For starters, let’s stipulate that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., is an idiot.

We say this not just because Wilson is trying to get Maine’s former governor, John Baldacci, fired from his new federal job; we say it because, well, because Wilson is an idiot.

The job, in case anyone missed the news, is a one-year, $165,300 position at the Defense Department, where Baldacci was hired by Under Secretary of Defense Clifford L. Stanley to study military health care. Wilson, who chairs a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, raised questions about the hire during a congressional hearing this week, then wrote a letter to Stanley asking him to eliminate Baldacci’s job.

Wilson is of the opinion that the position is unnecessary. Wilson’s opinion, however, must be taken with a grain of salt because his opinions are often wrong and just plain stupid.

Like the time he insisted that longtime South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond didn’t father a child out of wedlock. Wrong.

Or the time more recently when he blurted, “You lie!” to President Obama during a presidential speech to Congress. Never mind the breathtaking breach of civility and congressional protocol – Obama wasn’t even lying.

One more word on the quality of Wilson’s opinions. Back in 2000, he was one of only seven state senators who voted against removing the Confederate flag from its exalted position flying over the state capitol.

Wilson said that removing the flag at the behest of offended citizens would be an affront to the “Confederate heritage,” which he called “very honorable.”

Honor is in the eye of the beholder, of course. Could it be that Wilson doesn’t want Baldacci to work for the government because, as a proud South Carolinian who cherishes his Confederate heritage, Wilson thinks Maine fought on the wrong side in the Civil War? Just asking.

More likely, Wilson is simply grandstanding as part House Republicans’ ongoing commitment to mindless, random budget-cutting as opposed to meaningful pursuit of fiscal responsibility.

As his outburst during the president’s health care speech last year demonstrated for all the world to see, Wilson loves being the center of attention and shooting his mouth off in public. So his military personnel subcommittee holds a hearing and Wilson seizes the opportunity to make an issue of Baldacci’s new job by claiming it duplicates existing positions.

Stanley told Wilson he was wrong, that Baldacci – who served in Congress before becoming governor – would be overseeing a “deep-dive review” of the military’s health care and wellness programs, going far beyond any policy studies being conducted by other staffers.

Stanley explained: “I needed an outside look and I had a (former) member of Congress, as well as a former governor … to help with not only (National) Guard and Reserve issues but also looking at the holistic viewpoint of readiness, of wellness, of looking at how we are going to do patient satisfaction … duplication is not what I actually see right now.”

That’s good enough for us. And good enough for Maine’s representatives in Congress, all of whom support Stanley’s decision to hire Baldacci.

But not good enough for Wilson, who ignored Stanley’s rationale for creating the job and persuaded seven other members of his subcommittee to join him in urging Stanley to give Baldacci the boot.

We urge Stanley, and Stanley’s bosses at the Defense Department and the White House, to keep Baldacci on the payroll. We urge Maine’s congressional delegation to stand by our former governor in the face of Wilson’s ridiculous political posturing.

The truth is, Maine loyalties aside, the Pentagon, our nation’s military men and women, and the American people are lucky to have a man of John Baldacci’s skill and integrity working on their behalf. He has served his state and his country ably and unselfishly for many years; he deserves better than being the subject of a cheap-shot from the likes of Joe Wilson.