It's August, 2009 again. Except this time the disgruntled town meeting attendees aren't teabaggers, they're everybody. And the targets are now Republicans. Here's Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), at a town hall meeting facing constituents over a broken campaign promise to not privatize Medicare. An angry constituent confronts him: "If you voted to abolish Medicare, how would you explain that to people in their 50′s out of a job?!"
It's not just Meehan, or the most prominent example so far, Medicare abolishment plan author, Rep. Paul Ryan
who was booed by his constituents at a town meeting for defending tax breaks for the wealthy. Turns out, it's happening in districts all over the country. HuffPo's Jason Linkins has a round-up
of all the GOP members facing major hostility at home for their vote to end Medicare.
Rep. Robert Dold, (R-Ill.):
Fresh off voting for the so-called Paul Ryan budget plan on Friday, newly-elected Congressman Robert Dold returned to Buffalo Grove Saturday where constituents questioned him about several elements of the Republican budget.
But Dold couldn't even get to the end of the presentation before audience members began peppering him with questions about the Ryan budget, named after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. It began with audience members telling Dold they don't believe chopping 10 percentage points off the highest corporate tax rate will create jobs. A handful of people in the audience identified themselves as business owners and accountants who said their effective corporate income tax rate is already lower than the lowest rates proposed in the Ryan plan. They pointed to companies such as GE that pay almost no taxes despite billions in profits as evidence.
Rep. Lou Barletta, (R-Pa.):
Reminiscent of the August 2009 town halls when members of Congress faced angry constituents over health care reforms, a public forum in Carbon County with Rep. Lou Barletta Wednesday night provided a glimpse of the strong emotions stirred by a Republican plan to alter Medicare benefits.
...While he was going through a slide projector presentation about the Medicare changes proposed by House Republican Paul Ryan, a woman raised her hand....
"Excuse me, I'd like to get something off my chest," she said, standing. "You seem to think that because I'm not effected I won't care if my niece, my grandson, my child is affected. I do care. What you're doing with this Ryan budget is you're taking Medicare and changing it from a guaranteed health care system to one that is a voucher system where you throw seniors on the mercy of for-profit insurance companies..."
"You said nothing in the campaign about I'm going to change Medicare, now you voted for a plan that will destroy Medicare," Linda Christman, 64, said. Christman is president of the Carbon County Democrats for Change, according to Barletta's office.
"I won't destroy Medicare, Medicare is going to be destroyed by itself," Barletta said.
Then it got ugly.
Rep. Charlie Bass, (R-N.H.):
Rep. Charlie Bass knew he was in for a rough night. The first question out of the gate during his Wednesday town hall in Hillsborough, NH was about his vote for Paul Ryan's budget. And the second. And the third and the fourth, fifth and sixth questions. "I enjoyed the discourse," he said, almost hopefully, afterward. "It's important to speak with people who disagree with me. Of course there was going to be backlash."
Yes, there will be backlash, which hopefully Democrats will pounce on as effectively and forcefully as the Republicans did with health reform. Opposition to the Republican plan to keep taxes for the rich low and Medicare out of reach for everyone else is broad and deep. If Dems can coalesce around that, and stop all the austerity, Social Security cutting bullshit, they've got their issue for 2012.