But he does. In this week's column. In it he defends Joe Wilson.
I kid you not. In all fairness, I should point out that Jack was not defending the act of yelling "You lie!" in a crowded (Congressional) House. He begins:
It was also against the House rules of decorum, but that's another discussion completely.
Democrats in the House of Representatives and a handful of Republicans last week voted to formally rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., for shouting "You lie!" during President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Sept. 9. Mr. Wilson's outburst came after the president said illegal immigrants were not included in his health-care plan.
This was a mistake.
Here's the crux of Jack's assertion that the president was being deceptive:
There is a sentence in the House version of the Obamacare bill that would deny government-provided health insurance to illegal aliens. But the bill also would forbid health-care providers from checking immigration status, rendering the prohibition unenforceable.And here's factcheck.org:
Obama was correct when he said his plan wouldn’t insure illegal immigrants; the House bill expressly forbids giving subsidies to those who are in the country illegally. Conservative critics complain that the bill lacks an enforcement mechanism, but that hardly makes the president a liar.Hmmm...factcheck.org vs a columnist who's lack of veracity has already resulted in his main paper pulling a column off its website.
It all revolves around something called an "affordability credit." What are affordability credits? Here's an answer from politifact.org:
These are tax credits for people of modest means need to buy health insurance. The credits would help them buy insurance on a national health insurance exchange. The bill specifically says that people in the United States illegally are not eligible for tax credits, on page 132, section 242.So they're tax credits. As in: people who pay taxes (presumably income and/or wage taxes) could then apply for a credit and get some of that money back to help paying for the insurance. Tell me how many illegal aliens could apply for a credit from the IRS? As factcheck explains further:
The House bill contains a section (Sec. 246) titled "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS," which states: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."Now look again at what Jack wrote. Silly, isn't it? Misleading, isn't it? Despite the spanking Jack obviously took last week, nothing's changed, has it?
However, conservative critics object to a lack of specific enforcement measures in the bill. They argue that the lack of a specific verification mechanism constitutes a loophole that would allow illegal immigrants to get benefits despite the legal prohibition. Republican Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada proposed an amendment to the bill that would have required the use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program to check the citizenship of anyone applying for federal coverage or affordability credits. SAVE is the program used by Medicaid and similar entitlement programs. That amendment was voted down along party lines by the House Ways and Means Committee.Republicans have a point here: More could be done to enforce the ban. But it’s worth remembering that, as a spokesperson for the American Immigration Lawyers Association told us, attempting to get a health care credit would have legal repercussions. "Making a fraudulent claim to an entitlement program when you’re not actually entitled to it would have serious consequences for any person," the spokesperson told us, "but especially if it’s considered a false claim to citizenship, that would have serious immigration consequences that could ultimately lead to deportation."
Elsewhere in the piece, Jack relies on Calvin Woodward and Erica Werner of the AP as "Fact Checkers," I should point out what Woodward and Werner have to say about Joe Wilson's claim that the president lied:
OBAMA: "The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." One congressman, South Carolina RepublicanOuch. That one's gotta sting. , shouted "You lie!" from his seat in the House chamber when Obama made this assertion. Wilson later apologized.
THE FACTS: The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy , as many do now, but wouldn't get tax subsidies to help them. Still, Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits they are not due.[emphasis added.]
And yet Jack's column is titled "Joe Wilson was right." How?