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Joe Wilson and Our Misguided Anger

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Let me first state that I found Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress totally unacceptable. It was rude, disruptive, and a number of other adjectives. But much like how Joe lost control, and permitted his fury to erupt at an inappropriate time, liberals are focusing their valuable energy at the wrong person, and the subsequent witchhunt is taking time and energy away from the examination of far guiltier parties.

The House has voted to admonish Joe for his "You lie!" outburst, and Jimmy Carter has called him racist, while Joe's son claims the eruption had nothing to do the president's race. And yet the media keeps harping on Joe. Of course, the media would claim they're just giving the people what they want: All Joe, all the time. This is the same excuse the media used during the Joe the Plumber diversion, another critical time of our history when serious debate got turned on its head for a spontaneous personality contest.

Guantanamo, Afghanistan, health care, Iraq: listing these real stories feels almost pointless in the presence of Joe Wilson's public flogging. The man shouted during our president's speech, but it's not as though he interrupted a king. Certainly, he broke protocol (for which he's been thoroughly admonished,) but now is the time to cut him loose. Too much time and energy is being wasted on these diversions when more serious crimes are being committed.

For example, around the time of Joe's House censure commotion, Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive-turned-whistleblower, told a small group of reporters Monday that the Baucus health care plan is an "absolute gift" to the industry. Perhaps Max deserves his own public undressing on par with Joe's time in the spotlight. Robbing Americans at their chance of serious health care reform seems slightly worse than throwing a momentary hissyfit.

My interviews with Wendell Potter and veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman can be heard on this week's Citizen Radio.

Cross-posted from Allison Kilkenny's blog. Also available on Facebook and Twitter.