On the Sunday talk shows today, Republicans Newt Gingrich, Sen. Cornyn (R-TX), and Bill Kristol all ran to the defense of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). Cornyn said, “The Democrats have done a pretty consistent job of trying to demonize the people who show up at town halls, anyone who disagrees with their proposal.” Apparently the GOP sees nothing wrong with calling the president a liar.
On Meet the PressNewt Gingrich was asked if Wilson’s outburst hurt the GOP’s image. He answered, I don’t think either one. I think the–you may remember that in 2005 Democrats booed President Bush when he proposed Social Security reform. And there were dozens of Democrats booing him. It didn’t seem to be a very big issue that year. The fact is, the country’s looking at the speech and the country’s asking about the speech.”
Cornyn accused the Democrats of demonizing reform opposition and Wilson, “Well, there’s a time and a place for everything, and that was not the time or the place for that kind of comment. But, you know, the Democrats have done a pretty consistent job of trying to demonize the people who show up at town halls, anyone who disagrees with their proposal. This is not the time to be demonizing anybody, calling anybody names on either side. This is a time to try to work together to solve a practical problem. And we stand ready to do that if the president will meet us halfway.”
Kristol said, “He has apologized. It will be a disgrace if they do some stunt in the House to try to humiliate this man, who is, in fact — has a reputation for bipartisanship on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee he’s on.” Joe Wilson is a well known deather, who is one of the most partisan members of the House. Only in Bill Kristol’s mind could Joe Wilson be considered by bipartisan.
The Republican excuses being offered here are pretty weak. Gingrich equates booing with calling the president a liar on the House floor. It isn’t the same thing, and Cornyn is as delusional as Bill Kristol is he really thinks that Democrats are demonizing Wilson for no reason. This does hurt the Republican Party, because it made them look not like a sensible alternative to Obama, but as a gang of radicals.
There is also a larger problem for the GOP here. It seems like at least once a month Republicans are on the Sunday morning talk shows and they have to defend the actions of someone else in their party. Whether it is Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, or Joe Wilson, the GOP can’t get it together and focus on finding a message. This is a political party that has completely melted down.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association