Biden: It's OK, Nance. Wilson's just ranting about the brown folks again.
Image: Screenshot from this video by Cujo359
I was beginning to believe I would never see the day. Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), who shouted "you lie" at President Obama during his speech last night, apologized later that evening:
Midway through the speech, as the president was defending his plan to a chamber packed with members of Congress, Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, shouted, "You lie!"
Senior Republicans, including Obama's opponent in last year's election, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., quickly called for him to apologize. About 90 minutes after Obama finished, Wilson issued a statement saying he had "let my emotions get the best of me."
"My comments were inappropriate and regrettable," the statement said. "I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."
Rep. Joe Wilson Apologizes, Calls Outburst During Speech 'Regrettable'
Republican politicians and their supporters shout so many outrageous and stupid things these days that it barely counts as news. Apologizing for it, though, is something generally left to Democrats.
No, I really don't expect that this is the start of a new trend. It's more likely that they'll just avoid shouting nonsense during nationally televised speeches. Even that would be an improvement.
While we're on the subject, let's examine the content of this apology. Recall that Rep. Wilson shouted out this insult while the President was saying that illegal immigrants would not be benefiting from this plan. Of all the moments for what Wilson describes as an emotional outburst, why this one? Was he upset when Obama said that tens of millions of Americans are doing without health care? Was he mortified that people die every day from lack of such health care, and that this pitifully inadequate plan wouldn't be implemented for four years? Was he upset because a public option might conceivably mean that insurance companies won't suck every possible cent out of the health care system? No, he wasn't upset by any of those human or fiduciary tragedies. He was upset because he thought there was a chance that some of those sweaty brown people who enter the country illegally might be getting health care.
As Blue Texan notes at FireDogLake, avoiding the appearance of racism isn't high on Wilson's list of political priorities:
Long before Joe Wilson (R-SC) made a complete ass out of himself and his party on national television, he fought to keep the Confederate battle flag flying over South Carolina.
The flag came down that year  after Republicans in both houses went for a compromise that would put it on Statehouse grounds at the Confederate Soldier’s monument. The “Magnificent Seven” of Senators who voted to keep the flag up included current Congressman Joe Wilson...
That's right -- Wilson was one of only seven members of the South Carolina Senate to vote
to stick it to the blackskeep the battle flag. It was finally brought down under intense national pressure and from an NAACP boycott, which cost the state millions in tourism revenue.
South Carolina Congressman Who Screamed at President Obama Fought to Keep Confederate Flag
[links and emphasis from original]
In a more enlightened constituency than Rep. Wilson apparently represents, these would be unflattering observations.
UPDATE: Fixed the time of Wilson's apology. Originally, I'd said he apologized today. I also added the quote from Blue Texan.
UPDATE 2: Thers over at FireDogLake deserves the last word on this thing, if only for the title of his piece:
All I'm saying is that the problem with the "You Lie" thing is that it was crazy horseshit, not that it was impolite, even though it was impolite. [Washington Post writer Dana] Milbank is shocked, shocked at the lack of decorum at "what was supposed to be a sacred ritual of American democracy." Milbank is thus upset because an Unwritten Law of Washington Protocol was violated -- far more so than he is about anything like who is lying and who isn't about this "illegal aliens" race-baiting intentional-distraction nonsense.
The Shocking Lack of Civility in Our National Discourse, In My Considered Opinion, Sucks Hairy Baboon Ass
I couldn't agree more.