It appears that members can still use “disgrace” and “nitwit” but not “liar” or “sexual misconduct.”
The controversy concerns section 370 of the House Rules and Manual, which is being used to bar a range of comments on the President that are in my view protected speech. These include calling the President a “liar,” a “hypocrite,” guilty of a “cowardly” act, or any allegation of “sexual misconduct on the President’s part.”
This could raise some extremely interesting questions, particularly if the Democrats seek to enforce these rules against a member. I believe the Democrats are simply wrong in such a position and are putting themselves at odds with free speech and the inherent rights of a member in the representation of this constituency. Courts have indeed yielded to the prerogative of the House in setting its own rules. However, this may be the exception to that rule. The problem with Wilson’s outburst was that he was not allowed to speak or heckle a presidential address under the rules. This would appear to cover a much broader range of speech.
Former President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, has declared that most criticsm of President Obama is racially motivated. When you can't defend your policies, deal from the bottom of the deck by playing the race card, eh?