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Posts Tagged ‘rep. joe wilson’

Elephant in the room: Race also present in rebuke of Wilson

By William Douglas | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — In their effort to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson, both white and black lawmakers in the House of Representatives voiced deep concern over a string of what they think are racially motivated attacks on the nation’s first black president.

“There’s no question that if you look at some of the actions and comments being made, there’s a fringe element that has staked out a racial position towards African-Americans that never has been open for public display” until now, said Rep. Henry Johnson, D-Ga., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Wilson “didn’t help the cause of diversity and balance with his remarks.”

The 240 to 179 vote Tuesday, largely along party lines, formally reprimanded Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, for shouting “You lie!” to President Barack Obama during his address last week to a joint session of Congress.

Wilson and the House GOP leadership protested, saying the measure was a diversionary tactic designed to deflect attention from the health care debate.

“It’s clear to the American people that there are far more important issues facing the nation,” Wilson said in his defense.

However, some Black Caucus members said that Wilson’s outburst is but the latest in a long string of ugly events rooted in racism, such as last week’s flap over Obama addressing the nation’s schoolchildren, protesters showing up outside Obama events carrying licensed firearms, and “birthers” questioning Obama’s citizenship. Black Caucus members say such incidents are designed to disrespect the office of the president now that a black man holds it.

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14 Things You Need to Know About Obama Heckler, Rep. Joe Wilson

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted September 11, 2009.

He was mentored by notorious racist Strom Thurmond, he’s taken hundreds of thousands from the health industry, and “Joe” isn’t even his real name.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson was pretty much a nobody until his outburst Wednesday during President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress and the American people on the subject of health care. Here are some things worth knowing about Mr. Wilson, including his most recent video appeal, at the end of this list, where he continues to characterize the Democrats’ health-care plans as “government-run,” saying he will not “be muzzled.”

1. Like his ideological counterpart known as Mr. The Plumber, his real name is not Joe. It’s Addison. His middle name is Graves. That makes him Addison Graves Wilson.

2. Wilson is a member of the organization, Sons of Confederate Veterans, reports Dave Niewert of Crooks and Liars, which “as the Southern Poverty Law Center has detailed assiduously, has been taken over in the past decade by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution.” (Not that Wilson’s affiliation has anything to do with his unprecedented heckling, during a presidential address before a joint session of Congress, of our first African-American president.)

3. Wilson served as an aide to the late segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond, who is credited with conducting the longest filibuster in Senate history — against the 1957 civil rights bill.

4. When Thurmond’s bi-racial daughter, fathered out of wedlock with an African-American teenage girl, came forward in 2003 — after Thurmond’s death — Wilson castigated Thurmond’s daughter, saying he did not believe her story. Essie Mae Washington-Williams was conceived of a union Thurmond had with his family’s 16-year-old maid. Thurmond was 22 at the time. “It’s a smear on the image that [Thurmond] has as a person of high integrity who has been so loyal to the people of South Carolina,” Wilson said, according to TPM. Wilson later apologized to Washington-Williams.

5. A large percentage of Wilson’s campaign contributions come from the health sector, according to OpenSecrets.org. Over the course of his eight-year congressional career, Wilson has collected $414,000 from the health sector, topped only by contribution from what OpenSecrets calls the “finance, insurance & real estate” sector, from which he has gleaned $455,000.

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