Honing those pitchforks

Stories have been coming out here and there about elected officials or their staffs not treating constituents with respect.  This does not seem to be a good way to win support for Health Care Reform. 

Last fall and winter many pundits were warning that the difference between a recession and a depression is that the former is part of a normal cycle while the latter requires government interference.  The difference between a normal political activism and civil unrest may well turn out to be the arrogant stifling of debate by those in power.  
Many Congressmen and Senators seem reluctant to meet with their constituents over the upcoming recess.  This is not smart.  So far most of the protesters against the further expansion of government have been polite if firm. As time passes, however, many are growing frustrated with a Congress that hasn't been listening and a media that tends to either ignore them or misrepresent their cause.  I suspect from reading the comments after some of these stories people are beginning to think in terms of warming up the tar and breaking open the old feather pillows.  The comment thread after the story on Senator Feinstein having constituents arrested almost reads like one from Free Republic or Ace of Spades instead of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Here is the political theater from Los Angeles.  (video here)

Police were called on a group of retirees who refused to leave Sen. Dianne Feinstein's West Los Angeles office until she talked to them about health care reform.

Los Angeles police Sergeant Rich Brunson said Thursday that police lured the group of seven outside somehow, then locked the building's doors behind them.

In New York, Representative Tim Bishop, who has stopped holding townhall meetings because he sees them as "pointless',  doesn't see the contradiction in ignoring dissenting voices inherent in this remark about why Democrats need to move forward on Health Reform.

"I think in general what is going on is we are tackling issues that have been ignored for a long time, and I think that is disruptive to a lot of people," said Bishop, a four-term congressman. "We are trying, one by one, to deal with a set of issues that can't be ignored, and I think that's unsettling to a lot of people."

No Congressman Bishop.  What is unsettling is a rush to pass a bill, largely unread, that ignores all other possible solutions other than the one with the biggest possible government footprint and a potentially catastrophic impact on future deficits.  

Form the annals of the absurd comes Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson.  The long time Congressman from northern Minnesota apparently forgot that, thanks to the Internet, voters in places like Fergus Falls soon learn what he tells the Washington press corps about them. 

"Twenty-five percent of my people believe the Pentagon and Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the twin towers down," said Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat who represents a conservative Republican district in Minnesota. "That's why I don't do town meetings."

That comment gave every small town paper reporter and talk radio jock in Minnesota an excuse to interview people at the local coffee shop on who caused 9/11 in search of that army of truthers.  A few days later in the article Is health bill too complex to grasp?, Peterson compounded his problem with voters unhappy over Health Care with another comment.    

"The members don't even understand what's in it," he confessed of the legislation. As for his constituents? They are "not exactly sure what this is about, and they're not really sure whether they like it or not."

Peterson can rest assured the Minnesota GOP is hard at work finding a candidate to run against him who is capable of understanding bills before the House and who will meet with constituents instead of branding them as kooks. 

On a chilling note, earlier this week, President Obama held an event to rally support for his health care  in Bristol, Virginia.  This small city in the far southwest corner of Virginia is part of a tri-cities region on the I-81 corridor that includes nearby Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee.  While the attendees at the actual event were handpicked, there were many protesters along the motorcade route.  As has been the case in many such events, the anti-Obama care protesters greatly outnumbered the pro voices.  A reader of Gateway Pundit sent in this report. (bold in original)

During the motorcade when the president was arriving, there were several vehicles following the limo that contained the secret service. All of the vehicles had all the windows rolled down, and back hatch open on the SUVs with the men holding their, I assume assault rifles, machine guns, drawn on everyone lining the streets. Needless to say it took my breath away at the sight of them, and made my friends and I dizzy with fear. I have seen the secret service before, but never like this. While they were intimidating, I never felt in danger. The guns were not drawn when the motorcade was leaving the event. But I turned on a local talk radio program as we were leaving and all the calls were about witnessing the guns being pointed at them and nothing else until the end of the program.

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit assured his reader that this is not normal behavior for the secret service.  I have been at several Presidential events in my life and watched more than one motorcade pass by and concur.

The Secret Service may have a reason for the show of force. There may have been a specific threat we don't know about.  Perhaps the more open spaces in Bristol meant there were more potential hides within range than fits their normal comfort zone. After POTUS attempted a lame joke about their efficiency during his comments on Professor Gates, they made be erring even more in the direction of security than political image making.  Whatever it was, the message was poison.  Only handpicked supporters were going to get into the carefully orchestrated media event at a Kroger deli that had Obama jetting in and out of the community. That all those who were left to peacefully demonstrate outside had been held at gunpoint is not going to be forgotten anytime soon by those in attendance. 

Expect more of this type of reaction, from outside the townhall meeting in Raleigh, NC on the same day as the event in Bristol.
Stories have been coming out here and there about elected officials or their staffs not treating constituents with respect.  This does not seem to be a good way to win support for Health Care Reform. 

Last fall and winter many pundits were warning that the difference between a recession and a depression is that the former is part of a normal cycle while the latter requires government interference.  The difference between a normal political activism and civil unrest may well turn out to be the arrogant stifling of debate by those in power.  
Many Congressmen and Senators seem reluctant to meet with their constituents over the upcoming recess.  This is not smart.  So far most of the protesters against the further expansion of government have been polite if firm. As time passes, however, many are growing frustrated with a Congress that hasn't been listening and a media that tends to either ignore them or misrepresent their cause.  I suspect from reading the comments after some of these stories people are beginning to think in terms of warming up the tar and breaking open the old feather pillows.  The comment thread after the story on Senator Feinstein having constituents arrested almost reads like one from Free Republic or Ace of Spades instead of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Here is the political theater from Los Angeles.  (video here)

Police were called on a group of retirees who refused to leave Sen. Dianne Feinstein's West Los Angeles office until she talked to them about health care reform.

Los Angeles police Sergeant Rich Brunson said Thursday that police lured the group of seven outside somehow, then locked the building's doors behind them.

In New York, Representative Tim Bishop, who has stopped holding townhall meetings because he sees them as "pointless',  doesn't see the contradiction in ignoring dissenting voices inherent in this remark about why Democrats need to move forward on Health Reform.

"I think in general what is going on is we are tackling issues that have been ignored for a long time, and I think that is disruptive to a lot of people," said Bishop, a four-term congressman. "We are trying, one by one, to deal with a set of issues that can't be ignored, and I think that's unsettling to a lot of people."

No Congressman Bishop.  What is unsettling is a rush to pass a bill, largely unread, that ignores all other possible solutions other than the one with the biggest possible government footprint and a potentially catastrophic impact on future deficits.  

Form the annals of the absurd comes Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson.  The long time Congressman from northern Minnesota apparently forgot that, thanks to the Internet, voters in places like Fergus Falls soon learn what he tells the Washington press corps about them. 

"Twenty-five percent of my people believe the Pentagon and Rumsfeld were responsible for taking the twin towers down," said Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat who represents a conservative Republican district in Minnesota. "That's why I don't do town meetings."

That comment gave every small town paper reporter and talk radio jock in Minnesota an excuse to interview people at the local coffee shop on who caused 9/11 in search of that army of truthers.  A few days later in the article Is health bill too complex to grasp?, Peterson compounded his problem with voters unhappy over Health Care with another comment.    

"The members don't even understand what's in it," he confessed of the legislation. As for his constituents? They are "not exactly sure what this is about, and they're not really sure whether they like it or not."

Peterson can rest assured the Minnesota GOP is hard at work finding a candidate to run against him who is capable of understanding bills before the House and who will meet with constituents instead of branding them as kooks. 

On a chilling note, earlier this week, President Obama held an event to rally support for his health care  in Bristol, Virginia.  This small city in the far southwest corner of Virginia is part of a tri-cities region on the I-81 corridor that includes nearby Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee.  While the attendees at the actual event were handpicked, there were many protesters along the motorcade route.  As has been the case in many such events, the anti-Obama care protesters greatly outnumbered the pro voices.  A reader of Gateway Pundit sent in this report. (bold in original)

During the motorcade when the president was arriving, there were several vehicles following the limo that contained the secret service. All of the vehicles had all the windows rolled down, and back hatch open on the SUVs with the men holding their, I assume assault rifles, machine guns, drawn on everyone lining the streets. Needless to say it took my breath away at the sight of them, and made my friends and I dizzy with fear. I have seen the secret service before, but never like this. While they were intimidating, I never felt in danger. The guns were not drawn when the motorcade was leaving the event. But I turned on a local talk radio program as we were leaving and all the calls were about witnessing the guns being pointed at them and nothing else until the end of the program.

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit assured his reader that this is not normal behavior for the secret service.  I have been at several Presidential events in my life and watched more than one motorcade pass by and concur.

The Secret Service may have a reason for the show of force. There may have been a specific threat we don't know about.  Perhaps the more open spaces in Bristol meant there were more potential hides within range than fits their normal comfort zone. After POTUS attempted a lame joke about their efficiency during his comments on Professor Gates, they made be erring even more in the direction of security than political image making.  Whatever it was, the message was poison.  Only handpicked supporters were going to get into the carefully orchestrated media event at a Kroger deli that had Obama jetting in and out of the community. That all those who were left to peacefully demonstrate outside had been held at gunpoint is not going to be forgotten anytime soon by those in attendance. 

Expect more of this type of reaction, from outside the townhall meeting in Raleigh, NC on the same day as the event in Bristol.