THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
Republicans seem to think they’ve found a liberal equivalent to Joe Wilson in Alan Grayson, whom I profiled in our last issue for his brazenly bloggy temperament. Here he is last night on the House floor saying that the Republican health care plan is to “die quickly.” (Skip to1:52):
Jonathan Allen has the goods on the fallout:
Republicans called on Grayson last night to apologize, and on Wednesday morning, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) drafted a resolution of disapproval which declared that Grayson’s remarks were “a breach of decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House.” This resolution comes one week after the House approved a formal resolution disapproving of Rep. Joe Wilson’s infamous “you lie!” outburst during President Barack Obama’s joint address to Congress.
It’s hard to see these two situations as equal. Grayson is being tongue-in-cheek; unlike the Republicans, who took up the death panel lie in earnest, no Democrat is seriously saying that the Republicans want you to die. Grayson’s dark, sarcastic sense of humor is well-established with anyone who has followed his career. There’s his famous remark that Rush Limbaugh “was more lucid when he was on painkillers.” Last month he told the crowd at Netroots Nation that his opponent in 2008 “did all his hiring at Hooters.” And at a political fundraiser with the vice president recently, he made cracks about how Dick Cheney “liked to shoot old men in the face,” prompting Biden to call him a “lousy comedian.” When Joe Biden thinks you’ve gone too far, you know there’s a problem. Of course, Grayson doesn’t see it that way. In our first interview he revealed to me that he’d written feature stories for the Boston Phoenix as an undergraduate at Harvard. “I was the Jon Stewart of Boston journalism,” he said, with only the slightest hint of irony. Still, these nuances are likely to be lost on Republicans in Washington and constituents in his own conservative-leaning district. Why give them the opportunity to claim that you're just as bad as the other guy?
Update: Now he's calling the health care crisis a "holocaust in America."