Thursday, September 10, 2009

Will Wilson be the Next Bachmann?

Last night President Obama delivered what might have been a game-changing speech on healthcare. Focus groups and polls taken before and after the address suggest that he may have significantly shifted public opinion.

But all that anyone can seem to focus on today - at least in the blogosphere - is the outburst by a nationally-obscure politician, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). When the president said his proposal was not open to illegal immigrants, Wilson shouted “You lie!” at the Commander-in-Chief.

Watch the outburst here (start at about 1:15):

Almost immediately following the outburst, a swarm of activity began among the nation’s political activists - both to the left and to the right.

Facebook groups like “Defeat Congressman Joe ‘the Heckler’ Wilson (R-SC)” have sprung up within Democratic circles. Wilson’s Democratic opponent, Iraq-War veteran Rob Miller, has raised over $350,000 (more than seven times his war chest previously) from over 5000 donors since the disruption. And the House Majority Leader and Whip are pushing for a censure of the incumbent Republican.

On the other side of the spectrum, Wilson’s Facebook page is littered with compliments from supporters, congratulating Wilson for “calling it like it is” and so on. Although it hasn’t been reported yet, chances are that Wilson’s campaign has brought in some extra cash since he yelled at the president.

While it’s hard to say for sure at this point, all this buzz about Wilson might not go away any time soon - at least not during this election cycle. Eleven months and a General Election have gone by since Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gave this troubling interview with Chris Mathews that made her an infamous target of liberals:

She still beat her opponent handedly in the conservative district she represents, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) - which is really the deciding force behind whether or not a GOP incumbent will have an active race - continues to target Bachmann as a darling for the left to hate.

Word is that the DCCC is now considering action to target Wilson’s seat. After all the attention his outburst generated, it might still be targeted for some time to come.

UPDATE: After Wilson released this video to supporters, his campaign raised over $200,000 - about double what he had in his war chest.

It looks like the plot thickens.

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