Friday, April 22, 2011

Republicans Are Getting Booed Defending Ryan's Indefensible Budget-- Starting With Racist Fanatic Lou Barletta


I once lived in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, which is in Monroe County, part of Pennsylvania's 11th congressional district. A blue collar Democratic district that voted for Gore and Kerry and gave Obama 57% in 2010, it was represented in Congress by sleazy Democratic wheeler-dealer Paul Kanjorski since 1984... until last November when he was beaten 102,179 (54.7%) to 84,618 (45.3%) by a deranged teabagger, Lou Barletta, known only as a vicious racist whose entire political career-- he was mayor of tiny Hazelton, which worked hard to make immigrants, and American Puerto Ricans, feel unwanted-- has been built on a steadfast message of hatred and fear.

And now he's famous for something else. A steadfast supporter of the Paul Ryan budget to dismantle Medicare to give more tax breaks to millionaires, Barletta held a townhall to bask in his vote. And the same thing that happened to Ryan the day before happened to him: his constituents let him know what they thought of him.
Reminiscent of the August 2009 town halls when members of Congress faced angry constituents over health care reforms, a public forum in Carbon County with Rep. Lou Barletta Wednesday night provided a glimpse of the strong emotions stirred by a Republican plan to alter Medicare benefits.

At the start of his town hall meeting-- in a county that is predominately Republican-leaning and 17 percent over 65 years old-- Barletta welcomed people to use the conversation to get things off their chests. While he was going through a slide projector presentation about the Medicare changes proposed by House Republican Paul Ryan, a woman raised her hand.

"Excuse me, I’d like to get something off my chest," she said, standing. "You seem to think that because I’m not effected I won’t care if my niece, my grandson, my child is affected. I do care. What you’re doing with this Ryan budget is you’re taking Medicare and changing it from a guaranteed health care system to one that is a voucher system where you throw seniors on the mercy of for-profit insurance companies..."

"You said nothing in the campaign about I’m going to change Medicare, now you voted for a plan that will destroy Medicare," Linda Christman, 64, said. Christman is president of the Carbon County Democrats for Change, according to Barletta's office.

"I won’t destroy Medicare, Medicare is going to be destroyed by itself," Barletta said.

Then it got ugly.

Christman talked over Barletta saying, "I have a great way for you... take the tax cuts given to the wealthy two percent... and put it into Medicare."

Two men in the back began yelling at her, "Sit down, let him talk, sit down." This prompted another man in a blue Hawaiian shirt to bolt to his feet, turn to the men in the back and yell, "Why don’t’ you make me sit down? Maybe you don’t believe in free speech? Why don’t you show some respect?"

"Sit down."

"Make me, make me."

This went on intermittently with a lot of angry name calling and yelling until the man in the Hawaiian shirt was escorted out by police.

Yesterday Time magazine pointed out that another corporate shill backing Ryan, Charlie Bass, ran into the same reaction. And Bass is in choppy water to begin with having only beat Anne Kuster by around 3,000 votes last year (48-47%)-- and with her running again next year-- he's widely viewed as one of the top half dozen targets for the Democratic Party. It hardly helps that he's out defending dismantling a program, Medicare, that is widely esteemed in New Hampshire.
Rep. Charlie Bass knew he was in for a rough night. The first question out of the gate during his Wednesday town hall in Hillsborough, NH was about his vote for Paul Ryan’s budget. And the second. And the third and the fourth, fifth and sixth questions. “I enjoyed the discourse,” he said, almost hopefully, afterward. “It’s important to speak with people who disagree with me. Of course there was going to be backlash.”

...[T]he district is one of 14 districts held by Republicans and won by both Obama and John Kerry. “Bass is one of the few Republicans in big trouble, not necessarily because of national climate or his actions, but more the trend line of his district,” says David Wasserman, House editor for the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan group that tracks congressional races. “He only won by a handful in a great GOP year.”

All the more reason for Bass to resist the party line and vote with his moderate district in mind-- but it was a temptation he didn’t give in to on the Ryan budget. “I’m not surprised it’s controversial: This is a groundbreaking budget that really pivots the direction where government will go,” Bass says, explaining why he didn’t hesitate to vote yes. “I wanted to vote for something that would change the relationship of the federal government to the people.”

What does Bass have to worry about?... [T]he 13% of Bass’s district who are 65 and older. Although those 55 and older would be grandfathered in to the current system under Ryan’s plan, hardly a day goes by that Democrats don’t remind Bass’s constituents that it would fundamentally change Medicare-- giving seniors money to purchase private insurance rather than directly provide government coverage. Bass spent a lot of time at his town hall trying to explain why it’s not, in his characterization, a voucher system. But he didn’t convince Spitzbarth and Loomis. “I like Medicare the way it is,” Spitzbarth told Bass to applause from the audience, “don’t screw it up.”

Bass’s case isn’t helped by the high-profile defection of two of his colleagues: Denny Rehberg, who is running for Senate in Montana, and David McKinley, who comes from a district in West Virginia that’s similar to Bass’s. Both Rehberg and McKinley said this week that they voted against Ryan’s budget because they were concerned that the plan could hurt seniors-- bolstering the Democrats’ case. Bass tried to explain to the crowd over and over: “This is just a blue print, budgets are non-binding… It’s a starting point.” But Spitzbarth and Loomis left unimpressed: “It could affect my vote,” he said, Loomis nodding her agreement. “I was over this from the get-go.”

Tomorrow we'll look at what happened when Robert Dold (R-IL) tried selling the Ryan message to his constituents in the suburbs north of Chicago. Republican Patrick Meehan, like Barletta, represents a swing district in eastern Pennsylvania. His constituents let him know what they think too. And in his case there's a special reason for extra anger. He specifically promised during a public debate to not support Ryan's agenda. He promised to oppose it and he voted for it. Sean Duffy's Wisconsin constituents have also come to realize they gotten taken in last November. Tuesday they let him have it:
CONSTITUENT: I hear you saying two contradictory things about taxes. One you want to reform the tax code so that corporations to pay more, and two you don’t want corporations to pay so much so that they’ll somehow stimulate business. So I don’t understand that contradiction. The CBO […] the Ryan program proposes to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

DUFFY: It doesn’t, No it doesn’t.


DUFFY: No, it doesn’t there’s no voucher.

CONSTITUENT: That’s what my understanding of what it is.


CONSTITUENT: They count the cost to seniors if it goes into a voucher program, it’s going to be trillions of dollars for those young men like this guy in front.

DUFFY: It’s a premium support it’s not a voucher. The bottom line is if we do nothing, if we do nothing, you can all say this is all fine and dandy, you can get it and I know any young people here you can all get this program.

CONSTITUENT: I agree that if we do nothing we’re in trouble, that’s why we have to raise taxes on the rich, and raise taxes on the corporations who have never been richer than they have now. And you guys just cut their taxes again.


DUFFY: When you say cutting taxes, if taxes maintain the same level and rate is that a tax cut.

CONSTITUENT: To maintain the same level that was long ago, that was sold on the premise of creating jobs by giving more money to the wealthy.


Labels: , , , ,


At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Curtis L. Walker said...

God Bless The Folks Who Are Fighting Their Elected Representatives over the Ryan Budget. In my neck of the woods (NORCAL) far, far and away right wing Republican Congressperson Tom McClintock is scheduled to speak at a Tea Party Town Hall.

Given the Tea Party Patriots was "Birthed" right here in Nevada County California, it should be interesting. Not sure if open to public or for Tea Party locals only, given the name of event in the local newspaper, The Union dot com. Perhaps they are providing security and/or screening the questions.

Stay Tuned. Could really use a picture of Tom McClintock given the appropriate "clown treatment" for future use. I can be contacted via my new blog, putting in play for 2012 Election: CURTISWALKER.POSTEROUS.COM.


Post a Comment

<< Home