Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Few Interesting Nuggets Regarding Republican Reactions to President Obama's Healthcare Speech

I wanted to briefly share a few interesting nuggets of information about some of the Republican reactions to President Obama's speech last night to a joint session of Congress.

First, I'm sure that everyone has heard about Rep. Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) shouting "You lie!" at President Obama as the President was, in fact, correctly debunking a right-wing lie. Well, according to ActBlue (a Democratic fundraising website), Rep. Wilson's 2010 Democratic challenger, Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, has raised over $150,000 since Rep. Wilson's outburst last night. Let's hope more Republicans like Rep. Wilson open their mouths, too.

It was also interesting to see House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) typing away on his BlackBerry instead of listening to President Obama's speech. A few days before the speech, in an interview with The Washington Times, Cantor was asked about Republican behavior for President Obama's speech (internal links omitted):

Cantor and I talked about how Republicans would behave, and I asked if it would be like a State of the Union when they sit on their hands or hiss for parts they don't agree with.

I also asked Cantor if there were going to be any "no Tweeting" rules for Republicans, since some of them had busy thumbs during Obama's winter quasi-State of the Union address.

"I don’t think we’re going to be guiding the caucus to boo or applaud or whatever. We’re all going to be very attentive," he said.

[Rep. John] Culberson is a frequent user of the Twitter machine, as I noted in a story examining the GOP's social media strategy.

Will the caucus tell Culberson to cool it? I asked Cantor.

"No comment. I don’t think the American people are interested in that or not," he said, adding: "It is time for some adult behavior here."

Attentive adult behavior, huh? And just for yucks, it's also worth noting that back in March, Rep. Cantor apparently elected not to watch President Obama's press conference in order to attend a Republican fundraiser at a Britney Spears' concert. And he didn't even take his daughter.

Anyway, when I saw Rep. Cantor typing away on his Blackberry, I went to Twitter to see whether, and if so what, he was tweeting, and possibly to send him my thoughts. By the time I found him on Twitter (he wasn't tweeting at the time), there were already numerous posts scolding him for his attention to his BlackBerry and inattention to President Obama. I decided to take a slightly different approach and tweeted this:
Do you use your Blackberry during Kol Nidre, too?
Finally, for those who watched Rep. Charles Boustany (R-Louisiana) offer the Republican response (of course to "respond" shouldn't you first "listen"...?) to President Obama's speech, there are few choice nuggets worth noting. First, it shouldn't come as any great surprise that Rep. Boustany took a strong position on tort reform; after all, he's been sued for medical malpractice several times and the State's medical compensation fund has had to pay out at least $1,800,000 for his conduct "below the acceptable standard of care" (and he settled another suit for an undisclosed sum). It is also worth noting that Rep. Boustany was apparently taken in by con artists from whom he attempted to buy a British royal title. He wanted to Lord Boustany! Rep. Boustany has also espoused "birther" views before endeavoring to disavow those same views. Oh, and get this: Rep. Boustany was a co-sponsor (!) of the proposal that Republicans have spent the summer criticizing as giving rise to "death panels" (forgetting that it was authored and co-sponsored by other Republicans).

I'd have to say that we saw a pretty strong performance from the Republican side last night, don't you?

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