I’m watching a town hall meeting in PA as I write this.
At the beginning Specter was listening to a very unhappy gentleman, who asked a question that Specter wouldn’t answer because the man didn’t have a numbered card. Understandably, the man got very upset and walked out of the meeting, but not before he had his say. At this point, Specter declared, “That was an example of democracy in action. Remember, I didn’t have to come here today. I don’t get paid for being here” (paraphrased). The crowd reacted unhappily to this, but not unreasonably.
Specter claims that he will not vote for a health care plan that adds to the deficit, but has no answers about how it will be funded. One gentleman asked Specter if he would make a commitment to work on the problems regarding illegal immigration, TORT reform, etc. rather than throw out the health care system that is working for most of the country. Specter pretty much blew him off and moved on to the next question.
Another gentleman made a reference to the astro-turf group, stating that he was not a member, and made it clear that nobody paid or told him to attend the meeting. He, too, felt that other changes, like Tort Reform, would be a more effective solution to the health care problem, and suggested that we give non- citizens an airplane ticket home like New York does. He also felt that the current bill leads to a single payer system. He stated: “We are not scared, but we want to be able to trust, and we don’t.” He also encouraged the senator to go back and propose a bill for term limits. This suggestion was met with enthusiastic applause. Specter’s response was that he can be voted out…”that’s democracy.”
Another audience member said that she didn’t want the government to determine where she donated her money. Specter’s response: “I will not support a bill that gives the government the right to find out what any citizen has in the bank.”
The seventeenth question was posed by a gentleman who began by telling Specter that he had supported him as a candidate, but he (Specter) had defected. He went on the voice his concerns regarding some problems with the Obama government: “Our liberties and freedoms are eroding. What about Gitmo? Did you ever read the Koran, senator? I have. All unbelievers must be killed. We don’t want this in our country…” Specter: “…Congress has spoken and insisted that Gitmo remain open until there is a plan…next question.”
Question number 19 was: Why does the government want to buy a car company that makes cars nobody wants?
Specter: “There’s no sensible answer to that…we are trying to give people a job, trying to keep a lot of dealers open…by directing GM to stop making cars that nobody wants to buy…we want them to restructure what they are doing…let them fail? The calculation is that they can be saved.”
Specter’s dander was raised when a woman asked a question about Section 1233 of the plan. She informed him: “As a 74 year-old man with cancer we would write you off according to the plan.” Specter was immediately defensive and yelled: “That is a vicious rumor! Next question.”
Another gentleman asked two questions. One about Card Check and one about Cap and Trade. “Thank you for opposing this! But high pressure salesmanship is still in force. A time line of 5-10 days to make up our mind is high pressure…and Cap and Trade will increase our electric bills by 40-50%. This will decimate what is left of our industrial sector. There will be a mass exodus of manufacturing to other countries.”
Specter: “…on Cap and Trade, we haven’t gotten a bill in the senate…we will take it up and see that we don’t lose jobs because of a tax. As far as the time line for a secret ballot, we will make sure that sufficient time is allowed for people to make up their minds. Next question.”
Another man stated that he had lived in Canada, where he paid a 60% tax rate for “free” healthcare, and had also lived in London for two years. He felt that those systems were eerily like this bill. His question touched on the requirement for seniors to have mandatory counseling for dying with dignity. He stated that he is offended by this requirement.
Specter: “I’m opposed to mandatory counseling…We can get it if we want to…It’s a personal decision.”
One of the last questions came from a disabled vet. He opened by saying: “I respect you for being who you are… [but] this is only the beginning to what is happening to America. We have a bunch of bureaucrats who are robbing us blind. Tell Washington that you are an American first… I don’t care what party you are. Would you go back and represent us as Americans first and tell Obama that he is an American?” Specter: “Yes, I will represent Americans.”
Most of the questions posed were delivered by Republicans. They thanked the Senator for attending the meeting, spoke in reasonable voices, etc. They were very respectful even though they were obviously upset; many of their hands were shaking as they posed their questions. One woman stood up in support of the bill and nobody booed or ridiculed her. Not very radical of those extremist conservatives, huh? It was a joy to watch democracy in action.
Conservatives need to keep putting the feet of the politicians to the fire in this way. Let’s not give the thugs any ammunition against us. If we come off as violently as they do we are no better. I know that I quote Scripture a lot in my diaries, and I’ll do it again: Proverbs 15:1-2 (KJV) says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” Consider the voice of Marco Rubio vs. Harry Reid. Need I say more?