The a South Carolina gun company is selling a special commemorative AR-15 lower embossed with the phrase "You Lie," as a tribute to Rep. Joe Wilson (R)'s famous outburst during President Obama's health care speech in 2009.
Corey Hutchins of Free Times snagged some promotional copy and screen caps from the website of the Palmetto State Armory:
"Palmetto State Armory would like to honor our esteemed congressman Joe Wilson with the release of our new "You Lie" AR-15 lower receiver. These lowers are the same great quality you have come to expect from Palmetto State Armory and feature "You Lie" as the first six digits of the serial number. Only 999 of these will be produced, get yours before they are gone! These forged lowers are made using high quality 7075-T6 aluminum and are marked "MULTI" to accommodate most builds. Finish is Black Hardcoat Anodize."
The website made clear that Wilson had not endorsed the product and was in no way affiliated with its manufacture.
Wilson made an official visit to the Palmetto State Armory in August of 2010 to honor the company for creating jobs. PSA displayed a picture of Wilson holding a rifle on the same page as the offer for the limited-edition AR-15 lower bearing the congressman's words.
What did Wilson accuse the president of lying about? The president was explaining that undocumented immigrants would not be allowed to purchase subsidized insurance under health care reform. The language was right there in the House bill.
Dave Weigel of Slate writes:
I remember attending some pre-9/12/09 Tea Party events in D.C. -- remember, the rally was the week of the Obama address that Wilson interrupted -- and finding universal admiration and acclaim for the congressman. The oh-my-stars-and-garters reaction of the media was totally at odds with how Wilson was viewed by conservatives. The president, they felt, had lied; whether some House decorum was violated was uninteresting and irrelevant. [Emphasis added.]
Yes, Joe Wilson became a Tea Party hero despite being flat-out wrong because conservatives felt the president was lying. Overnight, this otherwise undistinguished back bencher became the poster boy for inchoate conservative rage. Joe Wilson-themed flare became core Tea Party kitsch: signs, t-shirts, ties, you name it.
The AR-15 lower is the latest bit of merch in the cult of aggressive know-nothingism.