As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wishing He Could Take It Back, Maybe?

Rep. Joe Wilson is trailing his 2010 opponent in a snap poll taken days after his outburst on the House floor.

Republican Congressman Joe Wilson trails challenger Rob Miller 44-43 in the wake of his shouting out ‘you lie’ during President Obama’s speech to Congress on Wednesday night. Wilson defeated Miller 54-46 in the 2008 election.

62% of voters in his district say they disapprove of Wilson’s actions while just 29% think they were ok. While there is consensus on that, respondents were pretty divided about whether the substance of his comment- that Obama was lying- is correct. 42% say they think the President was lying while 46% believe he was not.

Wilson’s approval rating comes in at 41%, with 47% of voters disapproving of his job performance. He gets good marks from 68% of Republicans, 38% of independents, and 11% of Democrats.

“In a matter of seconds Joe Wilson turned himself from a safe incumbent into one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country for 2010,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.

In an almost more important statistic, Obama has an approval rating of 50% in this lean-conservative district, better than what he yielded here (45%) in 2008.

Meanwhile, Democrats are prepping the full-on hissy, in a rare show of political savvy.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed the House should vote next week on scolding Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for his outburst during President Barack Obama's speech unless he apologies on the floor of the House.

"There was a violation of the rules of the House," said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly. "It needs to be resolved by an apology or a resolution."

A Democrat, likely House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), will introduce a "resolution of disapproval" Monday or Tuesday unless Wilson formally apologizes on the House floor. The House returns Monday.

This isn't censure, but a resolution that forces people on the record. Some Democrats would claim that this distracts from the overall goal of health care, but I disagree for a couple reasons. One, the media's focused on it anyway and there's no stopping their soccer scrum. Two, this puts Republicans in a rough position and a tough vote and that's always desirable. Three, it highlights the obstructionism of Republicans in a way that looks bad for them contrasted with the President's speech.

I don't know if it will matter ultimately, both to the overall health care debate or to Wilson's chances in 2010, which is a long way off. But it rides an activist-driven wave, which is always good. Now if Max Baucus and Kent Conrad can stop caving to Wilson's demands...

UPDATE: Other outlets are calling it censure.

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