Or, a perfectly over-the-top observation on South Carolina

In flouting the rules of decorum of the House of Representatives that date back to the times of James Madison, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina may not be the most egregious example of the southerly tendency toward boorishness, but he certainly seems to fit right in.

On May 22, 1856 U.S. Representative Preston Brooks crossed over to the Senate chamber, confronted Senator Charles Sumner, an anti-slavery legislator from Massachusetts at his writing desk and then proceeded to club the Senator with the metal handle of his walking stick. Sumner, trapped against the desk fell to floor under the Congressman’s repeated blows.

Southerners responded to Brook’s cowardly attack by forming a “Preston Brooks Anti-Sass Society,” and shipped the Congressman crates of spare canes. When Massachusetts Representative Anson Burlingame denounced the attack on the floor of the House of Representatives, Brooks challenged him to a duel. Burlingame accepted. However, upon learning that Burlingame was an accomplished marksman, Brooks had second thoughts and withdrew from the duel.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, Preston Brooks’ congressional seat is now held by none other than one Joe Wilson of South Carolina. Apparently they also share the same South Carolinian manners and etiquette coach.

(Just a thought)