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Congressman Chip Cravaack held what was supposed to have been his first town hall meeting on Minnesota's Iron Range on Tuesday evening. But the event at the Mountain Iron Community Center more closely resembled a sales pitch for the Ryan Budget than a town hall meeting.  Much like the snake oil salesmen of yore, Cravaack adroitly attempted to spin a tale of how his product would cure all that ails you.

Worried about the debt, Medicare, jobs, national security?

No problem. The Ryan budget gets us out of debt, makes Medicare solvent while maintaining benefits, creates 2.5 million jobs and makes us more secure from foreign threats, he promised with a crocodile smile.

Cravaack even came armed with the modern day shill, a power point presentation filled with manipulative phrases, colorful graphs and 'official' numbers.  He slickly pimped the plan to the crowd, strictly adhering to Tea Party talking points.

The problem for Cravaack was that astute Iron Rangers weren't buying what he was selling.  

They came to discuss the actual facts, not as Cravaack stated "the facts to the best of my ability". Forced to go off script, his snake oil salesman persona gave way to the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, unsure of what to do next. The numbers he cited for various aspects of the budget were particularly problematic for him. When challenged, Cravaack became increasingly confused and/or inconsistent as to the sources (originally stated to be the CBO), to the point where one participant from Ely noted with disgust "He has no idea where those numbers are coming from".

Cravaack seemed unprepared for the questions from his constituents and even more surprised that he was unable to placate the crowd by simply repeating the phrases "I work for you", "I won't vote for anything that won't protect seniors", "It's the best plan I've seen". When confronted by the fact that his votes have indeed hurt his constituents or they don't like what he's doing, he spoke of being in the military, about working for his constituents, or just babbled nonsense, prompting many comments in the audience about his ability to 'sling the bs'. I don't recall anyone getting a direct honest answer, not even well-respected former Eveleth legislator Joe Begich, who raised some specific concerns about Medicare and pointed out that even Newt Gingrich came out against the Ryan budget.

The standing-room only crowd of approximately 125 was comprised of constituents from Nashwauk and Keewatin on the western part of the Mesabi Range to Eveleth on the east. There were people from as far away as International Falls, Ely, and Duluth in attendance as well. Quite an impressive turnout, especially with the price of gas hovering around $4.00 per gallon. Many, I dare say most, were not given an opportunity to be heard or to have their questions answered as the bulk of the time was used for the power point presentation.

It is very clear that Rep. Cravaack had no intention of this being a true town hall meeting where he listened to his constituents. It was merely his way of getting a captive audience to listen to his snake oil pitch for the Ryan budget. This was a bait and switch, plain and simple.

We deserve to be treated much better by our congressman. And he will hear us in 2012.

Loudly and clearly.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip'd & Rec'd (4+ / 0-)

    Give em hell Iron Rangers.  The BS has to stop.

    "A different world cannot be built by indifferent people." Anon from a fortune cookie I got.

    by coloradocomet on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:23:31 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps my favorite part was (3+ / 0-)

    when he cautioned that we might become like Europe and only have 1X% microwaves because of how expensive the power was. "You know air conditioning is a luxury over there?", more numbers and random lies he pulled out of his own deep, dark place.

    Yet, I thought he held up pretty well despite peddling BS and not really understanding the material.  We underestimate him at our peril.

  •  Can you add the MN-08 tag? Thanks! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:36:41 AM PDT

  •  Cravaack's a one-termer and we can help ensure it! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xylonjay, hopi13

    My mom's cousin Rick Nolan is thinking of running against him in 2012!

    I really need a new signature that is lofty enough for DK4 - but I just haven't eaten enough arugula and sipped enough lattes to come up with one today. Sorry folks!

    by RethinkEverything on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:37:38 AM PDT

  •  As a former Iron Ranger.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton

    I wish I could have been there to ask a few questions of this corporate hack. I moved away to the twin cities 10 years ago and am quite happy with my congressman Keith Ellison in the House and Al Franken in the senate.  I hope Chip AssCraavack faces a stronger challenger in the next cycle besides Tarryl Clark (I don't think she stands a chance up there). I stand with my fellow 'Rangers who speak truth to power!

    "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny"

    by xylonjay on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:39:57 AM PDT

    •  why don't you think she stands a chance? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jacey

      She's been involved in various organizations up there for a long time, and it's very likely her current home will be in the new district.

      This is a woman who did quite well in the most GOP district in the state, despite Bachmann's millions and an indie spoiler candidate.

      •  My reasoning is this... (0+ / 0-)

        As a former citizen of the Iron Range, the overall attitude to folks from the "Twin Cities" is pretty harsh(they call us twin-cidiots).  They don't take kindly to outsiders up there and will see Tarryl as someone who will do anything (which would include moving to "their" district) to obtain the power she seeks. I supported her in her campaign against "batshit Bachmann" but I don't see her as someone who could win over enough of the "ranger" vote. Its pretty red up there and the DFL has been in decline over the last several years. Its my opinion that the folks of the MN-08 would vote for a strong local candidate with roots in the area as opposed to a "big city, outsider". I beleive that someone like representative Tom Rukavina who has a decent base of support could take the seat from Chip. I know Tom personally and he would be a strong candidate who has the aforementioned requirements to to win against Ass-Craavack.

        "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny"

        by xylonjay on Fri May 20, 2011 at 09:54:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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