Joe Wilson, the "You Lie!" guy, went on Fox News Sunday this morning to tell Chris Wallace that he ain't going to apologize for his outburst again, to anyone. Wilson is "proud" that he was able to draw attention to the issue of citizen verification and that the bill has been changed to reflect his wishes, but he still says he regrets his behavior because he "believes in civility." He said being publicly reprimanded by Congress is "going to be tough." But the most interesting part of the interview came when Wallace asked Wilson about Maureen Dowd's op-ed today, in which she alleges that Wilson's disrespect for the president was motivated by racism. Wilson came back with a surprising and absurd defense:
I respect President Obama. Actually, there's a relationship in a way ... his wife, ah, her family's from Georgetown [South Carolina], ah, my family's from next door, in McClellanville, so I, ah, have a great respect for the president.
Before saying this, Wilson paused, his left hand shaking, his voice hesitant. Maybe it's because he knows that in the historical culture of South Carolina, this kind of "relationship" is not necessarily, or even likely to be, a friendly one. (And if the two families were friendly, or even knew each other, wouldn't he have mentioned that salient fact?) And it certainly doesn't prove that Wilson's unprecedented act of disrespect wasn't racially motivated. If Joe Wilson thinks "our families lived near each other in a segregated area of the country" is his best defense against being called a racist, he's on very shaky ground.