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Republicans Feeling the Heat at Town Halls

Last night I went to my first Town Hall event hosted by my Republican congressman Patrick Meehan. This is Meehan’s first term in office and while I had heard that he was more of a moderate, he was backed by the Tea Baggers. Not long ago I had sent the Congressman a letter concerning Health Care Reform and after a few weeks I got a letter back telling me that he disagreed with me and thinks that the poor insurance companies need more loopholes and more money (okay he didn’t put it exactly like that, but you get the idea).

The Town Hall was the third one that the Congressman hosted yesterday but it was the only evening one. It was packed! Standing room only/people in the hall packed! I got there early so I had my pick of seats and decided to sit in the third row (mainly because I think I would probably gotten arrested if I sat in the first row).

The very first thing that the Congressman talked about was the importance of having a civil and respectful dialog. I’ll get into that topic more next week. Then Meehan went through his talking points which seemed to be given to him by Sean Hannity:

– Job Creators
– Reducing the Debt
– Competitive Tax Code
– Red Tape kills jobs

When it came to unemployment, he talked about how he was recently at a country club and… that was all he had to say. The crowd erupted. He asked what was wrong with country clubs and the crowd just laughed. He had to repeat his need for respect. Then he stated the obvious that unemployment is high.

He briefly talked about “Job creators” which is code for his corporate donors. He quickly transitioned to talking about the debt and showed Michele Bachmann’s misleading debt chart which doesn’t include the war debt until the Obama administration put that spending on the books. I had to yell out at that point along with many others. A few Republicans shouted back and Meehan again repeated his appeal for civility and respect. He even had a slide for that.

I’m going to skip the other two talking points and go right to the Q&A. The first question was from a Linden LaRouche person. I didn’t realize that dude was still alive, but he has a cult like following that is sort of like the liberal version of Ron Paul. In any case, her question didn’t make much sense and she just took up a lot of time for nothing.

The next question was about the pensions of Congressmen. Apparently a one term congressman gets a large pension for life paid with tax-payer dollars. Meehan disputed that and I don’t really know who is being honest here but I wouldn’t put my money on Meehan.

One woman talked about the EPA and the need for air and water regulations. Meehan at first appeared to be supportive of the EPA and then he tried to argue that EPA regulations are too strict and hurt corporations. He talked about a balanced approach and gave an example about a local corporation that puts water into the nearby river 2 degrees warmer. He said that the EPA fined them for it and that this somehow cost jobs. I would actually like to talk about this a moment. 2 degrees warmer doesn’t sound like much but it is. We just had a hurricane come through this area and that hurricane would have been worse had the water been 2 degrees warmer. Plus, how does fining a corporation cost jobs? It seems like that money should come out of the corporate profits not out of worker. Maybe if the top executives took pay cuts they could same jobs. So I don’t see the connection he was trying to make here. It was just a misleading trick to blame the EPA and to cut regulations. I would be more concerned with EPA regulators getting jobs in the industries they regulated after they leave their post at the EPA.

An obviously gay guy in the first row then got to ask a question. He said that he had been unemployed for nine months and that had never been unemployed before. He said there have been Republican bills against gay rights and Planned Parenthood, but no jobs bills. Where are the jobs bills? The crowd erupted again. People were shouting, “Where are the jobs” over and over again. Meehan again returned to his “respect” slide and tried to calm people down. He said that he has a jobs bill dealing with life science jobs. This is actually something I have a question about but didn’t get called on. I wonder how he expects to get that passed when most Republicans don’t accept the science of evolution. I don’t actually know where Meehan stands on that issue and I would love to find out.

A Christian minister got called on to ask a question. He appeared to be a liberal Christian because he asked if Meehan cared about the poor. The crowd again went wild. Meehan of course said that he cares. He didn’t add anything of any real substance except to that the man for being a minister and then they both agreed that you can’t get rich that way (although I would disagree and I bet Rich… I mean Rick Warren would too).

There was a question about simplifying the tax code and taking out corporate loopholes. Meehan was all for taking out loopholes… and then lowering the tax rate on corporations. To me that seems like a push at best.

One woman asked if he would take the Grover Norquist pledge to never raise taxes. The crowd screamed that he already did. Meehan then confessed that he had signed that pledge. I think the pledge was really to never raise taxes on Grover Norquist, but I’m just say’n.

He was getting a lot of boos at this point so he started to call on people who were obviously Republicans. They asked him some pretty crappy questions and then his time was up. One thing I noticed however was that the banner behind him that said, “Congressman Patrick Meehan” kept falling down throughout the hour long Town Hall. I found that amusing.

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