On his PBS talk show on Tuesday, Tavis Smiley brought on liberal Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to discuss the Tucson shooting, but he was still reliving the much tinier, nonviolent nightmare of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yelling "You lie!" at President Obama during a September 2009 address to Congress to sell ObamaCare. He suggested it was the greatest moment of incivility in the history of the House of Representatives.
This would seem to be skipping incidents like Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely beating Sen. Charles Sumner with his cane over slavery in 1856. The History Channel says "Brooks became an instant hero in the South, and supporters sent him many replacement canes." (Or there's the Puerto Rican terrorists shooting up the place and wounding five House members in 1956...) But Smiley was adamant:
Clearly, no one was shot, nobody lost his or her life in this process, but it's hard to find a greater moment of incivility in the history of the House than when your colleague on the other side of the aisle, Mr. Wilson, stood up in the president's speech, President Obama's speech, and said, "You lie" for the nation and the world to hear. If ever there were a moment of incivility in our politics, it was that moment.