Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brooks on Korea's parliamentary behavior and Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst

While discussing the "You lie!" outburst by Republican Representative Joe Wilson during President Barack Hussein Obama's speech to Congress on health care, David Brooks on PBS's "Newshour" had this to say about the inappropriateness of such behavior:
Yes, I think Republicans knew that immediately. The man -- you may disagree with him, but he's the head of state. He's our president. He's all of our presidents. And there's a certain matter of decorum.

This is not Britain. This is not Italy. This is not Japan or Korea. We do not have a parliamentary system where it's OK to shout at the leader because he's a head of state as well as the head of the government.
Point of information: South Korea doesn't have a parliamentary system either, but the utter lack of decorum (at times) is spot on. He should have thrown Taiwan in there for good measure.

Anyway, the point he was making was that Representative Wilson's divisive remark may have cost the Republicans dearly in the battle for hearts and minds by demonstrating — through himself — that Republicans (some at least) are more about divisive partisan bickering than reaching out for common ground. Mark Shields on the same program about how such behavior came to be:
But there's been this broad corrosion over many years in the way people talk in private, and then so suddenly he behaved in a way that normally there would be just so many unconscious barriers -- you would never scream out "You lie!" to a president right there in that room. But those barriers have been eroded. He went further than anybody has gone before or at least recently at least...
So in the end, was it worth it? He got in his dig that President Obama was lying about not covering illegal aliens (which, eventually, someone may have to decide do, if for no reason than to curb the financial costs and structural strain on emergency rooms), but at what cost to his own cause?

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14 comments:

  1. Totally agree. It further hurt the Republicans and freed to the Dems to cut them as negotiation partners and concentrate on the blue dogs.

    It also gave us this little bit of comedic distraction:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattw/mtvs-you-lie-with-joe-wilson-arl/

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  2. "We use strong language upon this point, because the greatest danger to which our republican institutions are now exposed proceeds from this inclination on the part of the discontented few to obstruct all action whatever, and rather to have no government at all, than a government which is in some respects distasteful to them.
    . . .
    Furious menaces and bellowing exaggeration take the place of calm and
    dignified debate; the halls of the capitol often present scenes which would disgrace a bear-garden; and Congress attains the unenviable fame of being the most helpless, disorderly, and inefficient legislative body which can be found in the civilized world."

    Quote pulled from The North American Review, Vol. 71, No. 148 (Jul., 1850), pp. 221-268.

    Lets not pretend that the US Congress has ever been a model of decorum or intellectual debate. Wilson's outburst was unusual but by no means unprecedented, and while it shouldn't be encouraged, let's not make into a bigger deal than it is.

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  3. Anyway, the point he was making was that Representative Wilson's divisive remark may have cost the Republicans dearly in the battle for hearts and minds by demonstrating — through himself — that Republicans (some at least) are more about divisive partisan bickering than reaching out for common ground.

    Did you listen to same speech I did? The Republican are more about divisive partisan bickering? And President Obama's speech wasn't full of divisive partisan attacks? Remember, as poorly as Joe Wilson might have responded, his outburst did come after President Obama himself accusing the Republicans of lying and followed it up with a whopper about illegal aliens not being included in his proposed health care reform. Besides, wasn't it Obama who talked about "calling out" Republicans for distorting his health care initiatives? All Wilson did was do a bit of "calling out" of his own.

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  4. John B wrote:
    Lets not pretend that the US Congress has ever been a model of decorum or intellectual debate. Wilson's outburst was unusual but by no means unprecedented, and while it shouldn't be encouraged, let's not make into a bigger deal than it is.

    Brooks and Shields made that same point. One referred to the polarization as cyclical, but another pointed out that "recently at least" this outburst against an invited president was unusual.

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  5. Robert wrote:
    a whopper about illegal aliens not being included in his proposed health care reform

    Link for your claim, per favore.

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  6. ZenKimchi,

    I'm glad to see Corbin Bernsen is getting work.

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  7. "Link for your claim, per favore."

    He doesn't have to link because Obama has yet to secure the borders against those who continue to bypass the legal means of entering the U.S., and the 12+ million already in the U.S. will continue to enjoy the benefits of a liberal medical policy involving emergency room treatment, and soon, hopefully, universal treatment as hospital administrators will have no clue as to who is actually in the country legally and entitled to treatment and will treat everyone equally as they aren't versed in deciphering fraudulent immigration documents.

    Both sides can claim a victory of sorts as it has filled both the incumbent's and his challenger's war chests.

    Here's a couple of link's from my local TV station about the continuing onslaught of people looking for better lives while line jumping—I couldn't find the one from a couple weeks about about some scum smugglers abandoning a 5 year-old Central American boy to the South Texas heat to die because he was slowing the group down though:

    http://www.krgv.com/news/local/story/Suspect-Jumps-Out-of-Moving-Vehicle/QpDEo6rGjEixNEqz2SydwA.cspx

    “LA JOYA - A man is facing human trafficking charges, after police find more than 20 illegal immigrants in his vehicle. Police say they got a call about a suspicious vehicle on Santos Ramirez Road in La Joya. They tell us when they arrived and tried to approach the driver, he took off.
    The driver led them on a chase to Mission. Police say that's where he jumped out of the moving Suburban. Officers found the driver a short time later under a shed. They took him into custody. Officials say inside the Suburban, they found nearly two dozen illegal immigrants. They'll be turned over to Border Patrol.”

    http://www.krgv.com/news/state/story/Border-district-to-turn-back-students-from-Mexico/BKNZYfMiPkiMTd-wPPw_JQ.cspx

    “DEL RIO, Texas (AP) - Mexican children have crossed the border in Del Rio for years to attend public school, using U.S. addresses to enroll illegally. But this year, school officials plan to kick them out.

    Officials from the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District stood at the border port that separates Del Rio from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, and watched for school children entering the U.S. on Wednesday morning.

    Parents were handed a letter, warning that their children will be withdrawn from school unless they provide proof of residence in the United States immediately.”

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  8. This is all about the underlying, hideous factor of the racism that is so deeply ingrained in the American character. The attempt to portray this president (Of all people!) as a socialistic, left wing extremist doesn’t even pass the giggle test for people who have bothered to pay attention to their times and their history. Let’s face it - Franklin D. Roosevelt, he ain’t! They can’t obstruct his agenda with a manufactured scandal regarding his personal life, as they did with Bill Clinton. eleven years ago. Their only hope is for enough of the American people to become really frightened by the Big, Bad Negro Commie. An ironic description when one takes into consideration how boringly moderate Obama really is.

    Think about this: In the last presidential campaign only one of the nominees of the two major political parties was born in the United States - Barack Obama - John McCain was born in Panama. Do you find it as revealing as I do that it was the black guy had his citizenship called into question? How much more proof do we need of the overt racism that is inherent in that party - or in our own country for that matter? Honestly, this isn’t rocket science, folks!

    But wait! It gets better! Now Glenn Beck is slated to become the Martin Loony King of the Far Right thanks to his stupid “March on Washington” yesterday.

    Isn’t life interesting?

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

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  9. ". . .will continue to enjoy the benefits of a liberal medical policy involving emergency room treatment, and soon, hopefully, universal treatment as hospital administrators will have no clue as to who is actually in the country legally and entitled to treatment and will treat everyone equally as they aren't versed in deciphering fraudulent immigration documents.
    . . .
    some scum smugglers abandoning a 5 year-old Central American boy to the South Texas heat to die. . ."

    Am I the only one reading a weird parallel there?

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  10. John B--Yes, that poor boy received free emergency medical attention even though he was in the country illegally while trying to re-unite with his parents in California; however, he will be going back to Honduras as his relatives back there got their consulate to contact the Border Patrol when he didn't show up as scheduled.

    It seems that Joe Wilson's "you lie! outburst" has some merit to it after all.

    Sadly, their aren't any easy answers on either side of the border. I'm torn, as are many others who live along the Southwest border, because I have family on both sides of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo.

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  11. John from Taejŏn wrote:
    He doesn't have to link because Obama has yet to secure the borders against those who continue to bypass the legal means of entering the U.S., and the 12+ million already in the U.S. will continue to enjoy the benefits of a liberal medical policy involving emergency room treatment, and soon, hopefully, universal treatment as hospital administrators will have no clue as to who is actually in the country legally and entitled to treatment and will treat everyone equally as they aren't versed in deciphering fraudulent immigration documents.

    You are conflating two entirely different issues. Yes, because of EMTALA, an unfunded mandate, illegal aliens, the homeless, the poor, and anyone who walks into an ER must be provided emergency care by the hospital, regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay.

    Your statement that that brings them into Obama's "universal" healthcare system would be true only if the system were so extensive that people basically did not have to carry around proof of insurance, which is a highly doubtful proposition at this point.

    The models of health care of the scope Obama is proposing are along those that already exist in Hawaii, not Canada or Britain. And maybe South Korea or Taiwan for good measure.

    Hawaii has offered near universal coverage since 1974, with expansion in 1993.

    Yet, if you walk into anything other than an ER (again, an existing situation not created by Obama), you cannot take advantage of Hawaii's universal health care unless you show your HMSA number or other appropriate documentation (HMSA is not the only coverage allowed).

    Ditto with South Korea, which has just about everyone covered, but where you also have to show your NHIC card or provide your legitimate number in order get benefits.

    There is no reason to expect there would be a different type of system under Obamacare that would "take all comers" at non-ER facilities.

    And that is what I'm asking for evidence of.

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  12. As for the ER issue, I think some future president is going to have to make the tough and unpopular decision that expanding non-ER coverage in some way to all comers is necessary so that illegal aliens, the homeless, and the poor do not plug up emergency rooms.

    Forcing such people into ERs for what had started out as routine problems is penny wise and pound foolish. Emergency room visits are expensive, and it is far cheaper and causes considerably less strain on medical infrastructure to get them into "normal" care of some kind.

    Perhaps a "bookmobile" type approach, a serious effort at expansion of "free clinics" that are subsidized to take all comers, or some such will provide that relief. The problem is that the people who would save money by changing to a better system are not the people who would have to pay for that better system. This is why healthcare needs to be orchestrated and coordinated at the government level, even if the players are largely made up of private individuals and corporations.

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  13. Finally, I think that any effort like I mentioned in the last comment there would probably have to go hand in hand with a serious effort to curtail and reduce illegal immigration.

    I'm not against "securing the borders against those who continue to bypass the legal means of entering the US" per se. What I'm against is the public demonization of Hispanics as if every person on the street who looks Latino is considered an illegal by default.

    Since I know a lot of people who read this are English teachers in Korea and there's a lot of talk about how unfairly English teachers have been portrayed in news outlets like the Chosun Ilbo, I want to say that I feel there are considerable and relevant parallels.

    When half the commentariat in places like Dave's ESL would agree that the only thing Korea ever invented was racism, you've got some gross hypocrisy going there, because a lot of the narrative comes from a place where those same critics are utterly ignoring the racist demonization of Hispanics that is RAMPANT in their home country (if their home country is the US).

    Reading the commentary of just about any story in the Orange County Register is a sobering reminder of this. Frankly, I'm tired of it.

    But of course, "securing our borders" would likely require invasions of privacy that Americans with a libertarian streak would not tolerate, like invasive background checks when looking for work, or implementation of a national ID that would have to be carried around at all times.

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