Friday, September 11, 2009

Joe Wilson, Robert Bork and political discourse

So NOW political discourse has become crass. The outrage on the left over the “you lie” comment is so over the top that is has become a caricature. I have expect to see journalists fanning their peers who have fainted from shock. Oh, oh the horror of it all! Politics has always been so polite and genteel until Joe Wilson and those un-American fascists mobs who expressed their opinions to their elected public servants!

Guess what, political discourse has always been crass. Read old political speeches and cartoons and see how courteous they are. Congressman have attacked one another verbally, with canes and in one famous (at least outside of public schools where it probably isn’t even mentioned) incident where a former Vice-President of the United States killed the 1st Treasury Secretary in a duel. So please, save the phony outrage. I found Representative Wilson’s outburst unseemly. On the other hand, a two second outburst during a political stump speech to push socialized medicine pales in comparison to some of the other events that have taken place in the Capitol Building.

Let us take a trip down memory lane to one of the darkest moments in American political history.

Less than an hour after President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, an indisputably qualified man and under the exercise of the right and duty of the President to nominate Court justices, Senator Edward Kennedy rushed to the Senate floor to deliver these now famous remarks:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is -- and is often the only -- protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy... President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice."

The language Senator Kennedy used was coarse and the opinions he presented as fact as demonstrably false. There was not a lick of truth in anything he said. In other words, he lied on the floor of the Senate. That speech galvanized the left and their media cronies and in short order Robert Bork was denied a seat on the highest court in the land. A man who is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant legal minds of our times was destroyed by a crass and illegitimate attack by a man who has no business casting aspersions at anyone else. The results of that speech go far beyond Robert Bork and have led to a dumbing down of political discourse to the point that no one is permitted to have and express a position for fear of being “Borked”.

Representative Wilson was probably right that President Obama was lying, but he was wrong to shout out during the address. In a wired world, there are plenty of ways to spread the truth about what President Obama was trying to sell. Having said that, it is a far more egregious show of poor taste and far more damaging to the governing process for liberals to get outraged over a two second outburst just weeks after canonizing Ted Kennedy as a master statesman.
Post a Comment