Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wexler & Hastings Won't Face Their Constituents

Today I joined a protest outside the staged healthcare forum that occurred in Delray Beach at the South County Civic Center. Representative Robert Wexler (D) FL-19, who actually lives in Maryland and Alcee Hastings (D) FL-23, the impeached federal judge turned Congressman, spoke at a closed forum sponsored by the Florida Association of Retired Americans. There were 500 seats and the tickets were given almost exclusively to supporters of Obamacare. The questions had to be written down on cards and there was no interaction between the audience and the congressmen. According to those that were able to get inside, the questions were softballs and both Wexler and Hastings made it clear they're steadfastly for the "public option".

Outside the Civic Center the SEIU and Organizing for America were protesting for Obamacare with their printed signs and a marching band (dressed in Obama t-shirts) bussed in, at taxpayer expense, from Ft. Lauderdale at the request of Alcee Hastings to drown out the opponents of the President's plan. A woman with a handcart and two coolers of cold water, screened people to make sure they were for Obamacare before she would give out a bottle in the searing heat. I guess that's the compassion that we can expect from a single-payer health plan as well.

Those of us against Obamacare would not be drowned out, either by the marching band or the thugs that spent the day yelling "liar, liar, liar" and "Yes we can!".
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which had a deputy taking pictures of the protestors and their signs, estimated the crowd at about 1,500. I'd say the numbers for and against were about equal, we may have slightly outnumbered them. But we weren't bussed in or paid to be there. The "astroturf" was definitely on the pro-Obamacare side.
While the congressman from Maryland was bloviating inside, candidate Edward Lynch, Wexler's opponent was addressing the crowd outside. And unlike Wexler was answering questions from anyone that had one. Since Ed has actually read the bill, he was able to field questions from those forand against Obamacare.
The press was out in force and from what I saw on TV when I got home from the event, the coverage ranged from fair-to-biased. Most of the coverage I saw was critical of the high school marching band being bussed in. They interviewed a couple of the kids, who seemed to have no idea why they were even present. Hopefully there will an investigation into who authorized them to be out of school and who paid for the trip. It would be interesting to know if their parents were aware that their children were being used this way.
Clearly the local Democrat congressmen are going to vote for this ill-conceived legislation, no matter how many of their constituents tell them that they're against it. Hopefully, enough "Blue Dog" Democrats will feel the heat from their voters and join with House Republicans in opposing the bill. That and the fact that the Senate version doesn't include the "public option" may kill the bill. We can't stop voicing our opposition now. We have to continue to speak and speak without fear!

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