12 August 2009

Town Halls

Just got back from the town hall for WA-02.  It was moved to an outdoor baseball stadium (AA Ball, but hey) due to overwhelming interest.  I'd guesstimate 2,000 people there at least.  The crowd was boisterous but generally well-behaved.  Both pro- and anti-reform groups had done their turnout well, and they were more or less evenly matched -- if you count the many single-payer types there as "pro-reform."  The anti-reform folks were definitely louder & more passionate.)  I'm willing to bet the news will highlight the polarized debate without ever mentioning the Single Payer activists.

There were a number of very angry people there who screamed in rage, but as the discussion went on everybody seemed to tone it down.  Some people brought small children, which astonished me.  I would never dream of bringing my kids to an event like this, and the consensus is that I'm a terribly irresponsible parent!

Congressman Larsen was good.  Gentle humor, frequent reminders to be polite, good flashes of personality.  He also seemed to lull the crowd into a stupor with detailed, boring responses to the questions.  He answered most of them very well, and ducked (or misunderstood) a few.  I was impressed; I know I couldn't handle a hostile crowd that well.

It really seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the protesters when he explained that, though a Democrat, he did not support Single Payer nor the Public Option as currently written.  He gave detailed and knowledgeable explanations and chuckled ruefully that he was getting "booed by my friends," as the Single Payer folks were indeed heckling him.

And it wouldn't have been a real 2009 Town Hall debate without the obligatory kooks with the Obama=Hitler placards:

But wait!  I assumed they were teabaggers; they're not!   The LaRouche brigade is back!   Oh, politics will never grow dull as long as these clowns are around.  They make the Ron Paulites look serious and in touch with reality.

I chatted with a number of folks there, and it really brought one thing home: a lot of people at political rallies are just nuts, regardless oftheir ideology.  Seriously, maybe we need to rethink this whole democracy thing.

(Note to the irony-impared: that's a joke)


  1. ...damn. And I had just moved Seattle to the top of the list of places to move to. (I better brace for the snow in Chicago).
    I won't dare to venture out to one of those down here in Jaw-ja, I have too short a fuse to tolerate ignorance. And seeing that Jaw-ja residents are allowed to carry loaded weapons into bars, I don't foresee myself heading to the local drinkin' hole to chat politics.

  2. Golly, Joe, there is always Boston, L.A., Washington DC, and my personal favorite recommendation for those who prefer tofu and social welfare...anywhere in France!

    Pattie, RN

  3. ahhh...Pattie, the latest Talking Point from Fox is now Tyranny....they moved on from socialism a couple weeks ago. So because I don't think having guns in a bar where alcohol is served (not Tofu bar, mind you), that makes me a socialist?
    Proving the idiom...'it is better to remain quiet, than to remove all doubt'

  4. "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship."
    -- Alexander Fraser Tyler
    18th century Scottish historian, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic

  5. Some people brought small children, which astonished me. I would never dream of bringing my kids to an event like this, and the consensus is that I'm a terribly irresponsible parent!

    Why not? This is probably the closest to open-air public debate this country's been since the start of the television era.

    But despite working in healthcare, I have a dirty secret--- my B.A. in B.S.* was heavy on the PoliSci.

    *I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science. I also have a M.Ed., which I can't put on my work badge because people are DUMB and think it's a MEDical degree, not a Master's in Education.

  6. "a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by dictatorship." I venture to say that Alexander Fraser Tyler was quite a capitalist in his time. Ignore the needs of the masses at your own peril.

  7. A friend of mine was at that rally. She reported that the people near her in the crowd were talking about death camps. W.T.F. I cannot even imagine the level of crazy that would be required to take the idea of death camps for American citizens being established in broad daylight under the guise of healthcare reform. This trumps the Clinton era black helicopter bullshit by a mile.

  8. If the media gave the same credence to those of use that opposed the invasion of Iraq as it does to these anti-health care Tea Bagger nut jobs, we probably could have stopped the war.

    These are basically a bunch of malcontents who will oppose anything Obama tries to do. They don't want a black man running the country. Its as simple as that.

    And they've got the insurance company lobbyists to organize them.


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