It’s a story as old as time: a politician heckles the President of the United States during a joint session of Congress. But in the age of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie!” outburst from 2009 is practically quaint.
Last night, President Joe Biden delivered the 2022 State of the Union address, and Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado thought it’d be a good idea to heckle the Democrat. But the jeers were even more intense than expected: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia shouted “Liar!” and another lawmaker yelled out “It’s your fault!” in reference to the amount of drugs smuggled across the US-Mexico border.
The breach in protocol was stunning, and no GOP leaders were willing to defend the heckling. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reminded members to be on their best behavior and conduct themselves in a respectful manner, but several of them ignored the good advice.
It was a reminder that as coarse as GOP politics was in 2009, it’s even more toxic now. But there was another dimension to this that shouldn’t go overlooked: Biden didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he welcomed the heckling, and even joked about it.
After some additional exchanges, the president concluded, “So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right? We’ve got unanimity.”
The exchange was one of the all-time great State of the Union moments, and a reminder that congressional decorum is in trouble. But after last night’s partisan antics, Republican plans to go after Social Security and Medicare are in even worse shape.