September 10th, 2009
04:24 PM ET

Why we don't heckle the president

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/10/art.jwilson.0910.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Joe Wilson heckled President Obama during his speech on health care reform."]

John Feehery
Special to CNN

When I worked in the House of Representatives in the mid-'90s, Congressional Republicans grew enamored of the idea of replicating the tradition of "Question Time" that was popular in the British House of Commons.

C-SPAN had just started broadcasting "Question Time", where the British prime minister thrusts and parries with colleagues on the other side of the aisle, while hoping for supportive statements from those on his side of the aisle.

It seemed like a lot of fun, most of all because the party out of power could show their disdain for the government's leader in no uncertain terms, and best of all, face-to-face.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • John Feehery • Raw Politics
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Lampe

    Are you kidding me? I remember GWB being called alot worse than that, and CNN, reported nothing. GROW-UP already!

    September 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  2. Valerie K

    The Brits have a tradition that makes sense given their system of government. I mean when you're ruled by a monarchy and live in a society where aristocratic titles still mean something, outdated and somewhat boorish rules of engagement make sense to me. Plus the Question Time tradition was established by consensus, not as the result of some sort of spontaneous and unprecedented outburst by a histrionic MOP. Joe Wilson acted like a petulant schoolyard bully. He wasn't remotely articulate or truthful. And believe you me, he didn't further the case one iota for a Question Time tradition in the United States Congress. You know we rebelled against the Brits and everything they stood for once upon a time, how bleeping reactionary are these ridiculous Republicans?
    I also think that it is particularly suspect that our first African-American president is also the first to get heckled from the floor during a speech before the Joint Congress. Maybe, it wasn't quite a high tech lynching to quote the Justice Clarence Thomas, but it sured seemed like Mr.Wilson was getting ready to bum rush the president angry mob style...

    September 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  3. Karen P

    It's really getting scary how much hatered there is in this great country. Can one imagine these things transpiring during W's administration. I think Gitmo would be bursting at the seams

    September 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  4. Tasha

    You know when Republicans do it they feel they doing everybody justices, the kind of display they put on was so immature and childish. All the President is trying to do is to help those who is in need and dont have the funds to do. Republicans are soo stingy when it comes to helping others. Just like with Katrina it took other nations to make them see how morally wrong with that was. Joe the dumb dumb wilson got what he deserve.

    September 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  5. Jon

    I hope you start talking about the acorn video issue that came out today thursday sept 10th

    September 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  6. Andy

    John- Agree with your premise. But not your conclusion. When the president presumes to treat his equals as his lessers, when he openly decieves the public in order to achieve his goals, when persuasion fails, and he resorts to disception in order to overpower the will of the people. It is the DUTY of congress to remove from him the decorum that he would otherwise command, and to reduce him to the citizen he has forgotton that he is. "When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such *decorum*" and say that the President Lies!

    September 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  7. Shella from San Antonio,TX.

    You know I thought the President had a good speech and he mention many politicians on both sides who have had involvement with this bill and how they should all be willing to keep working together to help Americans, this was a good thing. So why did the Republicans show they're natural and true colors of hate. They were all so disrespectful toward the the President and how disappointing it is that these people were elected by us to hold office. What a sad day it is that all around the world people from other countries get to see the ugliness of the Republican party. They are no longer a party that should be respected, instead of them helping to fix our problems they only add to them using lies and hate. I am sadden by the they're behavior and I feel that we need a new party who will truly represent the American people as a whole with truth and justice, not lies and hate.

    September 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  8. Larry

    Heckling the President would lead to a visit from a couple of Rahm Emanuel's dropping by to make an offer you could not refuse.

    September 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  9. Larry

    Wonder if CNN will show the video of the girl who went undercover in ACORN?

    September 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |