You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Ronald Reagan as Backbench Heckler

The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb leaps to Joe Wilson's defense:

Joe Wilson offered the most succinct and effective Republican response to Obamacare since Sarah Palin attacked Obama's "death panels" -- and, like Sarah, he did it in just two words: "You lie."

It's worth noting that Goldfarb's outrage is entirely situational, given that last month he was arguing that lies are a good thing and the GOP should be telling more of them:

[F]or the next four years, Republicans will be able to say whatever they want about the health care reforms that were passed but won't come into effect for years. Republicans will be able to come up with another "death panel" every week.

But perhaps more striking still is the title of Goldfarb's post: "Joe Wilson, The Great Communicator."

Yes, Goldfarb is explicitly (if half in jest) comparing Ronald Reagan to a boorish loudmouth who even fellow Republicans have speculated may have been drunk at the time of his outburst. It's a considerable irony, given that a key goal of the conservative movement for three decades has been to rebut, with much success, the idea that Reagan was just some reactionary dope. Goldfarb obviously imagines he is elevating Wilson. In fact, he's revealing how shallow his respect is for the modern icon of his party.