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Is the RNC Encouraging Town Hall Shenanigans?

Just got off the phone with a guy who was present at Ann Kirkpatrick’s event in Holbrook last night. He ended up speaking to a couple of protestors, one of whom said that they had been notified of the the event in an e-mail from the RNC that encouraged people to go out and shut the meeting down, but, she pointed out, “no violence.”

Gotta give them credit for that I suppose.

The meeting had been publicized in the Holbrook Tribune News as a “chat with Ann,” not a town hall. Basically, these were “office hours” that Kirkpatrick happened to be holding in the atrium of a Safeway. Once again, as per the modus operandi with the people encouraging the protests, the protestors were left with the impression that this was going to be a town hall. When it turned out it wasn’t a town hall, they became angry, not with those that decieved them, but with the congresswoman.

The layout of the place wasn’t conducive to the sort of meeting that these guys wanted, even if Kirkpatrick decided to change the format at the last minute. And frankly, did they really want “discussion” anyway? It became impossible for Kirpatrick to do what she came to do: meet with constituents, so she had to cancel the event.

56 Comments

  1. Citizen Dick wrote:

    Since ‘nam protests, the left have been extremely nasty and now that some on the right have begun to use similar tactics, liberals get their panties in a bunch.

    Liberal hypocrites

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
  2. Snarky McSnarkerson wrote:

    Dick, are you plagiarizing yourself or just senile?

    As your party’s Presidential candidate was so fond of reminding us, “Elections have consequences.”

    Deal with it.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Donna wrote:

    He’s a Dick, Snarky.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Appleblossom wrote:

    Care to provide some examples of the left being nasty?

    Cuz I know that there were a few sporadic instances of enivornmental extremism and the WTO riots in Seattle, the left really has done little more than march a lot.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  5. Donna wrote:

    And the thing about the ‘extremist’ leftist protesters is that they are NOT being organized by a political party, a news network, and corporations.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink
  6. Eli_Blake wrote:

    I was there and watched the whole thing.

    There was a small table set up off to the side of an entrance to Safeway, a place where people often set up tables to sell raffle tickets, have bake sales and, yes, politicians sometimes set up there as well.

    It was clearly not a town hall, what happened is that some people, who appeared to be working in unison (one of them had the reporter from the White Mountain Independent on the phone right away as soon as it ended) shouted over the people who were actually talking to her, they had no interest in listening to what she was saying, and I can tell you that I recognized a couple of them as having manned the John Birch Society booth at the county fair last year.

    Some of them even got so pushy that shoppers who were just going in and out of Safeway had to fight to get by them.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Permalink
  7. Than wrote:

    Gila Courier has video of the Holbrook event. I wasn’t there but the people simply look like they have questions for Kirkpatrick.

    http://www.gilacourier.com/?p=3020

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
  8. azw88 wrote:

    Oh, yeah a conservative blog posing as a news site is SURE to have accurate information and a video that wasn’t cherry-picked.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Permalink
  9. kralmajales wrote:

    Yeah, this is the same Gila Courier that made the protest at Gabby’s office look like a bipartisan event by putting photos of Matt Heinz with Frank Antenori, and be conventiently leaving out all the nut job signs like “Gabby = Death” and my fav. “Obama is the Leper Messer”. The most amazing thing I remember is a young disabled woman walking across the street to “meet” the Leper Messer folks and to take a pic of the sign.

    Nah…not radical…nah…not at all bipartisan.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  10. Citizen Dick wrote:

    you guys are dreamin if you say your nastiness is better than our nastiness. all I know is that everyone of U i’ve met has been under marching
    orders from a special interest group.

    the people out spouting their beliefs are honest.

    in a free society, I’m proud of them and embarassed of you.

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
  11. Citizen Dick wrote:

    and…
    U guys are the biggest pantiwastests ever. if U honestaly believe that your protests are better than our protests, then U really are an idiot and shoudl reproduce.

    AND, to argue that U weren’t nasty to GWB is just plain stoopid.

    F O

    Friday, August 7, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
  12. sonorandesertrat wrote:

    Wow, that troll gets more bizarre with every post. Don’t feed him, ya’ll.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 12:27 am | Permalink
  13. Donna wrote:

    He’s a Dick. What else do you need to know about him?

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 12:34 am | Permalink
  14. nobama180 wrote:

    As a Senior Citizen who paid into Medicare since the mid 1960′s and recall its first debit to my pay stub , I think the Congress should live up to we who paid our dues!

    Its not our fault Congress can’t control itself on spending We The People into debt that as far out as the eye can see will never be marked”Paid in Full!”

    Cutting Medicare now just at the time the people who were promised a heathcare system at retirement (65) now are told to “Get Out Of The Way, and Shut Up!” by the President ?

    This Jerk has serious problems and has a huge chip on his shoulder and needs to “Shut Up” and let Congress do what it does best- spend Taxpayers money and create Government Programs that are never held accountable!

    I would not be holding Congress in Contempt but it seems to me alot of these crooks were in Office (or working for the office)when L.B.J. first intiated Medicare.

    97 Trillion Dollars in unfunded liabilities to pay for Medicare and Social Security does not seem as though anyone thought out its consequences and long term effects on the future of The United States currency and the fact that the World as a whole can not pay for what Congress has voted expanding a retirement program now to everyone in America and those who can jump our Borders!

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 2:33 am | Permalink
  15. CDT wrote:

    Nobama180, I’m not sure how to reconcile your competing messages of a) don’t touch my Medicare and b) Congress shouldn’t spend so much money, so I’m not going to try. However, nobody is proposing to do the former.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 6:11 am | Permalink
  16. Bruce Ash wrote:

    The answer to your question is NO !!!!!!!!!!!!

    This thing is getting bigger every day and until there is real health care reform being proposed I suspect it will continue.

    Bruce Ash
    Republican National Committeeman

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink
  17. Tom Prezelski wrote:

    Mr. Ash,

    I realize that it is your role to parrot the talking points, but I think that you have no business demanding “real reform” until the Republicans in Congress present a sincere alternative. Heck, the minority has not even presented an insincere alternative at this point. At best, they argue that the status quo is just fine, and at worst, they openly admit that they are opposing reform for strictly political reasons, e.g. the “Waterloo” comment.

    So, Mr. Ash, you speak for the RNC. Why don’t you tell us how the Republicans propose to deal with this issue, and don’t start spouting bunk about tort reform, every study I have seen says that this would address about 1% of health care costs at best.

    Its nice to have principles and big ideas, but sometimes one has to govern.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  18. Eli_Blake wrote:

    Were Democrats nasty to GWB? Sure. But then I seem to recall some pretty nasty stuff directed at Clinton (some people to this day claim that the Clintons had Vince Foster and Jim McDougal murdered), so we could play that game ad infinitum.

    Regardless, the point is that it was clear that there was a table set up where people could talk to Kirkpatrick one at a time, and some of them started yelling questions at her without getting into the line or waiting for their turn to talk to her. Since my kids even know how to wait in line until it is their turn the best face you can put on this is that some of these people were a bunch of petulant children. I don’t just think that though, I believe that the chaos was organized, because I recognized some of the people there from past encounters with the John Birch Society (which is strong in this county, especially around Show Low and Snowflake.) Most people were in fact just there to ask questions but I could tell you that several of them were Birchers and not interested in a one on one chat with Ann, not at all.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  19. Donna wrote:

    By reform I’m sure Mr. Ash means tort reform.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  20. dude wrote:

    Mr. Ash’s reform is probably the favorite kind of reform for libertopian republicans– do nothing, ie, help no one, and in fact, get rid of those programs that do help people, because that will somehow make us all rich beyond imagination, which he knows will happen because SHUT UP COMMIE!

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  21. Big Sneezy wrote:

    At the policy level, I’m really not getting a sense of where exactly the right stands on this, if they have a stance at all. I’m hearing all kinds of noise, but I’m not sure what it has to do with health care. It’s all very ideological, and that’s just unfortunate, because we have a great opportunity here to address some of the ongoing problems with health care.

    For example, before we can even broach the issue of coverage (because that’s what seems to make these folks upset), we can try to address the rising costs of existing health care. This is something we can all agree on. Health care just costs too much. I mean, could anyone here actually afford the cost of a broken arm if they had to actually pay directly? How about having a baby? Hah! The amount that we and our employers pay is a lot. But it’s not that much compared to the rising cost of health care. Going forward, our employers are going to be less and less willing to pick up that tab. We each know that we can’t individually afford to cover those costs and pay the bills at the same time-especially when your employer is already cutting your hours in order to avoid paying for your health care in the first place.

    So, we can come up with solutions that don’t hurt anyone, but help everyone. For one, a lot of doctors prescribe treatments that are really expensive but not very effective. So we can increase efficiency in that area. For two, we can provide incentives to encourage people to visit their primary care doctor, instead of the emergency room when things are already dire. For example, time off from work with government reimbursing employers, or tax refunds directly to individuals who utilize their primary care or save receipts from their gym membership. In the long run, we’ll be healthier and spend less money, both individually and as a society.

    As it stands, it’s a subsidized system anyway. Each and every one of us with insurance is either subsidizing or being subsidized, either by one another or by government on some level. So I think the goals is to make it the most efficient subsidized system possible. This doesn’t even get to covering the uninsured, so the tea baggers shouldn’t be too angry. Let me put it this way: Some how, some way, I’m paying for you and you’re paying for me. Let’s come up with solutions to pay each other less and get better outcomes for it.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  22. Eli_Blake wrote:

    The funny thing is, there are some problems where Democrats and Republicans could probably agree on reform, IF the GOP was really interested in reform at all.

    Some of them are:

    1. Given that U.S. employers are increasingly uncompetitive because of health care costs (for example, about $1500 of the cost of every new Ford or GM vehicle is the cost of health care coverage) as well as the fact that most employers who do offer health insurance only offer it through one insurer, we could probably agree that we would be well served by allowing people a way to purchase insurance from another source. The problems are that we have to do so in a way that doesn’t make it cost anymore, especially if the employer drops coverage. Also, I see nothing being agreed on about this as long as we are blaming the system itself and conservatives are blaming unions who want and negotiate for health coverage for their workers. THIS IS EXACTLY THE POINT THAT BARACK OBAMA MADE AT THE SEIU FORUM ON 3/24/07, THE ONE WHICH WAS SLICED UP AND ALTERED BY ANDREW BREITBART AND POSTED ON DRUDGE.

    2. Given the shortage of doctors (especially in rural areas), the long term answer is to train more doctors, but the short term answer is to give more power to deal with routine issues to nurses and physicians assistants. They would have to be trained of course to recognize when it isn’t a routine situation– and maybe if the first thing they do, which is probably the same as the first thing the doctor would try doesn’t work then you automatically get kicked over to the doc, but just like at the Dentist, the requirement (whether written or unwritten) that the doctor should have to come and see you for a minute every time you go only adds to the cost and keeps the doctor away from more patients with more unusual or serious conditions.

    3. The rate of growth in medicare in particular is unsustainable, mainly because of pharmaceuticals. At the same time seniors are as a practical matter seperated into a group of haves and have-nots by the infamous ‘doughnut hole.’ So in order to slow the growth rate down, why shouldn’t we be able to purchase the same prescriptions from foreign sources (especially those like Canadian sources in which the shipment can be considered secure?) The idea that drug companies should be able to selectively gouge Americans, and then our government pays them to make the drugs cheaper, but they are still more expensive than they are in other countries is ridiculous.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  23. Bruce Ash wrote:

    Why don’t we finish with the original question and that was about the rising tide of protests against Democrat members of Congress………

    I believe the reason so many liberals are suspicious of Tea Party participants and the thousands who are marching in the streets and challenging Democrat party members is when your guys plan a protest there ARE plenty of paid “community organizers” getting all you do gooders to the march.

    Facts are that the only organizers that ARE at the various town halls are SEIU thugs who have been attempting to cause trouble.

    Further why is it do you think that when Conservatives show up to protest they are knuckle dragging fascists as opposed to the high minded and “progressives” who only want the world to be a better place when when you march ? Why is it noble for liberals to stand up for what they believe but when Conservatives show up for what they believe they are ugly and ignorant slobs?

    Lastly, I don’t think even if I could manage to control Republicans I would bother. The reason we have long been the party of ideas and come up with better solutions is when we are free to improvise we make things happen as opposed to you liberal lemmings who need the promise of a free six pack and a cheap tie dyed t-shirt as a reward to make the scene for your issues.

    I feel better for getting that out of my system. Now if someone cares to listen to the Republican plan for health care reform let me know and maybe we can have a real discussion as opposed to some of the gibberish I read here sometimes.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  24. kralmajales wrote:

    Ha….keep it up Bruce, suck up oh so hard to the Tea Party. They are the only people left in the party to vote for you when you run for office. I suspect that everyone else will continue voting Democrat and all of the business republicans that they are embarassing are going to leave too.

    You are losing the auto dealers fast now, because the Cash for Clunkers is actually WORKING.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  25. Sara wrote:

    The P.R. firm orchestrating these riots is being funded by healthcare profiteers, recruiting mobs encouraged by the GOP and instructed to shut down discussion. Doesn’t that sound like fascism to you?

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  26. Sara wrote:

    Who is this Bruce Ash idiot, anyway? Hasn’t he been reading the news? All these “spontaneous protests” are being organized by the same P.R. firm that staged the infamous Brooks Brothers riots in FL a few years back. I guess B.Ash must get all his news from Rush.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  27. azw88 wrote:

    Bruce wrote: “why is it do you think that when Conservatives show up to protest they are knuckle dragging fascists

    It’s really quite easy, Bruce. All we have to do is just read the signs they carry listen to the stuff that comes out of their mouth.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  28. AZMama wrote:

    It seems as though every online “group” or “association” that promotes these protests are all linked together. Like they’re trying to spread the blame around, which would make naming and/or prosecuting any single organization in the event of something tragic far more difficult. Each one is doing a stellar job playing on the fear, insecurity, and down right ugly racist side of people.

    And if you really looked at it, most of those average joe protestors are but one pay check away from being flat busted broke. If they lost their jobs and/or their employer takes their benefits away, there’s no way in hell they can afford COBRA.

    NOBAMA, how about you go on and hand over your medicare, since you don’t government all up in your business. Don’t want to? Then shut the hell up.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  29. CDT wrote:

    @ Bruce Ash:

    I would like to hear the Republican Party’s solution to a substantial health care-related problem that my company and other American businesses face. I am a co-owner of a business that competes internationally in dozens of countries. Most of our staff is American, however, and we provide health insurance. We need to do that to attract employees. In our foreign markets, the competition comes from either local firms or foreign outfits based in other countries (such as the UK) with either national health care or government-funded health insurance. That is, the competition generally isn’t obliged to carry its employees’ health care costs.

    The U.S. system of employer-provided health care puts us at a competitive damage, as it does for all U.S. companies who do compete internationally. Our costs of production are higher than are the costs of those based in countries with subsidized health care.

    What is the Republican Party’s plan to ease the burden of U.S. companies in this area? We will be at a competitive disadvantage unless and until we can stop providng health insurance to our employees without losing the ability to attract and retain talent. And we can’t drop health coverage unless and until there is an acceptable alternative to which our employees can migrate. Nobody thinks health savings accounts or tax credits suffices. Even if ideas were put into law, we couldn’t drop coverage and tell our employees to switch to coverage in that fashion without losing them all to the competition.

    What is the Republican Plan for businesses like mine? What is your realistic plan for relieving us of this competitive disadvantage?

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 6:27 am | Permalink
  30. Chris K wrote:

    Bruce:

    We run in some of the same circles in Tucson. That said, I have to say that I wish I hadn’t read your posts…or you website.

    “Liberal lemmings”? I am appalled by the entire tea party approach to what is going on. The Congressional town hall meetings were absolutely a planned disruption and it is not becoming of our nation OR the political process we should all be engaged in during these difficult times. The GOP should be the party that stands up for factual, measured policy — not the party that encourages (and contributes to) the spread of misinformation and hateful messaging (nice blackface…I mean Joker face on your own personal website, BTW)

    I am a fiscal conservative and the kind of rhetoric you espouse has sent me running from the Republican Party. It isn’t necessary and it isn’t productive.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 7:21 am | Permalink
  31. Bruce Ash wrote:

    Say what all of you will the real manufacturing of the dangerous rhetoric comes from the democrat party and their own fellow travelers.

    CNN: “White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that he thinks the anger some of the congressmen have experienced is manufactured.” (Kristi Keck, Mark Preston and Paul Steinhauser, “Democrats Say Republicans Staging Town Hall Protests Story Highlights,” CNN, 8/5/09)

    AS CANDIDATE, OBAMA ENCOURAGED ANGER AND AGGRESSION AMONG HIS SUPPORTERS

    During Campaign, Obama Encouraged Supporters To Be Aggressive With Republicans. “I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” (Senator Barack Obama, Campaign Remarks in Elko, Nevada, 9/17/08)

    AS PRESIDENT, OBAMA DIDN’T MIND WHEN HIS SUPPORTERS WERE PACKING TOWN HALLS

    In Recent Obama Town Hall, In-Person Questioners Were Plants From Pro-Obama Groups And Video Questions Were Hand Selected By Obama Staffers. “The questions posed from social media networks were selected by White House staffers, and the three people he called on from the audience all were affiliated with advocacy groups that support Obama. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the event beforehand, saying the questions posed reflected ‘a representative sample of the issues.’ Smith said the White House invited her to attend after she had spoken at events for Organizing for America, an Obama grass-roots operation at the Democratic National Committee. Another questioner said he worked for Health Care for America Now, and the third identified herself as a member of the Service Employees International Union.” (Susan Page, “Obama Takes Health Care Pitch To Virginia,” USA Today, 7/2/09)

    ONLY ANGER BEING MANUFACTURED ARE DEMS RUNNING ADS AGAINST OTHER DEMS

    MoveOn.org Attacking Blue Dogs. “MoveOn.org is on the radio, airing ads in the districts of three other conservative Blue Dogs who voted against the Energy and Commerce reform measure — Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and Charlie Melancon (La.).” (Ben Pershing, “Groups Take Health-Reform Debate To Airwaves,” The Washington Post, 8/5/09)

    Obama Campaign Operation Targeting Dem Senators With TV Ads. “A wing of the DNC announced this week that it would launch a new television ad to press Democratic senators from Arkansas, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Nebraska and Ohio. The ad, funded by … a wing of the DNC that was formed from the grass-roots operation of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, urges senators to back an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.” (Alexander Bolton, “Reid Calls DNC Healthcare Ads ‘Waste Of Money,’” The Hill, 7/16/0 9)

    Democratic Strategist’s Group Smearing Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). “When Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) called the public plan a deal breaker, a progressive group co-founded by Joe Trippi launched a campaign in Nebraska accusing the senator of being a ‘sellout’ for special interests …” (Carrie Budoff Brown, “Dems Vs. Dems On Health Bill,” Politico, 6/11/09)

    Group Founded By Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean Also Attacking Nelson As “Corrupt.”.”Liberal activists have significantly ratcheted up their brewing fight with centrist Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who will be a pivotal vote in the Senate’s healthcare reform debate. A liberal activist working with an advocacy group founded by former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has attacked Nelson as ‘bought and paid for by health and insurance interests’ and suggested he is ‘corrupt’ and ‘out of touch.’” (Alexander Bolton, “Nelson, Liberals Escalate Feud,” The Hill, 8/3/09)

    Howard Dean’s Political Group Teams With Left-Wing Organization To Target Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). “[A]n ad will begin airing in Montana charging Baucus with choosing monied interests over average voters who want the public insurance option … Charles Chamberlain, political director of Democracy for America … [said,] ‘We consider the public option the core of any real reform here. We are going to make sure voters in Montana know Baucus is standing with insurance companies, rather than with Barack Obama.’ The push by Democracy for America and PCCC is the latest escalation in the Democrat versus Democrat ad wars over health care reform.” (Carrie Budoff Brown , “Left Targets Baucus On Public Option,” Politico, 7/21/09)

    Liberal Organizations Joins Unions In Running Ads Pressuring Blue Dog Democrats. “Healthy Economy Now is an ‘odd bedfellows’ coalition — increasingly common on the health care scene. Its members … [include] Families USA and the Service Employees International Union. This is the third ad the coalition has released in an ad buy that has totaled more than $12 million… The goal of the ads is to press the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, who h ave been snarling about the cost of a health care overhaul and other issues, to support the House bill. The ad urges people to call congressmen who have expressed reservations to ask them to support the legislation.” (Andrew Villegas, “Ad Audit: If,” Kaiser Health News, 7/21/09)

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 7:43 am | Permalink
  32. CDT wrote:

    @ Bruce Ash:
    Since you are back on-line, would you answer my policy question, please? You said you wanted to talk about policy rather than debate which party’s supporters behave more poorly. So, let’s talk about policy. What is the Republican Party’s plan for doing something about the competitive disadvantage that American businesses face internationally because of the need to provide employee health care, at considerable cost?

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  33. Donna wrote:

    Bruce, you nearly lost me after “democrat party”. When I see someone using that descriptor straight from Frank Luntz’s playbook my automatic presumption is “this person is an idiot” and I’m not inclined to bother with anything they have to say. But I did wade through your lengthy batch of links and don’t see the comparison you are trying to make. Running ads and telling people to call their reps in Congress, oh noes!! In no case were supporters coached to be loud and disrupt events.

    Yeah, and how about addressing the policy issue? What’s the GOP solution to reform. Specifics, please, not platitudes.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  34. Ann Wallack wrote:

    Mr. Ash,
    Democrats want to make health care accessible to the poor children in our state (about 60,000) whose parents have no health insurance. We want to make health care available to the newly unemployed who have also lost their health insurance and can not find a new policy because they have “pre-existing conditions.” In order to accomplish this, we will need good ideas, reasoned debate and an opportunity to talk to our elected officials. Townhalls are a great invention to accomplish that.

    With that in mind, I tried to attend Congressman Shadegg’s townhall yesterday in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix. Okay, I was curious too. There were so many cars I couldn’t find a place to park within a half mile. The fire department was called because so many people were crowded into the hall.

    I looked at the people walking up and noted that it was mostly an older, white, well-dressed crowd. I’m guessing most of them had health insurance. They looked pretty healthy too! There is nothing wrong with them being interested in the issue and it is great that Congressman Shadegg had such a great turnout. I was sorry I was too late to get in.

    Later, I got a call at the Maricopa County Democratic headquarters from a woman who is a registered Independent. She was at the meeting and was so upset by what she heard she said she “had to call somebody.” She was sure she was the only “liberal” in that crowd. And what she heard was that the crowd didn’t care about extending health care to the poor, the disenfranchised, or the newly unemployed. They only cared about keeping what they had. If anyone else attended this forum I’d like to hear if this description matches their impression.

    The reports of townhalls being closed down due to incivility, and of people supporting healthcare reform being shouted down should be worrisome to everyone. I hope it stops.

    As this blog has shown, the discussion has once again moved off of “how to reform healthcare so we can help people” to “which political party does the best/worst job of agitating crowds at political gatherings.” People, let’s stick to the subject!

    My worry is that the people who need the most help — children, the working poor, the unemployed, the elderly and the chronically ill, probably don’t get the emails notifying them of a townhall. They don’t have transportation to get to one even if they knew about it. So how do our Congressional Representatives hear their stories?
    And — despite the large number of people who attended the Arcadia townhall yesterday, there are many, many, many more people who weren’t there who should have been in order to find meaningful solutions to our country’s healthcare problems.
    If the townhall participants in Arcadia were in a room with some of the people I see in downtown Phoenix every day they might have a different perspective of how our present healthcare system works.

    And the comment about a six-pack and a tie-dyed shirt? It makes me laugh. Some of my compadres probably think I could use both.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  35. kralmajales wrote:

    Ann,

    On your first paragraph, they just don’t give a crap.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
  36. boredinaz wrote:

    Mr. Ash,

    Please add me to the other commenters above who have invited you to present the Republican plan for health care reform. You said above, “if someone cares to listen to the Republican plan for health care reform let me know and maybe we can have a real discussion.”

    Well, I would like to have a real discussion. Perhaps your fourth comment on this post could begin to start the discussion you invited.

    Thanks.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
  37. Eli_Blake wrote:

    CDT, bordinaz:

    See my lead-in above:

    IF the GOP was really interested in reform at all….

    They aren’t, and are unwilling to actually discuss real reform. They may make a few token gestures (generally beginning with the words, ‘cut taxes on’ or ‘Give a tax credit to’) but the reality is that the GOP doesn’t have any real ideas about what to do, nor have they had any new ideas in at least a decade.

    And CDT in particular: The Republican plan is essentially to consider the status quo (or the status quo plus tax cuts) so I don’t see how they have anything to offer people and corporations in your situation. The Democratic health care plan may not offer you everything that would allow your company to compete on an equal footing (especially since we don’t know yet what form it will take) but if it passes in a final form which allows for some sort of a public option at least it would give you some way that you could compete, since if your U.S. workers chose the public option you wouldn’t have to pay their health care and you’d have a bit more money to offer non-U.S. workers.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
  38. Bruce Ash wrote:

    I have spent the past hour writing the reply many have asked for and my comment has been rejected for being too “spammy.”

    Have fun in your little echo chamber. Sorry your editor was not interested in a real discussion.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  39. kralmajales wrote:

    Enjoy being the minority party Bruce!

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink
  40. Bruce Ash wrote:

    If squelching honest debate is what being in the majority is all about for you I suspect you all won’t hang onto your majority for much longer pal.

    That pendulum has a funny way of swinging back. Enjoy the ride for how ever long it lasts.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
  41. John wrote:

    Dear Ash,

    I just looked up your bio, and read that we too circulate in some of the same philanthropic circles. I have to say that I was dismayed to read some of the ugliness I saw on your website.

    Regardless of whether you support the politics of the president, as a politician you must respect the role of the POTUS. Adding a photo of the president with a clown face is minimally in bad taste, and at the outside racist.

    I have found your site very distasteful. Distasteful indeed.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  42. Bruce Ash wrote:

    Imagine anyone who thinks the Joker poster of President Obama is in bad taste. We never heard from you when George W Bush was animated and called every name in the book for 8 years. I wonder about your double standard.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  43. DRW wrote:

    If Bruce Ash cared about real and respectful discussion, then one would think that on a Democratic-oriented website, he would not refer to the “Democrat party.” Oh, wait, I forgot he’s a shameless hack.

    David Wohl (don’t want anyone to think I’m hiding behind anonymity)

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  44. Bruce Ash wrote:

    David–Glad you have the decency to disclose your name.

    I DO care about a respectful discussion. Unfortunately , RR&R censored my piece on the GOP health care reform plan. As long as RR&R wants to keep the discussion from ever happening I guess we will just act like a bunch of frat boys and argue over stuff that makes no difference at all.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  45. Chris K wrote:

    Bruce:

    Please read your last post regarding the Joker/blackface Obama image.

    Who is “we” and “you”? Seriously. Do you honestly think that most of the people participating in this forum today posted disrespectful images of George Bush during his tenure? And if they did – does it make it OK for you to do the same?

    Maybe it is the parent coming out in me, but that kind of behavior isn’t acceptable by anyone. Period. Just because someone else acts in a shameful and disrespectful way doesn’t mean that you have to as well.

    It sounds like you need to leave the forest to see the trees. I mean that with all due respect…most Americans don’t fall into the ‘we’ and ‘them’ category. I know plenty of people who dislike Bush or Obama – but the great majority of them are able to hold a discussion without rancor, name calling and sweeping judgement over half of the population of the United States. Perhaps if you step back from this for awhile, you can find another path to get your message across without the nastiness that borders on hatred.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  46. azw88 wrote:

    Bruce, I highly doubt that Ted is sitting there at the server, rejecting you post. It is very likely a prblem with you ISP and his hosting platform or the content you are posting is too long or too full of flagged phrases that normally appear in spam posted to blogs by bots.

    I’ve run into problems posting comments when behind certain firewalls/proxy servers…

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
  47. kralmajales wrote:

    Bruce, Ive had the very same thing happen to me. As you can tell, I am never censored…you weren’t either. It is an ISP and “length of post” problem I think.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  48. John wrote:

    I’m sorry Bruce, but do you know me or what I said or didn’t say in regards to GWB? Didn’t I just say that we need to respect the position of POTUS to a higher standard than low-brow images? I have NEVER, in my entire life, made any comment that didn’t relate to W’s policies or politics. I have never attacked him personally. Your sweeping statements are meant to attack and be polarizing. The more I read, the more concerned I am that you are going to run for office.

    Chris K was right on target when he said that most people don’t view life with a “we” or “them” mentality. WHY is there so much vitriol and anger on the far right?!?! Most people are moderate, both left and right of center. This is why you are losing your base…most people don’t harbor this well of hatred…

    By the way, I’ve tried to post this about 15 times…and keep getting an error… WordPress says the author is using outdated spam software.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  49. GoldwaterAZ wrote:

    I’m browsing the blogs tonight and am really struck by the tone of Mr. Ash’s posts.

    First thing that came to my mind is a quote by Goethe: “A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait”.

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink
  50. Bruce Ash wrote:

    What “tone” would you be speaking of Mr GoldwaterAZ?

    Would you mean the tone of hypocrisy I have for all of you “progressive” members of the democrat party who say one thing and do the other? Do you mean the way I wonder how you don’t remember the dirty attack politics you all played from 2001 through 1/20/09 and now you would not allow the same process to be leveled at your guy? Do you mean the contempt I feel for people who would have the audacity and incredibly bad taste to produce a theatrical play titled, “The Assassination of George W Bush?”Do you mean the manner in which you mutate a “post racial” presidency into a time where any criticism against your president is called racist? Hey, no one’s that good — how long do you think that plan will work out for you?

    So when you assess my manners just look back into that same mirror you want me to and you might see an ugly face looking right back at ‘ya.

    Change is coming and it’s around the corner in 2010.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  51. kralmajales wrote:

    Change from the six months horrible months where some have attempted to repair 8 years of total failure Bruce? Who the hell is going to lead you? Who is “new” on your side of the fence? What is “new”? What kind of “change” are you talking about? The kind of “change” that destroyed our economy? The kind of “change” that gets us to more cuts of our vital programs, few taxes at a time of no revenue? You idea of change is a tied old philosophy that doesn’t work. You have had ample opportunity to to put your philosophy at work in America and it runs up deficits at best. At worst, it leads to the wealthy getting more and even praying on our citizenry.

    So I am looking for these agents of change outside of Washington as I am sure you will argue in your next campaign. Where are there? If they are the folks that are staffing the republican govt. in Arizona then believe me, we will stomp you….and stomp you out.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 6:35 am | Permalink
  52. Colleen wrote:

    And Bruce, please cease using the “YOU” when you clearly don’t know your audience. Most citizens who happen to be Democrats would NEVER condone a play such as you described above, even though our frustration over the last 8 years have pushed us to anger over his policies. Poking fun at his mis-speaks, his policies, etc, are all fair game in the world of politics, but personal and vile attacks such as the Obama socialist joker face are not and cross the line. You still haven’t mentioned why it is okay to post a joker picture of Obama, that clearly is inciting and quite frankly, exemplifies the evilness that is inserting its ugly head into a health care policy discussion. Shame on you.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  53. Donna wrote:

    To add to what Colleen posted: Bruce, can you think of a Democratic National Committee member who ever posted a similar parody of President Bush on his/her official DNC member webpage, or any webpage that clearly identified him/her as a DNC member? Do you realize that your position necessitates a certain amount of decorum from you, particularly when you are speaking in the capacity of that position?

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  54. Eli_Blake wrote:

    Ted needs to fix his spam editor, agreed. Knowing that it’s occasionally buggy, I’ve taken to the point of highlighting any particularly long reply I have and hitting control-X, control-V and repasting it in case I have to edit something. Certain words seem to trigger it, such as the name of the largest city in Nevada.

    Also, it doesn’t like links. If you want to highlight a page, just type in the url as is and leave a space above and below it so people can easily paste it into a browser window.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  55. Eli_Blake wrote:

    Las Vegas. Las Vegas. Las Vegas.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
  56. Eli_Blake wrote:

    Never mind, apparently it’s a ‘context’ browser too, because that’s the word I remember having to edit out of a previous post before it would work, but it just took it.

    Like I said, Ted’s spam guard is pretty funky. But often if you find the word that’s hanging it up and change it then it will work fine.

    Monday, August 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink