Moving quickly, Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner's head.
September 9, 2009 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina heckled the president of the United States from the floor of the House during a joint session of Congress this evening, screaming "You lie!" while the President addressed Republican spin regarding medical benefits to immigrants. This is not the first time that representatives from South Carolina have disgraced Congress.

In May, 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Masschusetts gave a speech describing slavery as a harlot, comparing South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler with Don Quixote for embracing it, and mocking Butler for a physical handicap. Three days later, Congressman Brooks advanced on Sumner while he worked at his desk in the Senate chamber and beat him into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to strike Sumner's prone and unconscious form until he snapped his cane in two. Fellow South Carolinian Congressman Laurence Keitt brandished a pistol to repel anyone attempting to stop the attack.

The next part of the story reflects the true honor and chivalry of the gentleman from South Carolina. Massachusetts congressman Anson Burlingame was a vocal critic of the attack. When Burlingame denounced Brooks as a coward on the floor of the House, Brooks challenged him to a duel, and Burlingame accepted the challenge. Burlingame, as the challenged party, specified rifles as the weapons, and to get around anti-dueling laws he named the Canadian side of Niagara Falls as the site. Brooks backed out of the challenge, claiming that he would be murdered on his way north. Burlingame's reputation as an avid deer hunter and a deadly shot with a rifle could also have been a factor.

Although his slow recovery took years, Sumner still fared better than Kentucky congressman William Taulbee, who was angry about an article reporter Charles Kincaid had written. When Taulbee later saw Kincaid in the halls of Congress, he lunged at him and pulled his ear. The reporter pulled a gun, and the Congressman was shot dead on the southeastern stairway of the Capitol, right in front of the entrance to the House restaurant. Kincaid claimed self-defense during his trial for murder -- and was acquitted. You can still see the blood stain on the marble steps today.
posted by minimii (57 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Mefi posts need interesting links first and foremost -- mathowie



 
No, go away.
posted by gum at 8:44 PM on September 9, 2009


I saw something about this on twitter, but it passed by so fast I didn't get the whole gist
posted by jsavimbi at 8:45 PM on September 9, 2009


Heh. Wilson's official web site (http://www.joewilson.house.gov/) is currently down for maintenance.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:46 PM on September 9, 2009


Joe Wilson's official H.R. website -- "This site is down for maintenance. Please check back again soon."

Congressional phone (202-225-2452) -- busy signal and/or mailbox full. South Carolina phones (803-939-0041; 843-521-2530) -- busy signal and/or mailbox full.
posted by ericb at 8:47 PM on September 9, 2009


You have a good point. There is no case, in any way, shape or form, during which our representatives should disagree.
posted by CountSpatula at 8:47 PM on September 9, 2009


I attended one of Congressman Wilson's town halls a few weeks ago and approached him at the end to ask him what he was doing to represent the 46% of his district that voted for the Democratic candidate (Rob Miller, who will be running against him again in 2010) last November. His response: "Well, we've mailed some stuff out to every voted in the district to reach out to them." Gee thanks, you douchebag.
posted by chiababe at 8:48 PM on September 9, 2009


Right. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina heckling the President is the story here. Not the fact that the President has thrown us under the bus Vis-à-vis single payer.
posted by nola at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Republicans are now coming out and condemning their colleague. On CNN, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that Wilson's outburst was 'totally disrespectful': 'He should apologize immediately.' Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said, 'I thought that was unfortunate. [Obama's] the president. He deserves more respect than that.'" *
posted by ericb at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2009


His campaign website (http://joewilsonforcongress.com/) is down too.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:51 PM on September 9, 2009


Congressional phone (202-225-2452) -- busy signal and/or mailbox full. South Carolina phones (803-939-0041; 843-521-2530) -- busy signal and/or mailbox full.

I'd wager 50% or more of those calls/messages are in support of his actions.
posted by spicynuts at 8:52 PM on September 9, 2009


I'm sorry, is this post about a current event (in which case maybe the current event should be linked somewhere) or is it about a historical event (in which case maybe it needs a little more linkage than a wikipedia link and a senate.gov link)?
posted by yhbc at 8:53 PM on September 9, 2009


Countspatula, disagreeing is one thing. Violating your own party's rules of decorum is a whole different ball of wax.

"[I]t is not permissible to use language that is personally offensive to the President, such as referring to him as a 'hypocrite' or a 'liar.'"
posted by chiababe at 8:53 PM on September 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Shouting and holding up pathetic home made signs; The right seems to be getting more childish everyday. If that had happened to GW, there would have been calls for waterboarding and/or execution for being a traitor.

I keep saying that the right really thinks we are a bunch of idiots, but they have no respect for their own voters either.
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:53 PM on September 9, 2009


Andrew Butler's deed is infinitely more evil and magnificent than Joe Wilson's. This post compares leather to lotioned kleenex.
posted by gum at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2009


Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina heckled the president of the United States from the floor of the House during a joint session of Congress this evening, screaming "You lie"

Video of the incident [01:52].

Hint, minimii: in future FPPs, please provide hyperlinks to the current event before providing those of other and/or historic significance.
posted by ericb at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2009


Remember when it was disrespectful to criticize our president during a time of two wars?

Fuck you you racist GOP pigs.
posted by bardic at 8:55 PM on September 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or, what yhbc points out!
posted by ericb at 8:55 PM on September 9, 2009


Ah, I was waiting for this to show up. This was nuts. Absolutely unbelievable. The president heckled by a congressman at a speech to the joint session? It felt for a second like one of the more insane town hall meetings. It took Obama a few minutes to recover. It was very tense, very strange.
posted by xorry at 8:55 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's send some pizzas to his house, guys!
posted by SassHat at 8:55 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shouting and holding up pathetic home made signs; The right seems to be getting more childish everyday.

GOP Lawmakers Treat President Obama’s Joint Address To Congress Like A Town Hall Protest.
posted by ericb at 8:57 PM on September 9, 2009


Right. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina heckling the President is the story here. Not the fact that the President has thrown us under the bus Vis-à-vis single payer.
In what universe was it that, before tonight, there was even a snowball's chance in hell of a single payer system passing Congress?

It was never even under serious discussion, as far as I know.
posted by Flunkie at 8:57 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wilson apologizes:
“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”
posted by ericb at 8:58 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Biden and Pelosi's faces when Wilson heckles Obama are priceless. Biden's all like, "Yep, he really went there," but Pelosi's robot programming can't quite parse what just happened.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Biden and Pelosi's faces when Wilson heckles Obama are priceless.

Photo.
posted by ericb at 9:01 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pelosi's robot programming can't quite parse what just happened.
Huh? Her jaw literally dropped.
posted by Flunkie at 9:01 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rep. Wilson, please keep your ignorant pie-hole shut while the adults are talking. Thanks.
posted by Ratio at 9:02 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not the fact that the President has thrown us under the bus Vis-à-vis single payer.

That was never going to happen. Do you not remember Obama's campaign ads presenting his plan as a middle way between single payer and the current system? That's been his consistent rhetoric since the primaries began.

Here's an example.

posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:02 PM on September 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Significantly higher quality video.
posted by Flunkie at 9:02 PM on September 9, 2009


I don't know. I wish someone had had the courage to do this during a Bush speech. I wish Barney Frank had gotten up at the podium and excoriated Cheney for his lies. Now, I'm an Obamist, no question, but I don't think what Wilson did was that bad.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:02 PM on September 9, 2009


Cool Papa Bell, here's a picture of that moment ... if looks could kill, Wilson would've been dead right then and there.
posted by WCityMike at 9:03 PM on September 9, 2009


Whoa, Joe Scarborough's tweet:
Whoever shouted out that the president was lying is a dumbass who should show the President respect. I hated when Democrats shouted at Bush.

WTF, Joe?

When did Democrats heckle Bush like this?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:04 PM on September 9, 2009


the President has thrown us under the bus Vis-à-vis single payer.

What planet were you living on where that was even an option? It certainly was never part of Hillary, Edwards or Obama's platforms.
posted by empath at 9:05 PM on September 9, 2009


The outburst does seem to be in keeping with the "any attention is good attention" strategy ( see "death panels", "birthers", etc ) that the Republicans seem to have been successfully employing.

No matter what you thought of the speech ( I thought it was pretty good ), every time it's covered, now we'll have to relive this magic moment of weapons-grade douchebaggery. Ugh.
posted by HannoverFist at 9:05 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You have a good point. There is no case, in any way, shape or form, during which our representatives should disagree.

You'd have a good point if there were a valid "disagreement". Instead, we have a douchebag yelling at the President and calling him a liar when in reality:
H.R. 3200: Sec 246 — NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
Either Joe Wilson hasn't read the bill and is simply ignorant, or he's the liar.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:05 PM on September 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


My heavens, B. Obama is one smooth operator. He barely missed a beat. If this had happened to W, he'd still be stammering like Porky Pig over it!
posted by SassHat at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2009


I'm so tired of the Respect the President bullshit, when either side does it. If he's lying, call him a liar.
posted by empath at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2009


In what universe was it that, before tonight, there was even a snowball's chance in hell of a single payer system passing Congress?

I don't know what you're talking about. On another note, the President also threw us under the bus vis a vis a space elevator, cutting the military budget to $100 billion a year, and on providing a unicorn for every pot.
posted by Justinian at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure, Chiababe. And the Democrats have *never* done this.
posted by CountSpatula at 9:07 PM on September 9, 2009


It was never even under serious discussion, as far as I know.

I don't see why "the Public Option" would not have morphed into single payer over time, assuming our Republican friends on the right could have been kept out of power during this interval of growing public acceptance of a public agency directly providing health insurance.

No public option probably puts this future out of the possible in my working lifetime, and I'm in my 40s.
posted by Palamedes at 9:07 PM on September 9, 2009


I'd wager 50% or more of those calls/messages are in support of his actions.

"You go Joe. Let that n****r know his place!"
"The Birthers, the Deathers, and now the Schoolers all have one thing in common. They have found ways to undermine the President, creating an alternate universe where Obama is not the Commander in Chief. These anti-Obama groups know that they will not be taken seriously if they discredit President Obama merely because of his race. Instead, they mask their antagonism toward America's first Black President as partisan differences. They have not accepted that President Obama is our President."
posted by ericb at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2009


America's reaction to Rep. Wilson's outburst can be summed up in four words: "Oh no he didn't!"
posted by WCityMike at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2009


(btw joe, if you're reading, it's really easy to search for words in PDFs these days, you should get one of your interns to show you how to operate that fancy computer-box on your desk)
posted by Mikey-San at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2009


Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
The Republican claim is that there is no "enforcement mechanism" for this in the bill. And so, in the parallel dimension that their brains reside in, therefore illegal immigrants are covered by this bill.
posted by Flunkie at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2009


Either Joe Wilson hasn't read the bill and is simply ignorant, or he's the liar.

I'd go with IGNORANT and a LIAR!
posted by ericb at 9:08 PM on September 9, 2009


Hah, i just noticed that flunkie said almost the exact same thing i did re: single payer before i posted...
posted by empath at 9:09 PM on September 9, 2009


No public option probably puts this future out of the possible in my working lifetime, and I'm in my 40s.

I figure public option will be in Obama's second term when the insurance companies bend people over the barrel after the mandates kick in.
posted by empath at 9:10 PM on September 9, 2009


I disagree
posted by philip-random at 9:11 PM on September 9, 2009




Sure, Chiababe. And the Democrats have *never* done this. (CountSpatula)

Unless I misunderstand you, CountSpatula, please do reveal to us exactly when Democrats yelled out offensive terminology interrupting 'President' Bush while he addressed a joint session of Congress.
posted by WCityMike at 9:12 PM on September 9, 2009


SHOW ME ON THE FLOOR WHERE HE YELLED AT YOU
posted by Mikey-San at 9:12 PM on September 9, 2009 [9 favorites]


Biden and Pelosi's faces when Wilson heckles Obama are priceless.

Photo.


President Obama looks like "I'm gonna mess you up. Maybe not right now, but real soon."

What an ignoramus Wilson is. His constituents must be so proud.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 9:13 PM on September 9, 2009


I wish we had a system more like Prime Minister's Questions to be honest. Then you can stand up and call him a liar face to face, if you want, and he could respond.
posted by empath at 9:14 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Republicans: All they can do is yell
posted by Ironmouth at 9:15 PM on September 9, 2009


Excuse Me, Adults are Talking
posted by empath at 9:16 PM on September 9, 2009


Who was the guy with the sign? It looked like the first word was "What" but I couldn't read the second one below it.
posted by Big_B at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2009


It's embarrasing that this (and garbage like Stephanopoulus' "ooh it was so emotional!") will get more coverage over the next week than any policy aspect of the president's speech.
posted by mediareport at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2009


What an ignoramus Wilson is. His constituents must be so proud.

They just might be. "You go Joe, put that *n****r* in his place. You tell him we don't believe him. The *wet****s" are stealing our jobs. Their kids are getting free educamation on us. And now they'll get free health care on us! You go Joe!"
posted by ericb at 9:18 PM on September 9, 2009


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