A First Hand View Of A Town Hall In Maryland: Nope, No Swastikas Here
ABC News’s Steven Portnoy goes to a Congressional town hall and finds something different from what the left says is there:
There were no lobbyist-funded buses in the parking lot of Mardela Middle and High School on Tuesday evening, and the hundreds of Eastern Maryland residents who packed the school’s auditorium loudly refuted the notion that their anger over the Democrats’ health care reform plans is “manufactured.”
“I went to school in this school,” a man named Bob told me. “I don’t see anyone in this room that isn’t from Mardela Springs right now.”
“We’ve been quiet too long,” said a woman named Joan.
They came to yell at their congressman, freshman Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil, and they were surprised to hear that the “Congress in Your Corner” event to which they had been invited — by a robocall from Kratovil himself — was not to be a public airing of grievances, but instead an opportunity for private, one-on-one sessions with the freshman Democrat.
As the crowd grew, and began venting frustration over the fact they would only be meeting with the congressman behind closed doors, Kratovil’s aides suggested he switch to a town hall format.
So much, I guess for the “manufactured outrage”, huh ?
I still have doubts about the political effectiveness of behavior like this:
Boos and cries of “You don’t get it!” were hurled at Kratovil, as he suggested that the current health care system needed to be fixed.
“You’re deceiving us! You’re trying to shove this stuff through,” one woman yelled.
“I’m not! But I hear you,” Kratovil pleaded.
“This bill is un-American,” said another voter, who asked whether Kratovil has read it.
“I am reading it right now,” he said.
In an interview before the session, Kratovil admitted he’s under heavy pressure from both the constituents in his conservative-leaning district and his party’s leadership, but, alluding to his vote on Cap and Trade, he said he’s already cast unpopular votes.
“I’m trying to make decisions based on the merits of it, and not based on politics,” he told me.
By the end of the 90 minute town hall — which Kratovil told the crowd was his fourth interaction with constituents that day — the congressman looked exasperated. He was hounded by jeers all the way out to his car.
But I think it’s wrong to say that these voters are brainwashed or that their views aren’t worthy of consideration. In fact, if Congressman like Kratovil don’t pay attention to them, they could come to regret it in November 2010.