Recess Rallies—Getting an Earful
By Nancy Matthis
August 7, 2009
Senators and Representatives will be meeting with their constituents all over the U.S. this month. The U.S. House of Representatives adjourned for summer recess on July 31. The Senate ends their session today. Our elected officials will be spending August in their home states and districts listening to the voices of the locals — in town hall meetings, at pancake breakfasts and barbeques and a host of other public appearances.
Political advocacy groups are urging their members to use the opportunity to push for desired legislation. The National Rifle Association is urging its members to voice strong support for the Second Amendment. And NumbersUSA tells its members that going to August town hall meetings is the most important thing they can do.
But the real hot button topic this year is the pending healthcare legislation. Made arrogant by their control of all three branches of government, the Democrats have poisoned the water with heretofore inconceivable acrimony unbecoming folk in public service. Their remarks about their fellow citizens, often blatant lies, have turned what has always been an American summer tradition, a celebration of the First Amendment, into an unseemly brawl.
It started with open disdain for middle America. Nancy Pelosi called the “grass roots” citizens astroturf. Later Barbara Boxer sniffed with disapproval because those who disagree with Obamacare are well-dressed. Obama’s press secretary Gibbs agreed with Boxer, dubbing the protesters the “Brooks Brothers Brigade.” Gibbs dismissed the sincere views of the middle class as manufactured anger.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse released this statement:
The Republicans and their allied groups – desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill – are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country….
These mobs are bussed in by well funded, highly organized groups run by Republican operatives and funded by the special interests who are desperately trying to stop the agenda for change the President was elected to bring to Washington. Despite the headline grabbing nature of these angry mobs and their disruptions of events, they are not reflective of where the American people are on the issues….
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain responded to the offensive DNC ‘Mob Rule’ statement:
What Democrats call ‘mob rule’ the average American calls ‘democracy.’ Is this the strategy Democrats had in mind when they promised to galvanize public opinion regarding their unpopular massive government-takeover of health care?
This hyper-defensive reaction from the Democrat Party speaks volumes about the precarious position their members find themselves in. Speaker Pelosi and other party leaders dubbed this recess a healthcare ‘offensive,’ but little did we know the ‘offensiveness’ would be aimed at their own constituents. These kinds of despicable characterizations of middle class Americans, who oppose trillions in mounting government debt, as elements of the partisan ‘fringe’ smacks of elitism.
Back home, the Democrats are having a hard time of it. At the end of July, Maryland Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil was hung in effigy outside a rally he held in Salisbury on the Eastern Shore. WSJ’s Opinion Journal reports:
As he entered the auditorium of the Mardela Middle and High School on Tuesday, a surprised Frank Kratovil waded through a sea of constituents. The first-term Democratic congressman had been told by aides that maybe two or three dozen residents would attend the “Congress in Your Corner” town-hall event in this Eastern Shore town of about 360 people. Instead, more than 250 people showed up. The crowd repeatedly burst into wild cheering, but not for Mr. Kratovil. The cheers were for residents who gave the congressman a piece of their mind over what’s happening in Washington.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett met with constituents for a “neighborhood meeting” outside a grocery store in south Austin, Texas on Saturday, August 1. He wasn’t expecting trouble, because the event had only been announced to fellow Democrats. But the largely Democratic crowd began chanting “just say no, and when he tried to leave they surrounded his car. Here’s video of that:
Senator Arlen Specter and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a town hall meeting in Philadelphia Sunday, August 2 at which audience members booed and jeered. One man asked, “When congressmen scoff at the notion of reading legislation because they aren’t qualified or they aren’t competent to understand it, how can we be confident that those congressmen are competent to re-engineer the entire health care system?”
On the evening of Monday, August 3, Wisconsin Democrat Representative Steve Kagen was greeted by several hundred “fired-up constituents” at his town hall meeting at the Brown County Library. Here’s Kagen’s audience:
Also on Monday night, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) of the Napa Valley ran into trouble:
Speaking in a packed church, Thompson and other speakers were met by shouts of “This is America!” and “What’s wrong with profit?” as they also tried to answer questions from supporters and critics in the audience….
On Tuesday, August 4 Massachusetts congressmen James P. McGovern and Richard E. Neal, whose two districts represent Worcester, held a joint meeting at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Amphitheater. There they were heckled and booed and shouted down several times.
On Wednesday, August 5 two Arkansas Democratic congressmen faced an angry crowd. U.S. Reps. Mike Ross and Vic Snyder were heckled and shouted at.
At one point, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross sat with his head in his hands while the crowd shouted….
On the afternoon of Thursday, August 6, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ1) walked out of her town hall meeting in Holbrook, Arizona. The assembled crowd comprised mostly seniors, and they were not disruptive. They were just angry about the proposed health care, but she chose not to listen to them. Although she had scheduled the meeting, and all these white-haired people had taken the time and trouble to attend, she turned her back on her constituents and drove away in her brand-new gas-guzzling white SUV.
On the evening of Thursday, August 6, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor tried to speak for nearly 15 minutes at a meeting in Ybor City, Florida, but the crowd drowned her out. She finally gave up and left, with jeers following her. Read about the
North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller has announced that he will not be holding any town hall meetings during summer recess. He claims he received a death threat for not scheduling any meetings, but most media outlets have incorrectly portrayed this as the reason he is not having town halls. You can always count on the MSM to twist the facts to favor the Dems!
It promises to be an interesting month.
MAinfo — Violence Erupts at Rep Castor’s town hall in Tampa
White House to Democrats: “Punch back twice as hard”
Top White House aides gave Senate Democrats a recess battle plan on Thursday, arming the lawmakers with tips for avoiding disastrous town hall meetings….
“If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” [deputy chief of staff Jim] Messina said, according to an official who attended the meeting.
Fox Forum — Democrats’ Blame Game Keeps Backfiring
The Examiner — The hypocrisy and lies by the Left regarding Town Hall protests are adding fuel to the fire
Libertarians, Independents, Republicans and Democrats have come together to express their anger over the outrageous way that their taxpayer dollars are being spent in this country…. These are every day Americans who are absolutely sick and tired of politicians – on both sides – ignoring what the voters want and what is best for them and simply voting along party lines, regardless of the ramifications to the taxpayers….
It is typical of liberals and the liberal media to skew and actually lie about anything and anyone who does not agree with their agenda. Rather than admitting that the people protesting are ordinary Americans from all walks of life, they would prefer to label these people as those that are like liberal protesters – ‘manufactured’….
The biggest fear the Left is facing right now is that regular Americans can think for themselves. They are not paid to protest like liberals nor are they told what to protest or why. The liberal lies that are being spun all over the internet, television, radio and print newspaper are truly hypocritical and a serious abomination. All they are doing is adding fuel to the fire.
American Thinker — Left begins smear campaign against Town Hall protests
The first thing you have to understand is that it is impossible, according to the left, for conservatives to have a legitimate protest. Only liberals have “authentic” grass roots so the idea of the right demonstrating against anything – in their lights – is a political trick….
Of course, this is absurd on its face. The protests at congressional town halls are certainly authentic in that they represent the views of millions of people, if not a majority….
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