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The Senate Hypocrite Who Condemns Rep. Joe Wilson for Telling Obama, "You Lie!"

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Posted on September 13 2009 7:00 am
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Senator Tom Harkin, with Barack Obama

Senator Tom Harkin, with Barack Obama

On his most recent MSNBC program, Ed Schultz assessed the merits of the healthcare speech Barack Obama had delivered Wednesday before a joint session of Congress. In somber tones, Schultz characterized the President’s reference to the late Senator Ted Kennedy as “the most moving part” of the address. Schultz then turned to his guest, Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat-Iowa), who now carries the torch Kennedy once held as chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Harkin made it clear that he would passionately lead the fight for what Kennedy termed “the cause of my life” – socialized medicine. “We’ve got to have a public option, and believe me, we’re going to have one,” said Harkin.

Inspired by Harkin’s resolve, Shultz drew the Senator’s attention momentarily to the now-infamous verbal outburst of South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson, who, during Obama’s speech, shouted “You lie!” in response to the President’s assertion that the Democrats’ healthcare proposal would not cover illegal aliens. “Have you ever seen that before?” Shultz asked Harkin regarding Rep. Wilson’s action. “Ever? Anything like it?”

And of course Harkin dutifully delivered his predictable, self-serving response: “Not in all my years here. I’ve been to presidential speeches there since Gerald Ford. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Ah, yes, the gentlemanly Tom Harkin’s delicate sensibilities evidently were offended by Rep. Wilson’s low-class heckle. After all, any well-bred gentleman like Tom Harkin understands quite well that it’s bad form to blurt out disrespectful taunts while someone else is trying to deliver a speech. Too bad poor Joe Wilson hadn’t taken etiquette lessons from Harkin, the gentleman. Had Wilson done so, he could have avoided all the public controversy that his Wednesday-night outburst subsequently sparked. He would have understood that the proper way to express disagreement with what a speechmaker is saying, would be to do what Tom Harkin himself did during a speech by his Republican opponent in a 1972 congressional election campaign. On that occasion, Harkin, who had been urged to run for public office by the Institute for Policy Studies, a Marxist-oriented “think tank” that has long supported Communist and anti-American causes around the world, did not stoop so low as to interrupt his opponent’s speech by blurting out any pithy, unfriendly remarks from a distance. Instead, he did precisely what any other gallant statesman would have done: He forced his way onto the stage and shouted, from the top of his lungs, that his opponent was polluting the air with “a pack of lies.”

So much for the Gentleman Tom Harkin (Hypocrite-Iowa).

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