Thursday, September 10, 2009

The 'Ox Meter' for Rep. Joe Wilson?

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., surely became a household name across the land Wednesday night, though perhaps not in a way he'd prefer. He apologized for shouting "You lie!" at President Obama during the president's speech on health care reform in the U.S. House chamber at the Capitol.

Evidently Republicans and Democrats scalded Wilson with criticism of his town-hall style retort to the president in an institution where opposition-party lawmakers usually sit in deafening silence when they hear something from the presidential lips that they don't like.

Perhaps Wilson's outburst will prompt the leaders of the N.C. state Senate to think about a temporary interbasin transfer of an odd legislative award, from the Upper Neuse Basin in Raleigh to the Potomac Basin in Washington where Wilson works when he's not down home.

In Raleigh, Senate leaders sometimes present the "Ox Meter" -- a funny looking gizmo mounted on a wooden plaque, with chrome or stainless steel piping and big glass-front meter -- to a legislator who had just said something dumb. Or clueless. Or exceedingly long without much of a point. Or just plain outlandish.

Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash, got the Ox Meter a few years ago for a long story he told about his mother's potato biscuits and the way she used to sew him into his flannel shirts before school every day.

The Ox Meter used to repose from time to time on the desk of former state Sen. Fountain Odom, D-Mecklenburg, who had a string of stories to tell about, and sometimes on, his colleagues and other folks in the leadership. Other senators have enjoyed, if that is the right word, possession of the Ox Meter from time to time.

Why is it called an Ox Meter? Dunno, exactly. Some think it's because the trophy is awarded to a particularly bull-headed lawmaker who likes to hear the sound of his own bellowing.

Others subscribe to the theory that "Ox" refers not to the animal but to the malodorous effluent the animal sometimes leaves behind.

Others think it refers to the old cliché about "dumb as an ox."

I don't know which of those accounts for the name. But it sure looks like the Ox Meter would be appropriate for the gentleman from South Carolina.


JDC said...

The fuss over Joe Wilson’s honest opinion is much ado about nothing new. Voters didn’t send him to the House to be a Caspar Milquetoast.

I recall many other instances in which members of Congress booed the President at joint sessions, regardless of whether the Chief of State was a Democrat or Republican.

Bill Clinton regularly got the Bronx cheer from GOP attendees at his State of the Union addresses. There were shouts of “No” to his proposal for expanding Medicare. George W. Bush was similarly hissed and booed on several occasions.

At least the passions of our elected representatives have cooled considerably since the day in 1856 when another South Carolina Congressman, Preston Brooks, repetitively beat Massachusetts Republican Senator Charles Sumner’s head with a cane. Brooks was incensed about one of Sumner’s anti-slavery speeches – particularly over his ardent language attacking Brook’s South Carolina kinsman, Andrew Butler.

Even when representatives have something good to say about another politician, it seems to come out twisted. Yet another South Carolinian, John C. Calhoun, had this to say about his rival Henry Clay: “I don’t like Clay. He is a bad man, an imposter, a creator of wicked schemes. I wouldn’t speak to him, but, by God, I love him.” Sticks and stones.

But back to more interesting topics. Your readers enjoyed the Lost Colony column. Have you a theory as to the origin of the Melungeons found in some North Carolina mountain counties to this day? Are they really descendants of stranded Portugese explorers?

Anonymous said...

Here are fifteen lies from Obama's speech:

Joe Wilson's only mistake was yelling "You Lie" only once.

Anonymous said...

You George Bush loving racists from S.C. will stop at nothing with your bigotry. This sorry SOB should never be allowed to attend another Presidential address - EVER. Keep his sorry ass down in Columbia and let him rot. Post all the FOX NEWS generated trash links you want trying to call someone a liar, but it won't do any good. You stink of rich white trash and we are all sick of you and your Bush loving politics. I wish Nancy Pelosi would have slapped his damn face afterwards for yelling out like that and disrespecting our President. Joe Wilson is finished. We won't stand for this trash. S.C.: You can take this GD fool back and maybe he could be the mayor of the gay-hating Myrtle Beach!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous from September 14, 2009 1:54 PM. You are giving the rest of our anonymous brethren a bad name with your stupid, insipid rant.Please use a different name if you blog again. I do not want to be associated with someone as ingnorant and boorish as you. You are a mindless gutter snipe.