Color me amused.

About a year and a half ago, I watched in rather unbelieving amusement as a bunch of Republican congressmen turned Congress into more of a sideshow than usual when they  “occupied the House floor” after Nancy Pelosi dismissed the chamber for the August recess. Frankly, it was hilarious watching a bunch of rich, preppy legislators pretend they were revolutionaries, right down to tweeting that the Capitol police were standing outside the chamber ooh noes! and might.. oh, the glory of it! … arrest them!
It was the start of the silly season – but this silly season didn’t last for a single month. Their stunt ushered in a silly season that appears to have no end. I suspect that they won’t be happy till their constituents get to watch them engaging in public fisticuffs on the House floor, swinging chairs at each others’ heads and throwing punches.

This silly season culminated in the entire Congress looking like a sixth grade classroom when Sen. Joe Wilson from S. Carolina missed his cue and yelled out “You lie!” a couple of seconds after his cronies had stopped providing protective cover by loud muttering and booing. Mind you, no one is talking about the booing this morning because Wilson distinguished himself by having the bad timing to shout out AFTER the other Republicans around him had shut up.

It’s a typical rookie mistake that any sixth grade teacher might have recognized. In fact, the Republican party’s entire performance last night – because make no mistake, it WAS a carefully orchestrated performance – resembled an attempted coup staged by a bunch of sixth graders. It was complete with hand-printed signs on notebook paper that they waved in unison at key points and the obligatory outburst of boos when the president mentioned illegal immigrants – and the one kid who goofs it up by overestimating how far his classmates will go to support him.

And immediately following his flub, there was the second of hushed silence, and then the “Ooooooh, oooohhhh!” of the kids in the class as they realize that a challenge has been made – and wait to see if the teacher takes the bait.

And the teacher did not, beyond a pointed stare in Wilson’s direction. Frankly, I’d love to have seen Wilson’s reaction during those few seconds. I’ll bet he was withering and looking around at all his fellows, wondering where the hell were the voices that were supposed to accompany his.

So Joe Wilson, with his bad timing, earned his fifteen minutes of national fame. The reaction on the internets is not surprising – the “serious kids” are shocked, shocked they tell you, and demanding that he be “punished”. The unruly kids that think the teacher is a dictator and must be undermined at every turn are hailing him as a hero. And the vast majority are rolling their eyes, and taking another careful step away from the class clowns.

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