Joe Wilson Wins Nativist Vote

| Thu Sep. 10, 2009 11:48 AM EDT

Rep. Joe Wilson may have apologized for heckling the president during his speech to Congress Wednesday, but plenty of people apparently wish he hadn't, most notably, Rush Limbaugh. But his outburst has earned him support among another fringe of the right-wing: immigration foes, who were thrilled to hear Wilson vocally challenge Obama on his claim that health care reform would not cover illegal immigrants. Today, the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALI-PAC) came to Wilson' defense, urging supporters to speak out online and on talk radio to support the South Carolina Republican.

"It is a real shame that the rest of Congress was not on their feet pointing out the President's lie about illegal aliens in his Health Care plans along with Joe Wilson," said William Gheen, the group's executive director. "Joe Wilson yelled out what millions of Americans were thinking during Obama's speech. We agree with what Joe Wilson said, even if we did not, we would defend his right as an American to speak his mind."

Gheen became a media phenom in 2005 after fighting a North Carolina bill that would have allowed some non-citizens to qualify for in-state tuition at some of North Carolina's public colleges and universities. A talk radio host, he is a prominent promoter of the reconquista conspiracy theory, believing that Mexicans are plotting to seize American territory. He has close ties to the Minutemen and other anti-immigration factions that the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed hate groups. Wilson may have disgraced his party last night, but for guys like Gheen, Wilson is a bona fide hero.