Who Remembers Joe Wilson (R-SC)?
I suppose some people know Joe Wilson (R-SC) for any number of things-- like the time he got sloshed and fell out of a Sigma Nu frat house window at Washington and Lee University in 1968, landing on alumnus Cy Twombly, who wound up with a severe concussion that is widely credited with a drastic change in his painting style. But most people only know the 5-term state senator and 8 term far right-wing backbench congressmen for only one thing: being officially reprimanded by the House for interrupting a speech by Barack Obama to the joint session of Congress by screaming "You lie!" in 2009.
His constituents remember the incident better than most-- and gave him a taste of his own medicine at a townhill meeting on Monday, held at Aiken Technical College in Graniteville, shouting "You Lie" at him when he lied about TrumpCare and other matters.
Wilson's 2nd district is one of the reddest in South Carolina (R+16). Obama only scored 37% there both times he ran and last year, Hillary did only slightly better (38.6%). Wilson was reelected against Arik Bjorn, an un-financed, un-supported Democrat, 60.3% to 35.9%. The DCCC has never considered party-building in the 70% white west-central part of the state that carefully skirts black neighborhoods in Columbia and includes all or part of 5 counties, with the bulk of the voters in Lexington, Richland and Aiken counties. In other words... America is stuck with this guy in Congress... as well as with others like him.
And as long as we're talking about South Carolina, let's remember there's more to the state than just Southern Charm and crackpot Tea Party congressman. In fact, one of the crackpot Tea Party congressmen, Mick Mulvaney, left his House seat to take Trump's OMB job opening up a seat for a special election in a district very much like Wilson's. The special election primaries are May 2 and then the election will be June 20, same day as the GA-06 special election runoff. This is the one not many people are talking about, primarily because the district is so red and so... Trumpish. There are 7 Republicans, including 2 state Reps-- Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman-- and the former Chairman of the South Carolina GOP, Chad Connelly. The Democrats won't have a strong candidate, although there is a 3-way primary between some Goldman Sachs guy the DCCC is whispering positively about, Archie Parnell and two other sad cases, Les Murphy and Alexis Frank.
A friend in the district told me that Murphy is pretty abrasive on the stump and has taken staunchly anti-immigrant stances, including saying in appearances (more than once!) that immigrants abuse the system "to get free rides home." A local activist my friend knows, whose husband has a green card, remembered him from when he was a CIS officer and told a horrifying story of how her husband was treated by him.
Alexis Frank admitted in a recent forum that she voted for Mitt Romney and against President Obama in 2012--but she's trying to persuade naive Berners she's the "progressive" candidate. She's espoused pro-school choice positions (supporting the local school of choice program, which supports a magnet-style lottery within a district, thereby robbing struggling schools of students and funding). He says her "knowledge of issues is sorely lacking, though she is clearly bright and energetic." She delivered a soliloquy on unions and right to work that clearly showed that she had no idea what "right to work" meant.
He also says that Parnell has a Republican catnip resume but is actually the most progressive candidate in the race. He talks a lot about preserving financial protections, including the CFPB and making sure Dodd-Frank isn't torn up. When asked about Choice he responded that he's "running for Congress, not to be your doctor-- and that's between you and your doctor, period."