Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The house will vote on a resolution of "disapproval" of Addison Graves "Joe" Wilson, Sr. for his shouting "you lie" during President Obama's address last week. In all the media debate of the politics behind the resolution, nobody seems to point out (as I did last week) the simple fact: Wilson's outburst was clearly in violation of the house rules of decorum. Rule #4:

"Refrain from speaking disrespectfully of the Speaker, other Members, the President or Vice President."

Maybe it's the old baseball umpire in me, but I do believe that "the rule IS the rule". It's right there, and every member signs an agreement to abide by the rules prior to being seated. There are four levels of penalties the house can impose: Expulsion; Censure; Reprimand; or Disapproval, with 'disapproval' being the mildest penalty. But, regardless of the politics, the rules need to be enforced, or there are no rules.
(when I umpired Little League Baseball, I acquired a reputation for having a very quick thumb; I tossed anyone who used any obscenity. You could argue with me as loud as you liked, but I refused to tolerate foul language. It's what the rule book said. I'm funny that way.)

added: the wrist has been duly slapped. text of the resolution

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