The Daily Show: Apothecary Now

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Remember when South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, R-You Kidding Me?, heckled President Obama by calling him a liar during his big prime-time health care speech? Actually, in Wilson's defense, he was merely "testifying," as he regularly does at his neighborhood black church.

How did we get to a place where the president of the United States gets heckled in front of a joint session of Congress? Well, it all began when the president decided that, unlike his predecessors, he was going to treat Congress like a co-equal branch of our government.

He's not going to present a health care reform plan to Congress, but instead will collaborate with members to craft legislation together. And he was going to get both the House and the Senate to produce a bill before the August congressional recess.

Before the August recess? How adorable! Ah, the simple naivete of a new president as pure as the driven snow, and twice as funny to urinate on.

As Democrats invited Republicans to join them for a "historic opportunity" and Republicans bashed the Democrats' reform plan as a government takeover of health care, the verdant wonder of a progress-less June soon gave way to the unproductive steamy haze of July.

And still Obama thought, "Yes they can."

"Even though we still have a few issues to work out," said Obama on July 22, "what's remarkable at this point is not far we have left to go, but how far we've already come."

For instance, we've all agreed the bill will be double-spaced. We've narrowed down the fonts to Helvetica, Times New Roman or Zapf Dingbats.

Well, that's progress, and there was still a whole week until the August recess deadline. Turns out, the real craziness was only starting.

"Among five women, one of them is gong to die because we go to socialized care," said Rep. Louie Gohment, R-Texas.

"The Republicans have a better solution that will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government," said Rep. Virginia Fox, R-North Carolina.

What, you mean they didn't end up meeting the president's August make-or-break deadline? I did not see that coming.

So after months of watching, Obama left aside Congress as a co-equal branch and became the decider.

"Instead of honest debate, we've seen scare tactics," said Obama. "The time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed, and now is the season for action."

This president grabbed the reins of the debate to focus it. And how was he received? By being called a liar!

As for Wilson's struggle with Obama-specific Tourette syndrome, activists of both parties are rallying around the issue. In just a few days, the left sent over $1 million to Wilson's likely 2010 Democratic opponent and the right sent $1 million to Wilson, partly by buying items like the "I'm with Joe Wilson" shirt.

Now, I'm not an expert on T-shirt design or political strategy, but if you're looking for a winning political T-shirt slogan, I don't think you should take a famous one ("I'm with stupid") and swap in your candidate's name where stupid was.

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