Joe Wilson at the George Washington University
Last Tuesday evening, The George Washington University College Republicans invited Congressmen Joe Wilson (SC-2), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), and Tom Price (GA-6) to speak on current affairs and politics on the GW Mount Vernon campus as part of the CR?s Congressional Dinner Series.
The room was filled with over fifty young conservatives eager to hear the three congressmen discuss their respective positions on why intensive counterinsurgency operations is the only way to success in Afghanistan, and why a public option would be detrimental to our health care system. Congressman?s Wilson and Price also encouraged the group of ambitious young politicos to further their involvement in the conservative movement by volunteering on campaigns and by pursuing internships on Capitol Hill.
After the panel, students were able to speak with the congressmen individually, pose for pictures, get autographs, and make small talk. It was quite clear that Congressman Wilson was the ?rock star? of the event, as students lined up and waited for over 45 minutes for a quick handshake and a picture. While waiting in line, I overheard many of the attendees praise Wilson for his outburst on the Senate floor, as they referred to him as a ?conservative crusader? and a ?true patriotic American.? But is being disrespectful to the President truly patriotic? Moreover, many of those who met him confessed that it would be their ?dream? to intern in his office and Wilson quickly deferred them to his staff assistant who was standing by handing out business cards and contact information. I couldn?t help but wonder are these young conservatives looking up to the wrong role model? The Congressman?s recent actions are symbolic of everything that?s wrong with the current state of the GOP, his outburst is the embodiment of angry politics, but that?s just what the GW College Republicans seemed to want.
Just as the event was coming to a close, I had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Joe Wilson and asked him the following:
?Congressman Wilson, you’re scheduled to speak at a Young America?s Foundation conference on leadership at the Reagan Ranch in November. Given the recent incident during the joint session of congress, how do you think President Ronald Reagan might have reacted to your outburst??
Here is Congressman Wilson?s response:
?I made a mistake, I acted inappropriately. It was a moment when emotion got the better of me. I am a gentlemen, I immediately made a phone call to the Rahm Emanuel at the White House and offered an apology. President Obama graciously accepted my apology and said he wanted to move on from the incident. However, some on the far-left are trying to use this as a way to keep me quiet as they want to keep me from talking about the real issues. I apologized once, I am not going to apologize again, I think it?s time to move on and get on to serious debate. I believe President Reagan would have reacted the same way that is to say, accept my apology and move on.? If this had happened when Reagan was President, I would have done the same thing and immediately phoned his chief of staff to offer an apology.?
To Congressman Wilson?s credit he did not appear to be the Glenn Beck of the United States Congress as he has been portrayed. He was very humble, soft-spoken, and honest when acknowledging his egregious error. His actions were admittedly inappropriate, but apparently many of CR?s did not get that memo.
What is even more disturbing, the event was promoted on the GW College Republican?s website with a picture of Wilson infamously yelling at the President during his address to the joint session of Congress earlier this month. Wilson?s positive accomplishments in congress, rather than his disrespectful comments, should have been what motivated the GW Republicans to invite him to campus.
Sam K. Theodosopoulos is an undergraduate at The George Washington University and the Editor-at-Large of the GW Young America’s Foundation Blog.