Congratulations, Joe Wilson, you've got competition for the rudest, most unfounded outburst in Congress of 2010.
After a day of Washington speculation, congressman Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock has admitted that he yelled "baby killer" at Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan when Stupak rose to speak on the House floor in the debate before Sunday night's historic health care vote.
Stupak had recently reached a deal to deliver his group of pro-life Democrats in support of the bill in exchange for President Obama signing an executive order promising that the status quo, in which government funds cannot be used to fund abortions, will be upheld. (Which, you know, the health care bill already did, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.)
Whether or not you agree with Stupak's pro-life principles, it can't be argued that he didn't stick to them until the very end. But why should Mr. Neugebauer let a little thing like facts get in the way of yelling incendiary rhetoric?
For his part, Neugebauer has issued a statement somewhat apologizing for his outburst.
"In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase "it's a baby killer" in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership. While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself," Neugebauer's statement reads.
As to the veracity of Neugebauer's statement, I'll defer to the 59,000 nuns who broke rank to declare their support for the bill:
"The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all. It will invest in preventative care. It will bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children. And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it."
Of course, Neugebauer probably doesn't care what those nuns have to say, but his district certainly has some nasty health issues that he might want to remedy.
But maybe he was just caught up in the moment. After all, when Tea Party protesters are outside calling Democratic congressmen John Lewis (a civil rights hero) and André Carson "n******", spitting on Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II and calling Rep. Barney Frank a "f*****", I guess it's all-too-tempting to join the name-calling chorus.
Silly me, I thought we held our congressional representatives to higher behavioral standards than the screaming racists outside. My mistake.