President, Interrupted

Friday, September 11, 2009


Much of the media coverage of the President's address before a joint session of Congress focused on an outburst from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). Fred Beuttler, deputy historian for the United States House of Representatives, talks about other famous interruptions from the floor. Plus, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who had a front row seat, describes what it was like in the room.

Comments [14]

Roger Clough from Rockville, MD

Healthcare Bill throws gays under the bus

Although gays are celebrating the recent passing of the Ryan White
CARE Act, which provides healthcare to gays with AIDS/HIV,
Sen. Coburn below says that the Healthcare Bill will revoke those provisions
and leave gays with AIDS to be submitted, like the elderly, to rationing
of healthdcare. At $20,000 per year cost for AIDS medication, this looks
to be a very serious condition. See more below.

- Roger Clough
Senator Tom Coburn and Gay GOP Leader Expose Government Health Care Rationing for AIDS Patients in the U.S.

That’s the headline from Republican Senator Dr. Tom Coburn’s wonderful spokesman: “Senator Tom Coburn and Gay GOP Leader Expose Government Health Care Rationing for AIDS Patients in the U.S.”

The Advocate magazine published online an opinion piece by Dr. Coburn and Christopher Barron, chairman of the board of GOProud.

The article, “Govt.-Run Health Care Isn’t the Answer,” is here.

It pointed out that a person without insurance needs $20,000 a year to manage the condition:

You are told that there is a government program that can provide treatment, but there is a waiting list, and it may be months or years before you will finally receive the medication that would keep you alive. Without treatment, you could die.

Oct. 31 2009 01:31 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven

The disrespect shown our head of State is merely a reminder that Republicans do no believe in raw, political power when raw power will do and they will quite happily shoot down, and pin on a dupe whom they will portray as a lone kook, those who believe in and practice the former.

Sep. 18 2009 08:33 AM
matt claypool

Oops, didn't mean to submit that so many times.

I guess I should take this opportunity to apologize to other posters/readers, and ALSO to you the administrative site as I have wasted your space.


[Wow, Rep. Wilson, that was incredibly easy. I can't believe you won't go through with it. It's the right thing to do. I suppose I won't be telling my son to try to be like you. Good luck, sir, and good day.]

P.S. In case you wondered whether I hit send more than once on purpose to make this point, I did not. I'm not that clever, nor am I that good with the intertubes. However, the point stands.

Sep. 15 2009 11:18 PM
matt claypool

Look, the faces they were all simultaniously making, the paper waving, the (surprise) outburst... it is all so orchestrated, just like everything else the Republicans do. They have created a new language and a whole new set of "facts" (but then again so have the Democrats). So how am I supposed to believe that he just spontaneously (conservatives don't do impulse unless a woman is involved) blurted out a loaded word like "lie" (twice if you listen closely... how impulsive)? Especially since everything from the Republicans this summer has been more coordinated than a Girlscout convention.

Oh, and to not apologize to the chamber because Obama already accepted his apology just goes to show how little he means it. Just think about when kids do that. "(Disinterested) I'm... (deflated) sorry." "Now tell John you're sorry" "Ugh.... do I hafta? (Deflated) Oh, all right... (under breath) i'msory." Are parents okay with that? No. But why would we expect better from a grown adult?
And besides, when you insult someone's house guest, you apologize to the guest (Obama) you insulted, and you apologize to the owners of the house (The House) whom you've embarrassed by association with your moronic, childish behavior.

Sep. 15 2009 11:07 PM
Jack from Chicago

You can't have a meaningful debate without details and the president doesn't have any. His "plan" looks nothing like the ones in Congress. Also, you can't have a rule unless you have a plan to enforce it, or you might as well not have it.

What is certain about his plan are the costs, what is uncertain are the savings.

You'd have to be out of the loop, or perhaps in Germany, not to be aware of the media pressure that built on Van Jones and that is starting to weigh on some other administration figures.

Sep. 14 2009 04:58 PM
Phil Keys from Milpitas, CA

Actually, as a media strategy the outburst from the gentleman from South Carolina seemed to work very well since it ended up dominating much of the media coverage, rather then the substance of the speech. This seems to be an extension of the media strategy reflected by the "death panel" protesters, i.e. create enough "sturm und drang" and the media will cover that since it makes more for colorful coverage then the dry details of the actual substantive debate.

Sep. 14 2009 04:04 PM
Michael S. Cullen from Berlin, Germany

On Wilson's disrespect: With our presidential system, the offices of Head of State (President, King, Queen) and Head of Government (Chancellor, Prime Minister, Premier) are in one person. In Britain, the Queen is above such Wilsonian tactics, the Prime Minister has to take it when it comes at Question Time. And, while the Queen presides for life, the Prime Minister can be dumped even while he is triumphal (as happened to Churchill in 1945 during the Potsdam conference).
Wilson's best defense would be to say he was treating Obama as head of government. I would prefer it if we treated him as Head of State. We Americans should decide when our President is speaking as Head of State or speaking as Head of Government.
Regarding the claim that the President lies: isn't it up to OTM to fact-check that? (Of course, to those who don't wish to refer to the House Bill no amount of fact-checking will open their eyes, ears and brains). And yes, we taxpayers are paying now for non-documenteds.
On OTM on Van Jones: What does the Van Jones resignation have to do with the media?
No comment on Fox; here in Germany, it wouldn't pass the snicker test.
Michael S. Cullen, Berlin, Germany

Sep. 14 2009 01:48 AM
Not a Chance

Also, who the hell do you think is paying for the health care of illegals now, before reform???!!!

Sep. 13 2009 01:19 PM
Not a Chance

Well Aging Cynic,
So the Republican position is "We want a Bill that assures Illegals won't benefit in any way... also, no matter what IS ACTUALLY IN THE BILL, we're not going to believe it."

...and you boneheads really think you should have a seat at the table regarding Health Care Reform?????!!!!!!!

Sep. 13 2009 01:13 PM
aging cynic from Cape Cod Bay

What has Fox got to do with news? Well, unlike OTM, they covered the saga of Van Jones. Yeah, I can see why an advocacy journalist would ignore an issue interesting to tens of millions of Americans. (Ironically, a few weeks ago, Brook G. talked about the "echo chamber" of the internet. Sounds like OTM should look a bit closer to home for an example of an echo chamber). BTW, claiming that Sect. 246 will do what it claims is disingenuous in the extreme. Even Orwell would be amazed at this one. How many times do these people have to lie to you before you get it?

Sep. 13 2009 12:16 PM

Ah South Carolina! The state that brought us Preston Brooks (look it up)

Forget the sideshow about how much of an ass Joe Wilson is or isn't. Who is lying?

The House bill contains a section (Sec. 246) titled "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS," which states: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

From They go into a little more detail

A pointless anti-Fox reference? I mean what has Fox got to do with news, anyway?

Sep. 13 2009 11:19 AM
Mary Panzer from New York, NY

Dana Milbank's comments on the action inside the room were fascinating -- before TV (yes, there was such a time) this action would have been part of the story -- disaffection, wandering, chatting, general disengagement of the whole chamber (even if before TV there would have not been blackberries either, or cell phones, but you get the point). Milbank described a grim scene, in which the President no longer commands the attention of the legislature. That outburst by the gentleman from South Carolina was symptomatic of a larger problem, not some anomaly. Reporters are the only ones who can tell us this information, we can't all get there. TV provides the (dangerous) illusion that we can see what's going on --- but who will tell us what's happening outside the frame??

Sep. 13 2009 11:18 AM
Ned Badgett from Columbia, SC

It's interesting that in your clip of Mr. Obama's speech that he said that his opponents have lied. Yes, he used the very word. Did Mr. Obama cross a line, too? Perhaps therein lies a story.

Sep. 13 2009 09:25 AM
Good Riddance from Newark

How many weeks has it been since you threw in a pointless anti-Fox comment for good measure? Apparently too many! We get it, you don't like Fox, please spread your bloviating around a little. At least Dana had the decency to deflect your childish criticism.

How about the fact that the day after the speech, all the media was talking about was the liar accusations made by both Obama and Wilson? It's no wonder no one remembers what the speech was about.

Sep. 11 2009 10:03 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.