Did you ever buy something on-line, and when you received it you figured out it wasn’t what you wanted? There’s a lot of that going around:
Republicans take evasive maneuvers to avoid feisty town halls
With President Trump’s White House mired in controversy and his party’s legislative agenda initially stalled as a result, congressional Republicans are discovering a new outlet for their creative energies as they head home for next week’s recess: avoiding their constituents.
As many observers have noted, rank-and-file progressives have recently taken a page from the tea party’s playbook, and begun to disrupt in-person town-hall events with their representatives, booing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and prompting police to escort Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., to his car.
But as the opposition has grown more organized, Republicans have responded in kind, developing an elaborate array of evasive maneuvers to help them dodge unsympathetic constituents altogether. The upshot has been a game of democratic cat-and-mouse that would seem cartoonish if less serious matters were at stake.
A major issue in last year’s election was the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. There was no doubt. The first order of business would be to repeal the ACA:
When we win on November 8th, and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. I will ask Congress to convene a special session.
That seemed unequivocal. Not so fast:
Republicans suddenly realize burning down the health-care system might not be a great idea
The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not going well, in large part because it turns out that making sweeping changes to a system that encompasses one-sixth of the American economy turns out to be rather more complicated than they imagined. Their backtracking has an interesting character to it, in particular how they’ve been gobsmacked by the transition from shaking their fists at the system to being responsible for it.
I’m not too sure what “gobsmacked” means, but Republicans have been done it. Representatives and Senators showing up for town hall meetings back home have been catching some heat, and some have responded in innovative ways. Not always with success:
Crowd erupts in anger when GOP senator shows up late to town hall then tries to stall with group prayer
Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy faced an angry crowd at a town hall meeting in Metairie on Wednesday when he showed up late and then tried to have the crowd participate in a group prayer.
“Pray on your own time!” shouted one angry constituent, according to NOLA.com. “This is our time.”
A group of women located near the back of the room reportedly chanted, “Separation of church and state.”
“Wow, they booed the name of Jesus,” said Cassidy after the prayer — led by Louisiana State Chaplain Michael Sprague — got drowned out by protests.
The town hall was scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but protesters began to arrive at 11 a.m. and by early afternoon, the parking lot was full. Some attendees parked blocks away at other locations in the neighborhood.
Victor Frankenstein’s monster never got this hot a reception. Texas’ own Louis Gohmert (District 1) became concerned about the kind of reception he could expect in his far northeast corner of Texas, about as red as I can imagine. He went so far as to cancel his scheduled meeting. Bad move. He made the mistake of invoking a former representative from Arizona, one who seems to have more backbone:
Gabby Giffords Shuts Down Congressman Who Used Her 2011 Shooting as Excuse to Ditch Town Hall
Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman who was shot during a “Congress on Your Corner” event in 2011, slammed Republicans on Thursday for failing to show up to town hall meetings with their constituents out of fear of facing protesters.
“I was shot on a Saturday morning,” Giffords wrote in a statement. “By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber—at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead—held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.”
“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” she continued. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”
The sharp words were a direct response to a controversial statement released earlier by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), in which he invoked Giffords’ shooting to defend his decision not to meet with his constituents.
“Threats are nothing new to me, and I have gotten my share as a felony judge,” Gohmert said. “However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.”
Are voters angry at the direction their new government is taking? Are they disenchanted over the unending flow of misinformation emanating from the silver-tongued one and the daily administrative buggery? Certainly that, but is some of it appears to be buyers’ remorse. For sure the preponderance of protests at these meetings is from Democrats seeing a new government conniving to undo a lot of work accomplished in the previous eight years, but Republicans are crying foul, as well:
Trump voters covered by Obamacare don’t like the GOP’s health care ideas
Now, however, both Trump and GOP lawmakers have to live up to their promises and take their turn at designing an alternative health care law. And the details they have provided aren’t looking so great to their voters, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
KFF’s issue brief relies on focus groups conducted in December in the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Researchers interviewed 48 people, some of whom relied on the Obamacare insurance marketplace and some of whom had benefited from the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — and found they’re not excited about a lot of the GOP’s health care ideas.
Too bad, dudes. You bought it, and it’s too late to take it back to the store.