Joe Wilson couldn’t bring himself to be part of the solution

Lindsey Graham was pictured on the front of the WSJ this morning (at least, the iPad version), presumably because he was part of the solution. Joe Wilson was not.

Lindsey Graham was pictured on the front of the WSJ this morning (at least, the iPad version), presumably because he was part of the solution. Joe Wilson was not.

This release came in last night from Joe Wilson:

16169_200233014414_5107578_nPrior to and during the government shutdown, I voted in favor of multiple pieces of legislation to keep the government functioning and protect our fragile economy from default. I am disappointed that I could not support tonight’s legislation because it did not reflect my core beliefs of limited government and expanded freedom.  Congress has a long road ahead of us in the coming months and I remain committed to fighting for a better future for all of the constituents I have the privilege of representing in South Carolina’s Second Congressional District.

In other words, he happily voted for a number of purely symbolic pieces of legislation that had zero chance of becoming law, and which helped to precipitate this crisis which nearly threw the global economy down the stairs. But when he had the chance to vote for something that would end the crisis and move forward, he “could not support” it.

He just wanted to make sure you knew that…

35 thoughts on “Joe Wilson couldn’t bring himself to be part of the solution

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, here’s Jim Clyburn’s statement on the same subject:

    I am pleased the House is voting tonight on the bipartisan Senate compromise legislation to re-open the government, put people back to work, and pay the nation’s bills on time and in full. Going forward, we must get beyond the repeated episodes of partisan brinksmanship that have been so costly to our country. It is my sincere hope that this Congress will learn from this needless, manufactured crisis and work together to reach common sense solutions to our nation’s challenges and pass sound economic policies that create good jobs at good wages for hardworking people.

    Normally, I don’t agree with Clyburn any more than I do with Wilson. But this time, his release makes more sense…

    1. Doug Ross

      Too bad he probably didn’t say a single word in that release. Boilerplate lackey-generated nothing-ness.

      1. Barry

        Joe Wilson didn’t either.

        Notice his “it did not reflect my core beliefs of limited government and expanded freedom” – which means nothing. No specific examples, no roadmap – just a phrase that could mean 20,000 different things.

    2. Ralph Hightower

      What I have seen in Joe Wilson, is that he is not a leader. He is a follower. Joe follows the trend that he thinks will get him reelected again.

      Clyburns’s vote was expected and his response follows partisan lines. Yes, I’m jaundiced against politicians

      What was not really unexpected, was the sole Republican vote from South Carolina that ended this game of brinksmanship Lindsey Graham is the sole voice of reason from South Carolina.

      However, I will not vote for a Republican or a Democrat for the US Congress for the next three cycles. In this toxic atmosphere in Washington, I’ve realized that neither party is the solution. They are the problem! That’s why I’m not voting for either party for the next three cycles.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Also, since I used that image of the WSJ front with the Lindsey Graham picture in it, here’s what Graham had to say in that story:

    “This has been a very bad two weeks for the Republican brand,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who is up for re-election in 2014. “For the party, this is a moment of self-evaluation. Either we are going to assess how we got here and try to self-correct, or, if we continue down this path, we are really going to hurt the Republican Party long term.”

    Also, here’s Graham’s release last night on the deal that reopened the government:

    “To say we as Republicans left a lot on the table would be one of the biggest understatements in American political history. We could have done much, much better. Unfortunately, given where we now find ourselves, this agreement was the best Senator McConnell could do. By the time we got to this point, we were playing poker only holding a pair of twos.

    “Today’s agreement is far from great news but brings to an end, at least temporarily, a disaster. It stops the bleeding and gives us a chance to regroup.

    “On the positive side, the agreement preserves the spending caps and makes modest changes to protect taxpayers from what will be rampant fraud in Obamacare income verification procedures.

    “On the negative side, we did nothing to address the long-term drivers of our national debt.

    “I’m also very disappointed the agreement did not require every Member of Congress to participate in Obamacare. I will work with Senator Vitter to make sure Congress and the President have to live under this disaster of a law, just like every other American.

    “I’m glad this chapter is coming to a close but make no mistake, there are no winners here. President Obama was AWOL when it came to leadership. Democrats in the Congress constantly moved the goalposts and were focused only on scoring political points. And as Republicans, we overplayed our hand.

    “I hope we learn from the past few weeks. The problems with Obamacare will now be out in the open once this agreement is passed into law and the Republican Party still has an opportunity in 2014 because every Democrat owns this terrible idea called Obamacare.”

    You notice how his statement says a lot more than either Wilson’s or Clyburn’s? That’s because, unlike them, he’s a guy who wrestles with issues and thinks about them, rather than automatically voting with one ideological bloc or another. So it takes him more words to explain himself. Which is a GOOD thing…

    1. Doug Ross

      Graham used four times as many words to say the same thing as Wilson and threw in multiple partisan attacks on Obama, Obamacare, and Democrats. So today I guess partisanship is good.

      Guessing that if the exact same release had been sent out by Mark Sanford, you wouldn’t call it a GOOD thing.

  3. Juan Caruso

    “… couldn’t bring himself to be part of the solution”

    Excuse me, but if there has actually been a solution to “this crisis which nearly threw the global economy down the stairs”, what do you plan to say, Brad, when the the day of reckoning, a real criss, comes for Obamacare?

    As a journalist, I bet you had little trouble getting tickets for most events you wished to attend. When push comes to shove, do you think your political network will entitle you to avoid the ever lengthening queques that will become customary major surgeries?

    Favoritism has always been the essence of socialism. I am sure you will be in favor of higher fees and taxes on workers to keep hospital queques under 6 months, too. In case you are unaware, we can see it happening now:

    So, what will you say in 2020, when hospitals are being shuttered and consolidated left and right?
    Some of us hear it already. You and others will repeat your trite mantra: ‘well, the intent of the AFA was entirely laudable’.

    You can do much better than that if you start worrying about that day now.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Neither Social Security nor Medicare tanked this country (and, yes, both do need to be adjusted – that is absolutely true). What makes you think the ACA is the doomsday weapon that will pulverize our nation?

      Maybe hospitals will be “shuttered left and right in 2020” as you say – just as they were in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. It is called marketplace efficiency / economies of scale. If the ACA is a help in that trend, good; the country has far too many hospital beds as it is – and not enough scaled alternatives at present (we need a more robust ladder of care with only a few critical care hospitals for intensive care units and trauma centers, but many more lower level alternatives).

      1. Barry


        We have too many hospitals now- general hospitals – and hopefully the future will bring more alternatives to more people- alternatives that are more specific and focused – than the present system of a lot of average to bad hospitals compared to good hospitals.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        The ACA isn’t going to destroy anything because it’s broken. It doesn’t work. Heck, the site wasn’t even tested until a week before it launched.

        Sometimes I worry that liberal policies are going to take over, but then I realize that reality and math don’t care about the good intentions of liberals.

      3. Juan Caruso

        Mark, do you recall telling us that “facts don’t change peoples minds”? Your wild generalization is accurate for two unfortunate classes of people (fanatics and psychotics). We know your disdain for the Tea Party. Here’s a fact:

        “Yale law professor Dan Kahan posted on his blog this week that he analyzed the responses of more than 2,000 American adults recruited for another study and found that, on average, people who leaned liberal were more science literate than those who leaned conservative.

        However, those who identified as part of the tea party movement were actually better versed in science than those who didn’t, Kahan found. The findings met the conventional threshold of statistical significance, the professor said.

        Kahan wrote that not only did the findings surprise him, they embarrassed him.” Read more:

        Perhaps consistent with your first generalization regarding open-mindedness, today you drop another unfounded generalization on us: “…the country has far too many hospital beds as it is – and not enough scaled alternatives at present (we need a more robust ladder of care with only a few critical care hospitals for intensive care units and trauma centers, but many more lower level alternatives).”

        Readers here know I am a chef with (a requisite temperament) and extensive experience in other demanding fields, including financial management and fraud examination. If you ever told us that you are a physician, hospital administrator or social worker, I missed it.

        Although we seem to agree that the number of beds will be reduced as AFA is forced to curb its largely unplanned costs, wait times for surgery will increase dramatically, too. I question what personal experience you may have to inform your latest opinion regarding excess hospital beds?

        Of course, no one is holding his breath.

          1. Juan Caruso

            Cognitive dissonance aka “buyer’s remorse”. By all indications you bought into enactment of the AFA, while I never supported it. If cognitive dissonance is the best you could do for even your albeit evasive answers, by process of elimination you are applying it to yourself (i.e. changing your mind about the wisdom of the AFA).

            We can agree at last.

          2. Mark Stewart


            While I am sure that we agree on 99% of life’s issues; we are not lilely to agree about the stuff you want to agrue about – or how you frame these.

  4. Karen McLeod

    Having congress participate in Obamacare would be a step in the right direction. It would have been nice if they’d participated in what was in place before (which would still have been good insurance by most standards–didn’t notice Sen. Graham wishing for that, however). It would be even nicer if they limited their retirement plans to what most people get. I don’t hear many calls for that, either.

    1. Barry

      I agree somewhat.

      Of course I’m not sure why they should “HAVE” to participate in it. I don’t have to participate in it because I have health insurance now – same as Congress does.

      If I didn’t have health insurance, then it would make sense for me to have to participate.

  5. bud

    Typical Wilson weasel talk. Government too big, Obamacare bad. I’m acting on principal. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve followed Wilson since he was in the SC House of Representatives and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him utter anything constructive. But he did manage to show his ass by calling the President a liar.

  6. bud

    As for Graham, I don’t like him but he did get this pretty much right unlike the other 7 Republicans in the SC delegation.

  7. tired old man

    Joe Wilson disappoints.

    He disappoints acutely.

    Rather than providing a mature counter-balance to the emotional immaturity of the new tea party members of our congressional delegation, he became their cheerleader with his infamous and nauseating “you lie.”

    And, if he is so dedicated to controlling the limits and costs of government, why does he keep abusing travel? He has been to Red China at least two dozen times — which reminds me of the famous Randy Newman line about the college boy who “Went in dumb. Come out dumb too.”

    (BTW, the song is “Rednecks,” from the album “Good Old Boys” with Ry Cooder’s band backing up and half the Eagles doing background vocals. The album, released in the early 70s, is a searing look at the South and racism — and Joe Wilson is exhibit A that any progress has been despite its leadership.)

    Question is, at what point does his gerrymandered district find someone willing to take him out? Joe loves his red-meat audiences in Lexington and Aiken — but there are caring, concerned, and disappointed people in that constituency who find him absolutely repugnant.

  8. Silence

    How does overspending and creating a massive debt for our children and future generations “being part of the solution”? It sounds to me like it’s “part of the problem” or maybe the ENTIRE problem.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, Silence, the problem was that we were about to send the global economy off a cliff, completely needlessly.

      I will applaud loudly for whoever comes up with a way of eliminating deficits and reducing the debt, as Clinton and Republicans worked together to do in the late 90s — at least, they got a good start on it.

      Until something like that happens — and you and I know we are very, very far from anything like that happening — I’ll applaud anyone who manages to vote in a manner that evades catastrophe. It’s the best available to us at the moment.

      As for debt being “the ENTIRE problem” — no one with his eyes open could look at the world today and think that.

      It’s not even the biggest economic problem. That would be the lack of growth. That’s what’s killing us.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And no, they are not one and the same thing.

        Big spending on government neither automatically kills growth nor guarantees it, as the Keynesians would have. The world’s more complicated than that.

        1. Silence Doggy Dogg

          I know I’ve said this before, but growth isn’t necessarily the answer to solve all of our problems. There are two components of economic growth, really. One is population growth. If you take out the effects of immigration, we have a fairly stable population. As do most “developed” countries. We will rely on the developing world to provide our population growth in the future as fertility rates drop and stabilize in the developed world.
          The second factor in economic growth is innovation, particularly as it creates gains in productivity. We have had several major “leaps” forward in productivity. Advances in mechanization and agriculture freed up a large portion of the population from the task of growing food. The industrial revolution created massive efficiencies in the production of goods, making many former luxury goods into household items. Advances in computing and particularly advances resulting from the transistor made possible a host of other productivity gains in the service, manufacturing, and logistics sectors.

          Now I’m not saying that innovation has ceased, not at all. But what technologies are out there on the horizon that will have effects of the same magnitude as the ones that have been adopted since 1900? Moving from foot to a horse was a big change. Moving from the horse and buggy to the train, or to cars and trucks was a big change. Moving from human power to electricity was a big change. Antibiotics were a big change. Much of the “growth” in the last century came at a very high environmental and social cost. That is also probably not sustainable.

          What if we have moved into an era of much slower growth, or little growth at all. Sure we’ll see some efficiency increases and growth around the margins, but what if the next “revolution” is centuries away?

          As it is, I think that debt is the biggest problem we face as a nation. Basicaly, by deficit spending (and creating money out of thin air through the Federal Reserve) we have attempted to move the timeline to the left, to accellerate growth through spending. When we do that we make assumptions about the returns we will see on the spending, predominantly the rate of growth we will achieve. We might be able to get 4% this year and 0% next year instead of 2% this year and 2% next year, but I doubt we can get 4% this year AND 2% next year – just making up numbers there, but extend the timeline out indefinitely.

          How do we regear to be the best we can be without an unsustainable rate of growth?
          How do we pay for the services that we as a society consume?

          Ultimately, having a high level of borrowing will constrain our abilities and choices as a nation. Eventually the debt service and transfers to repay the SS “trust fund” will eat up a larger and larger portion of the federal budget. This will limit our ability to spend on discretionary items like social services, humanitarian projects, wars, infrastructure, and of course will limit our ability to cut taxes or spend to stimulate the economy.

          If you add each citizen’s share of the national debt, state debt and local debts, the picture gets pretty bleak already. It’s like you are already carrying around an additional mortgage equal in size to a home mortgage, and that’s a lot of debt to carry.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Seriously, though, you didn’t argue just now that lack of growth isn’t a problem. You just said that maybe we’re stuck with it, right?

            Who would have expected the growth in the late 90s from the Web? In retrospect, it makes perfect sense, but who would have predicted it 10 years earlier?

            OK, SOME people predicted it, if not 10 years earlier, at least a bit ahead of the curve.

            Bob Boyd of the KR Washington Bureau did a special project, either in the late 80s or early 90s, in which he predicted how a wave of new things were about to transform our lives. I don’t remember all the specifics, but I do remember that it was the first time I ever heard of GPS, and I was like, Wow. I’m still like that when I routinely use it.

            Another KR visionary (amazing that the company went down the tubes, when it once had people with vision) was the first person I ever heard of to mention a “tablet.” This was the early 90s. I couldn’t wait to have one. Now, I finally do, so I no longer read newspapers on paper (browser-based newspaper websites didn’t completely wean me from paper, but the iPad did).

            The tablet is even more awesome than I imagined back then…

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            And as sticklers point out, Roger Fidler maybe wasn’t the first to envision the tablet, but that’s where I first heard of it. Not from him personally, but from others in the company…

          3. Brad Warthen Post author

            Although frankly, with retina display and the ease of enlarging and shrinking images and type on something as compact as an iPad, do we really NEED foldable e-paper?

          4. Mark Stewart

            Geothermal power generation – deep drilling.

            Why do we spend so much effort chasing hydrocarbons when the earth’s core has more energy than we will ever use/need/impact?

            You want revolution? There it is…right under your feet.

            I also can’t wait for networked vehicles and roadways – automated on the go traffic control. I hate my commute!

          5. Silence

            You are correct. I’m not saying that it’s not a problem, but that it is possible that “the new normal” (and I hate that phrase) is an era of lower economic growth. So we should find a way to thrive in a climate of lower growth.

            Yes, we may have some revolutionary advance on the order of previous advances – possibly something that has not been forseen yet by the mainstream. Perhaps it’s some sort of energy independence, whether through geothermal, renewables, cheap abundant natural gas, or even nuclear fusion. Perhaps advances in computing power will enable networked vehicles – freeing us from our commutes, and further pushing down the costs to transport goods.

            Here’s my bet: Advances in medicine and our understanding of the human body will allow people to live healthier, longer and more productive lives. Cures or vaccines for things like cancer, stem cell treatments for hereditary diseases or injuries, that sort of thing. A cure for dementia or other conditions associated with aging. Perhaps the average lifespan might jump a decade or two in the next generation.. That sort of advance would provide the type of growth that we’d need to really grow economically.

            Imagine less people out of work for medical reasons, and average people having the ability to work productively until 80 or 90.

          6. bud

            Debt and deficits have the potential to be problems down the road but the biggest problem we face right now, by far, is the gigantic and growing, income inequality. Despite gains in productivity only a tiny fraction of the population benefits.

  9. Karen McLeod

    The tea partiers want to eliminate the debt, but don’t want to make the payments to do it. They’re like kids who think their mom increase their allowance by not buying the vegetables.

    1. Silence

      @ Karen – I’d be fine with paying more taxes if we could get control of the spending side. It seems like no matter what the tax rate is set at, we always find a way to spend just a bit (or a LOT) more.

Comments are closed.