Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina became a household name on Wednesday when he “heckled” President Obama during the commander-in-chief’s congressional speech on health-care reform. After Obama assured the joint session of Congress that any systemwide overhaul wouldn’t extend health benefits to illegal immigrants, Wilson rebel-yelled, “You lie!”

According to congressional aide Mark Cloth, who wished to remain anonymous but didn’t bribe me enough to warrant serious consideration, Wilson was seen drinking 12-ounce cups of espresso several hours before the president’s speech. The fourth-term Republican lawmaker was also “high on pro-life and coming off a two-day DVR binge of Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

The cheapskate aide additionally revealed that Wilson’s supposedly spontaneous outburst was, in actuality, carefully scripted in order to convey the most effective opposition to Obama’s health-care initiatives, with dozens of drafts written over the past several weeks. In the end, however, simple noun-verb agreement combined with pro-wrestling body language proved the most direct route in getting Wilson’s point across.

And what’s so bad about simplicity? Call Joe Wilson what you will, but he’s taught me a valuable lesson about keeping Sugar Water short and to the point from now on, because otherwise all those words in my brain just pile up alongside all those newspaper clippings gathering dust on my desk, and suddenly it’s been almost two months since I wrote an actual column. Granted, I spent most of August traveling around the country to President Obama’s town-hall meetings so I could stand beside angry Americans and shout “Rubber baby buggy bumpers!” over and over again — none of them heard me since they were all busy yelling gibberish themselves — but now I’m back. America, I need this forum. And you need me. Even if you have no interest in bribing me.

Thanks to Cloth, the Capitol Hill lackey with the suspiciously shallow pockets, I now have a sample of the scripted outbursts Representative Wilson considered using on Wednesday but ultimately rejected in favor of “You lie!”

1. “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Because as far as I know, there’s no existing health-care plan that covers HULKING OUT!!!!!”

2. “Hi, Joe Wilson here. As a representative of the great state of South Carolina, where hospitality and gentility are as common as the morning dew, I graciously invite you to suck it.”

3. “¿Cómo? ¿¡Cómo?! No hablo ingles, Señor Presidente — me speaky the language of irony!

4. “You’re so funny! I can’t stop laughing! No, really — you’re killing me, and I don’t want to die before I get the chance to sample your miraculous health-care plan.”

5. “Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome Mr. Toby Keith, performing his latest single, ‘Every Melting Pot Deserves a Good Scrubbing.'”

6. Scream. Accuse. Interrupt. Bully. In general, imitate the actions of daytime talk-show guests and audience members. (These are allegedly the same “instructions” followed by ultra-right-wing attendees of recent town-hall meetings in the Palmetto State.)

7. “Can’t we focus on some real issues here, like the fact that Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide — a homicide caused by health care!

8. “Put ’em up! Put ’em up! I’ll fight ya with one paw tied behind my back!

9. “I can’t believe I’m missing a George Lopez marathon for this.”

Say, why does the name Mark Cloth sound so familiar?



Mark Felt.

You win this round, Deep Throat/Shallow Pockets.

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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