Send Joe Wilson Home

Former Bush and McCain strategist Mark McKinnon wants the congressman who shouted at Obama out of office and out of his party—and he’s donating $1,000 to his opponent.

Mary Ann Chastain / AP Photo

Make Joe Wilson pay.

And by pay, I mean beat his sorry ass at the polls and send him to the private sector. That is the only way to change the political discourse in America today. Because as long as louts like Joe Wilson can spout off and call the president a liar and get rewarded with reelection, then louts will continue to spout off. And we will continue to claw our way to the very bottom of the political swamp.

It’s unclear yet what the reaction is in South Carolina. There is a newspaper poll that suggests broadly South Carolinians think the incident could have a negative impact on the state.

On the other hand, anecdotally there appears to be plenty of evidence that many of Wilson’s constituents in the 2nd Congressional District actually support his odious behavior.

I’m a Republican, but I’d rather have a Democrat in Congress who I may disagree with but who has some fundamental character that Wilson lacks.

Wilson’s aides say his office is receiving thousands of calls running three-to-one in favor of his outburst—and he's running an ad on the Drudge Report using his victimhood.

Joe Scarborough had a conversation with Joe Klein on his Morning Joe program Friday during which he asked the question, “How do we stop the cycle of vicious partisanship?”

My answer is we start by getting rid of the partisans like Joe Wilson.

Even pit bull Pat Buchanan—who once called on the citizens of New Hampshire to take up pitchforks—is decrying the poisonous nature of our politics today: “We seem not only to disagree with each other more than ever, but to have come almost to detest one another. Politically, culturally, racially, we seem ever ready to go for each others' throats.”

Mark McKinnon: Scarborough for PresidentMax Blumenthal: Joe Wilson’s Strange Friends Whether Wilson was right or wrong in his tempestuous charge, it was wrong to interrupt the president during a speech in the House of Representatives. But, the fact is, he was also wrong in his assertion. Legislation, as currently proposed, does not allow illegal immigrants to get the proposed government health-care subsidies. But, lest there be any ambiguity, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday Obama would go further, barring illegal immigrants from buying private health insurance through a proposed government-regulated marketplace, even if they could afford the coverage on their own.

Of course that hasn’t stopped Wilson supporters like Rush Limbaugh from saying, “You know a lot of people in that room... know [Obama’s] lying through his teeth and wanted to say it. And Joe Wilson finally did.”

Wilson couldn’t even apologize with any class. He made it clear he was saying “sorry” only because he’d been forced to by the Republican House leadership: “Well, I, uh, last night I heard from the leadership that they wanted me to contact the White House and, uh, say that, uh, my statements, uh, were inappropriate. I did."

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Apologies should extract some moral or material cost.

I was surprised and moved when Governor Mark Sanford called me recently—the first time we've spoken—to personally apologize because I was one of the few who actually took him at his word when he said he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail and wrote a column defending the idea of elected officials unplugging and getting off the leash occasionally to investigate the real world outside their bubbles. Not something he needed to do, but it was my sense that he just felt it was the right thing to do.

Alex Massie: Why American Politicians Are Wimps I have tried personally to promote comity in politics, but have occasionally lapsed. I found myself compelled recently to apologize to former Senator Rick Santorum for a column I wrote recently in The Daily Beast in which I lowered myself to a highly inappropriate observation about his family. I let my anger at Santorum overwhelm my judgment, and obscure the fundamental point of my argument. To his credit, Santorum graciously accepted. But the incident made me realize how easy it is to fall prey to the lowest common denominator today. Because usually there’s no penalty.

When elected officials and others contribute to a climate and culture that fosters hyper-partisanship, we’ve got to blow the whistle.

Richard Wolffe: White House Blasts Wilson Now, proving he has no real remorse or character, Wilson has created a YouTube video and is trying to raise money off his transgression. And if he does, he may prove the point made by a South Carolina political observer that the state is too small to be its own country and too big to be an insane asylum.

I think South Carolina is better than that and will have a chance to prove as much next year by sending Wilson a pink slip.

I’m a Republican, but I’d rather have a Democrat in Congress who I may disagree with but who has some fundamental character and decency that Wilson clearly lacks. So, today I’m volunteering for Republicans for Rob Miller, Wilson’s opponent, a former Marine and Iraq veteran, and am sending him a $1,000 check. And you can do the same by going here.

There’s only one way to we’re going to change our political climate and ensure we establish some respect in our discourse. And that is to show there is a real price to pay for being a disrespectful partisan idiot.

Send Joe Wilson home.

As vice chairman of Public Strategies and president of Maverick Media, Mark McKinnon has helped meet strategic challenges for candidates, corporations and causes, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Governor Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong, and Bono.