Congress has “intellectually dishonest” rules.……

Likewise, it has been held that a member could not:      

  • call the President a “liar.”    
  • call the President a “hypocrite.”    
  • describe the President’s veto of a bill as “cowardly.”    
  • charge that the President has been “intellectually dishonest.”    
  • refer to the President as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”    
  • refer to alleged “sexual misconduct on the President’s part.”

Congress can and should have rules for debate on the House floor.  When a member of congress shouts out from the floor while they are being formally addressed by the President that is inappropriate and should be a violation of the rules.  

What should never be banned are the use of certain words and phrases during debate.  These rules are contrary to the principles of freedom of speech.  The same arguments that protect Larry Flint also apply to people voicing political descent.  This descent is actually the principle reason for it’s existence in the first place.


Personally, I think a member of congress should be allowed to rattle off a string of F-bombs during his allotted time.  Such action would be politically unwise, I just don’t think it should be banned.  Should a member use inflammatory language it is then the prerogative of the citizens from that district to vote for or against that member during the next election.

These house rules go far beyond just proper respect and decorum.  The phrase “intellectually dishonest” is actually banned.  Think about that for a moment.  The rules are actually designed it a way to prevent members from making arguments for or against legislation.  That is not the type of government I wish to have.

About Mike "DD4RP" Rossettie

  • The House of Commons comparison:


    I see a lot of commentary that compares Joe Wilson’s “You Lie!” outburst with the ruckus that often happens in the House of Commons. But one thing you are not allowed to shout in the Commons is that another speaker is a liar. A lot of circumlocutions evolved to bypass this – “terminological inexactitude” is my favorite (Churchill, of course) – but the ban is for a reason. Once the opposition starts yelling “You lie!” they have essentially abandoned the deliberative process, by questioning the good faith of a speaker. Without an assumption of good faith or a factual rebuttal, just calling someone a liar abolishes the integrity of the debating process. It ends a conversation. And parliament is about conversation.

    A commenter at Esra Klein’s blog made an interesting point.


    Hello? You can’t start applying rules for a deliberative process until you have either a forum for deliberation or a tradition of same. We have neither. I think it is a great idea to have the leader or leaders stand before the legislative body and defend his or her position(s,) but this is not the American Way. So to have some knucklehead start shouting in the middle of a Presidential speech is hardly comparable in any way shape or form to a deliberation. Either you have a process or you don’t. In this case, we did not, and the proper action would have been for the Sergeant at Arms to pick him up by his ears and throw him out of the chamber for his uncouth behavior.

    And then there is the movie Idiocracy, which is how you want things to work?  Can’t find a video.

    President Camacho: Shit. I know shit’s bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.

    South Carolina Representative # 1: That’s what you said last time, dipshit!

    South Carolina Representative # 2: Yeah, I got a solution, you’re a dick! South Carolina, what’s up!