Grate of the union: Hecklers highlighted state of political discourse

The notion that yelling at the president during a formal address would be considering shocking, is sadly outdated



February 10, 2023 - 4:48 PM

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Republican members of Congress react as President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech really highlighted more about the state of the Republican Congress, and that state is decidedly raucous. As Biden delivered his spiel, he sparred verbally with (dis)honorable hecklers, who often interrupted, like Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Biden made some cursory appeals to bipartisanship, even though neither he nor the caucus of new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy really expects the slim Republican majority to find much common cause with the president, highlighted by their insistence on launching into a number of harebrained and nakedly political probes — case in point, yesterday’s House hearing on the ever-present Hunter Biden laptop obsession (see our adjacent editorial).

The notion that yelling at the president during a formal address would be considered shocking to the degree of receiving widespread bipartisan condemnation and requiring an official apology seems quaint, as Greene is proud of her rudeness. Yet it was just 13 years ago in the very same chamber that Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie!” exclamation during a Barack Obama address became national news and the most-talked about moment from the night.

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