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Just got home from Inslee's townhall.  I'll try to post up as much as I can remember of it while it's still fresh.  If any others were there and have more to add, feel free to comment and I'll try to update when possible.

The usual suspects were there with their "keep the feds out of my healthcare" signs and their baby killer signs.  They were perhaps 25% of a large crowd that filled North Kitsaps auditorium full.

I was immediately handed a flier about 'Death Panels". I took it, perused it, then said to the woman handing them out: "So you really believe there are death panels?"

"Not yet," she told me, "But there will be."

"Oh, there ARE death panels right now, "I assured her, " and since Obamas been president, the health insurance industry has presided over the deaths of 18,000 Americans."

I handed her flier back and didn't stick around to listen to her blathering as I walked away.  I had seen the fear in her eyes when I brought up the REAL death panels going on today.  It's the talking point that literally destroys the right wings platform.

Then my wife and I sat down next to the mayor and a city councilman, both of whom support healthcare reform.

Almost immediately, when Inslee began talking, the heckling began.  Inslee brought up a figure of there being nearly a third of Americans who didn't have sufficient healthcare and a heckler called out "That's a lie!"

I was surprised that it was MY voice that bellowed out immediately (and I've been told I missed my calling as a drill sergeant) "YOU"RE THE LIAR!"
Not the most brilliant thing to say.  I hope people understood I was addressing the heckler and not Inslee.  Inslee then diffused the situation by saying that we didn't want this to devolve into a shouting match and most of the crowd cheered.

But I must say, that nipped the wingnut game plan in the bud.  It was nearly two thirds of the way through the townhall before they got started with any kind of organized heckling again and that was again cut short.  That time, I wasn't the only one getting right back in their faces.

I'm sorry, but I can't give a good chronological account of the discussion so I'll just go with what sticks out in my mind afterwards.

Inslee was asked if he'd sign The Pledge to support a robust public option.  He refused.  Now before you get up in arms - and I am very disappointed with him about this - don't despair, Inslee made it crystal clear he is fully supportive of the public option and he stated firmly he will vote for it.  He says he won't sign the pledge because he doesn't believe he should be inflexibly bound by ideology when he doesn't know if something else could arise that didn't include a public option that he would feel to be a satisfactory solution.

I trust Inlee just barely enough to take him at his word that he IS with us on a robust public option.  Of course, he better walk the walk and not just talk the talk, we WILL be watching!

Other highlights included the standing ovation on BOTH occasions when citizens said they wished the Democrats would grow spines.  

A general practice physician got a standing ovation when he said that our government was the solution because We The People are our government.  "well said!" responded Inlsee.

One of my favorite moments came after Inslee had taken several wingnut questions and was always very respectful, but finally he had to point out that he listened to talk show radio just like everyone else and he had to wonder "What planet do these people come from?"

That brought a huge standing ovation.

We've all heard all the wingnut talking points well enough that I won't bother you with details of wingnuts stepping up and babbling out their misinformation and paranoid delusions.  And we've all heard the insurance horror stories so I won't tell the heart breaking stories that were told to us today,   But what I will do is make a couple of political observations.

I always remember Rommels dictum for war:  Attack the enemy where they are weak, never attack into their strenghts.

The right is weakest when they try to push the absurd death panels or the criticism that they don't want some nameless person deciding their healthcare for them.  This is their most indefensible "concern" because it is a simple matter to point out that death panels and strangers deciding who gets healthcare and who doesn't are the insuracne ocmpanies and they are already doing those exact things to us.  I would have liked Inslee to have brought this up.

One of the wingnuts said he didn't want the government to invade our privacy and have all our medical records.  This got a big ovation from the wingnuts.  Otherwise I would have shouted for the second time today:  "This is about healthcare, not the Patriot Act!"  Instead, I just turned to the mayor when the cheering died and loudly asked why this man was talking about the Patriot Act, which got several laughs and nods.

However, I'd have to say that this is one of their strenghths.  People do not want the government intruding anymore into their private lives.  Pointing out that the wingnuts are hypocrites about this issue is a response that has legs, however, a stronger response than that is needed to assure the public in general that the government won't be collecting a health database on its citizens.  Not only that, but the insurance industry should be denied such a database as well.

A strength of ours that came under attack was when one wingnut said he didn't want government in his healthcare and Inslee responded that if anyone didn't want Medicare, they didn't have to take it.  If anyone didn't want the public option, they didn't have to take it either.  The rights response, and it has resonance that must be addressed, is that they still had to pay for the public option whether they wanted it or not.

This is a resonant argument to many Americans.  Here I felt that Inslee could have done a better job defusing this line of attack.  When they started yelling that they shouldn't have to pay for it, he should have come back with the point he'd made many times already:  that the public option was being paid for by the payments made by those who chose the public option.  Time after time he had said that those using the public option would be the ones who paid for it.  Now, I don't see how this is possible, but if it is so, he should have taken that talking point away from them right then and there.

However, I believe much of the public option gets paid for by raising taxes on the top 1% and Inslee said something to that effect as the touwnhall began.  So it is obvious that Inslee was not prepared for this line of attack.

Anyways, sorry that I'm probably leaving a lot out, hope others can add even more.

Originally posted to Pen on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 02:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  great job, Pen! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster, Lujane

      And great job standing up to the morans and getting the truth out there!

      "I will sing you a song no one sang to can be anybody that you want to be

      by two moms in Az on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:28:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for shouting back at the crazies (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, golconda2, Lujane

      It needs to be done.

      And thanks for sharing with all of us.

      ...nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. - Barack Obama

      by Lefty Coaster on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:30:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tomorrow Inslee has another Town Hall in Edmonds (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sunday, August 30th 1:30pm - 3:00pm. Edmonds-Woodway High School Gymnasium 7600 212th St SW, Edmonds

      ...nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it. - Barack Obama

      by Lefty Coaster on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:37:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I too was there. What a zoo!
      Another theme the kids kept trying was " Why move so quickly? ". " Slow down. "
      Where have they been the last 8 to 16 years?
      They have cut taxes and put 2 wars on the credit card. That was a point Inslee made twice as I recall.
      Rather than discuss policy just wanted to chant " Support or Troops! "

      Way to go Jay

      •  Oh yeah! THAT was the second time I shouted back (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        For the life of me I couldn't remember what it was lol.  Getting old I guess.  They kept shouting what's the hurry and I finally got them to shut up when I shouted back "Two thousand people dying every month for lack of healthcare!"

        Don't know how many heard me, but they shut the F up after I yelled it.

        "Take whatever you can, Steal whatever you can't take, Kill what you can't steal so no one else can have it." - Republican Business Philosophy

        by Pen on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:03:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Highly recommended (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eman, JG in MD, Dixie Liberal

    And very well written...thanks!

  •  Again (7+ / 0-)

    I don't understand why Democrats are so flat footed when it comes to making their arguments.  It happens on all the cross fire type shows and it happens in town halls. They just don't seem to come prepared.  Why is that?  It is one of the things that irritates me most about our Democratic politicians.  It is a wonder they got elected.  

    •  I hope I'm not giving the wrong impression (10+ / 0-)

      Inslee was definately not flat footed.  He handled things quite well, as a matter of fact.  I was making a critique of one time he could have done better.  But overall, I'd give him a B+ on being prepared.

      I just wish he'd been a bit stronger at counterattacking.  My main concern is the Dems don't counterattack nearly hard enough and neither did Inslee.

      "Take whatever you can, Steal whatever you can't take, Kill what you can't steal so no one else can have it." - Republican Business Philosophy

      by Pen on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:08:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the problem (and only part) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emsprater, CaliSista

      is that they have to be prepared to refute the most preposterous, hard-to-predict, zany charges from people who don't really want to listen.

      But in general, I agree that our pols need to be better prepared to respond to the nonsense as well as the reasonable questions.

      I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

      by beemerr90s on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:25:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I met Inslee at NN09 and was quite (3+ / 0-)

    impressed by him.  I would have preferred a stronger pledge on the public option, but otherwise it sounds like he's a good guy.  Thanks for reporting.

    Hike On! discussing national parks, public lands, and outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 03:08:00 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for shouting back! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree, we need to stand up and start calling out the lies in very simple terms.

  •  The amount raised through a tax on the top 1% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    goes to those who cannot afford premiums. And they will use it buy from the Exchange, which will include private insurance and the public option. So Rep. Inslee is correct in saying people will decide how they spend the subsidy. It doesn't necessarily go to pay for the PO.

  •  Did anyone ask about medicare bulk drug prices? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is one of the tests of a true reformer.  Being so close to Canada, I know how their citizens are saving $$ on prescription drugs.  There is no reason other than hush money why that can't be done here too.
    The big pharma ads touting "bipartisan health care reform" are playing on tv here in WA.  Is Inslee a recipient of their money and ads too?

  •  I sat next to a winger (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    at the town hall.  She was an insurance company employee who claimed that she was not there at the behest of the company.  But she sure took notes.  
    She started out by calling Inslee a liar about, I believe, death panels.  I pointed out that she should stop listening fox noise, which didn't endear me to her. We sniped back and forth a bit.  But at the end she said the Rep. Inslee did seem honest, which surprised me.  None of her comments indicated any real knowledge.  She had a copy of the bill and kept asking if I had read it.  I said I hadn't and didn't need to.  I have seen people try to interpret legal language at work, and they always get it wrong.  

    I thought Inslee did a nice job. I would have liked to have him commit to a public option or a no vote, but other than that I thought he did a pretty good job with the issues.  He worked hard to debunk death panels and other lies.  He kept bringing the debt issue back to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which I thought was useful. The audience was really good about shushing hecklers, and I would guess that about 70 % were progressives. I am guessing 1000 to 1500 attended.

    Where will wants not, a way opens.

    by Leftleaner on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:15:53 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the report, and a question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Did Inslee talk about the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, a proposal to replace the advisory MedPAC body with a rulemaking board?  There seems to be a legitimate concern that this might result in less care for the elderly, a concern that might be behind some of the opposition.  I'm not sure if belittling all the opposition as wingers and shills is a good strategy.  

    •  IIRC, He spoke about it but not in that context (0+ / 0-)

      He was referring to a question about limiting tort reform.  ie, not holding malpractice accountable.  He said the IMAB would set standards of care.
      He may have been referring to something else, however.  Sorry, I really should have taken notes.

      "Take whatever you can, Steal whatever you can't take, Kill what you can't steal so no one else can have it." - Republican Business Philosophy

      by Pen on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:01:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, and I should have said "Council" (0+ / 0-)

        It's the Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC).  I think it's more than just about setting standards - it takes power away from Congress on Medicare payment rate.

        This is what the LaRouchies are saying is a "Nazi"
        policy.  BS, of course, but I do agree with them to this extent: with all the spending on bailouts and wars, I have to wonder why only health care costs are such a big concern.  

        If there are seniors coming to townhall meetings and saying "government should stay away from my Medicare," there could be a legitimate concern behind that.  Cutting Medicare costs is indeed an important part of current health care reform plans, and concerns for cost-effectiveness do indeed include the question of whether expensive end-of-life measures are a good use of money.  

        These issues should be addressed honestly.  I don't see that happening.  

  •  Thanks for this... (0+ / 0-)

    I had hoped to go to this one or tomorrow's, but today my husband had a conflict and tomorrow both of us do.  So I'm very glad to hear that the teabagger types didn't dominate.  I was particulary concerned about the one in Poulsbo since for people like me (on the Eastside), it's hard to get to, but there are a lot of the teabagger types out that way.  I don't know much about the Edmonds area.  But I do hope that one goes fairly well, too.

  •  Thanks for this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I had no idea there were so many local kossacks.

    I'm a big fan of Jay Inslee.  I live in Dicks' district, but I consider Jay to be my rep.  I look forward to him as our Governor in a few years.

    I'll be attending Norm's Townhall tomorrow.  I'll try to post something, given that it will be a late evening and I have an all day meeting the next day.

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