Now officially part of the mob, I attended the town hall meeting yesterday of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) in Hagerstown. (Included below are two brand new videos.)
Maryland is as “blue” a state as you can find. (Barack Obama got almost 700,000 more votes than John McCain in 2008). But anger at Obamacare — and the senators and congressman pushing it — appears to have turned a lot of blue voters red-faced.
Obama won the State of Maryland in the Presidential general election last year by over 26 points — Obama-Biden receiving 61.9 percent of the vote to 35.5 percent for McCain-Palin. The representative town hall turnout does not bode well for those who support government plans to takeover health care.
At the Cardin town hall, there were loud, sustained boos at the senator’s mention of Obama administration health care efforts. When Cardin said how hard the president was working on it, the boos sounded like a convoy of 18-wheelers. Democrat leaders inside the beltway appear for the moment to be deaf to the cries of the majority of their constituents. That may cost them dearly.
The Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Community College seats 440 and there were at least twice that many people trying to get in. A long line stretched around the building. This was a first come, first in the door type of attendance. Cardin staffers said they requested RSVP emails from constituents to give them an idea of how many were attending, not any sort of system that would assign tickets or guarantee admission.
With the exception of a couple dozen local Democrat politicians and teachers from the college, the admission appeared to be based purely on order of arrival on site.
The first thing that hit when walking the line outside that was waiting to get in was the sense of purpose people had in being there. They were determined, fired up, passionate, speaking animatedly and really upset about the Democrats’ bills, especially the 1,017-page House Resolution 3200.
I saw no one wearing a swastika, but there was a great deal of red, white & blue.
There were not many supporters of the government takeover of health care at this town hall. None of the purple-shirt union thugs we’ve all come to know in Fox News reports (did anyone else show them?) and YouTube.com from their physical assaults on attendees. Leaving aside the Democrat politicians and teachers there as guests of the senator, I saw less than a dozen people there supporting Obamacare with buttons or stickers or anything obvious. There was observable opposition everywhere including t-shirts identifying folks as members of the “mob.”
Many of those attending have read H.R. 3200, the 1000 + page monster Democrat bill that has now been reported out of three separate House committees of jurisdiction, which left Sen. Cardin at an obvious disadvantage.
The people were quoting page number and verse of the horrors contained in the massive House bill to their representative who hasn’t read the bills. So they got platitudes in return.
What these Democrat politicians have not yet grasped is that this type of response is what’s causing the deep distrust and angst on display at their town hall meetings. These folks want a debate, not spin. Not talking points. Not lectures. Not arrogance. They want to ask a question then a follow up question when all they hear in response is what some staffer formulated that has nothing to do with what is actually in the bill. These folks expect their representatives to read the bills and they want to talk to them after they’ve read them.
When discussing an issue as important as health care, which often means the difference between life and death, voters want to be able to have their representative explain, point by point, how what they are reading in these bills with their own eyes is not what they are reading in these bills with their own eyes. Because that’s what Democrats are haughtily telling their constituents without having read the bills and without explanation.
The microphones are cut off and questioners cannot ask a follow up question. So they shout. At least this was the case at the Cardin town hall in Hagerstown. There were hand signals between the moderator on stage and the booth in the back of the theater when she wanted the microphone cut. It was so obvious that many times folks in the audience would shout at the senator to turn the microphone back on.
About halfway through the event, a woman made an impassioned plea to the senator to explain how he could win back the trust of the American people over the health care issue when the government is completely out of control.
Cardin made the mistake of saying the Obama administration has made advances in restoring the trust of the American people on the heath care issue. The intensity of the sudden booing sounded like a freight train in the auditorium.
You can see in the below footage of Cardin in the exchange, to the upper right side of the screen, the hand signal from the moderator on stage to cut the woman’s microphone during her question. When the crowd starts shouting to turn the microphone back on, the moderator asks the senator on camera, “Do you want to hear her?”
It would be interesting to hear what a body language expert has to say about Cardin’s hand movements at the podium during the sustained boos when he mentions Obama. He does, at one point, manage to force a smile.
Since Democrat members of Congress in Northern Virginia haven’t had the guts to have a town hall meeting, friends from Virginia Living TV hopped the border to Cardin’s town hall to film for their programs. In their footage, they caught the woman asking the question that elicited the sonic Obama boos. You get a really good look at the crowd from this angle in the middle of the floor action.
It also makes you wonder what a real Obama town hall meeting in even a very blue state would look like if the White House wasn’t screening who was allowed into the audience.
The moderator’s microphone control hand signals are even more apparent in this footage. I note this to reinforce the point: the frustrated shouting at the senator in this instance comes in the form of a reaction to being silenced in the face of agonizing sophistry. You watch and decide.
SHOCKER: Young Girl’s Question at Obama Town Hall was Staged
The very liberal Boston Globe newspaper yesterday reported that eleven-year-old Julia Hall, the young girl who read her question from a piece of paper about all the “mean” signs she saw when coming into the President’s town hall event in New Hampshire, was none other than the daughter of, you got it, an Obama campaign organizer and donor.
Confirmation of what we all knew the moment we saw her stand up and read her question at the town hall.
If there are so many people who supposedly support Obamacare, why not have a real town hall meeting, Mr. President? Why not pick a really Blue state such as Maryland to do it in?