Obama, Joe Wilson and D.L. Hughley

I was watching D.L. Hughley (I think) on “The Ed Show” when he said that among the things he would criticize President Obama for would be his failure to have Joe Wilson removed from the House chamber when he shouted “you lie” at President Obama during a joint session of Congress. Could Obama have doen this? Should he have done it?

I’m good with it.

Nah, it would have made Wilson look like a martyr, being hustled out by the Gestapo. The asstards would still be screaming about it now.

I kind of feel that way also, bit does he have the authority?

Nope:

(note Obama can’t make use of the exception for Breach of the Peace, since Wilson’s out burst happened during a session of Congress, and speech in the House is protected).

I don’t think he does. A President (or anyone else) addressing Congress does so at the invitation of the Speaker of the House. He doesn’t become the Presiding Officer.

I think the Brits have a better idea of how a legislature should run anyway --rowdy and raucous, especially at Question Time.

Dragged out and shot is quite out of the question, I suppose? To encourage the others?

Under what pretext could Obama remove Joe Wilson from the Chamber?

None, as best I can tell. I think there WOULD be a method for the sitting Speaker to do so under a ‘lack of decorum’ argument. But the President addresses the house at the invitation of the Congress and as a guest. He has no authority there.

What is it with political commentators who don’t seem to understand even the most fundamental founding principles of this country? I understand that your average Jack and Jane on the street might not think much about the term “separation of powers,” but if you portray yourself as being a political commentator (slash comedian slash TV host slash whatever), nobody should ever pay you again for giving such ill-informed opinions such as this.

My comments aren’t just related to D.L. Hughley. Sarah Palin had the much more ignorant remark this week about Chik-fil-A’s owner’s First Amendment rights being violated – a shocking (but unsurprising) misunderstanding of the Constitution. News organizations need to start enforcing some standards.

Uhm… they’re paid to draw attention and get ratings, which sometimes (often?) involves ignoring facts?

Neither legally or morally. Wilson is a Congressman and Obama is not. Obama was there as a guest and didn’t have the authority to throw Wilson out of what is essentially his own house.

That said, this same principle makes Wilson’s actions worse. A host is expected to be polite to his invited guests not use the invitation as an excuse to attack them.

I think Palin would be correct to argue first amendment violations against those mayors who are denying Chick-Fil-A the right to open a franchise in their cities because of comments made by the owner. I don’t know exactly what she said but this seems possible.

Here is what she said:

Boycotts are a violation of business owners’ First Amendment rights.

Plus even ignoring the Constitutional issue, it would be a stupid idea. Obama was there to give a speech, presumably he wanted the audience and media would focus on what he said. Stopping mid-speech to figure out who yelled and then taking fifteen minutes to get him tossed out would just distract from what he his message.

Joe Wilson’s a jerk, but there’s no real reason to put the whole country on hold just to deal with his jerkishness in real time.