lets stop calling this an address to the legislature.
this is what it was intended to be: a campaign speech designed to convince the public to support his plan.

that why he had it televised. that is why he gave it in prime time. and that is why he spoke falsehoods , because if his intended audience was the congress (who already know what is in the plan, since they wrote it) there would be no reason to say nine-tenths the shit he did.