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Sep. 16 2009 - 8:04 am | 3 views | 1 recommendation | 4 comments

Joe Wilson and our misguided anger

Joe Wilson

Let me first state that I found Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress totally unacceptable. It was rude, disruptive, and a number of other adjectives. But much like how Joe lost control, and permitted his fury to erupt at an inappropriate time, liberals are focusing their valuable energy at the wrong person, and the subsequent witchhunt is taking time and energy away from the examination of far guiltier parties.

The House has voted to admonish Joe for his “You lie!” outburst, and Jimmy Carter has called him racist, while Joe’s son claims the eruption had nothing to do the President’s race. And yet the media keeps harping on Joe. Of course, the media would claim they’re just giving the people what they want: All Joe, all the time. This is the same excuse the media used during the Joe the Plumber diversion, another critical time of our history when serious debate got turned on its head for a spontaneous personality contest.

Guantanamo, Afghanistan, health care, Iraq, listing these real stories feels almost pointless in the presence of Joe Wilson’s public flogging. The man shouted during our President’s speech, but it’s not as though he interrupted a king. Certainly, he broke protocol (for which he’s been thoroughly admonished,) but now is the time to cut him loose. Too much time and energy is being wasted on these diversions when more serious crimes are being committed.

For example, around the time of Joe’s House censure commotion, Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive-turned-whistleblower, told a small group of reporters that the Baucus health care plan is an “absolute gift” to the industry. Perhaps Max deserves his own public undressing on par with Joe’s time in the spotlight. Robbing Americans at their chance of serious health care reform seems slightly worse than throwing a momentary hissyfit.

My interviews with Wendell Potter and veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman can be heard on this week’s Citizen Radio.


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    About Me

    I co-host Citizen Radio, the alternative political radio show. I am a contributing reporter to Huffington Post, Alternet.org, and The Nation.

    My essay "Youth Surviving Subprime" appears in The Nation's new book, Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover beside esssays by Ralph Nader, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Naomi Klein, who I'm told are all important people.

    G. Gordon Liddy once told me my writing makes him want to vomit, which is the greatest compliment I've ever been paid ever.

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    • In The Nation’s New Book


      Check out my article “Youth Surviving Subprime” in The Nation’s new book beside essays by Ralph Nader, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Naomi Klein.

    • Citizen Radio

      I co-host the biweekly political-comedy show, Citizen Radio. It’s like CNN, but with more swearing. Citizen Radio covers the stories that the mainstream, corporate media ignores. Past guests include: Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Matt Taibbi, Jeremy Scahill, Ralph Nader, Tariq Ali,  Janeane Garofalo, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and more…

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