Sympathy for the Protester

“F$#@k you, you well-dressed fascist,” the first protester screamed at me with venom in his voice. He was right about one thing. At that particular event I was well-dressed. “You are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. Their blood is on your hands,” another screamed at me as I entered the facility where we had scheduled a political event for later that day at the GOP convention in New York City a few years ago.

In a perfect world, people wouldn’t yell at a town hall meeting and everyone’s opinion could be heard equally. In a perfect world, people wouldn’t use over-the-top rhetoric when simply expressing their view in an even-handed manner would get the job done.

Cardin Won't Vote for Healthcare Bill if it Increases the Deficit

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) promised right out loud yesterday at a town hall meeting in Hagerstown that he will NOT vote for a healthcare bill that increases the deficit. Pretty amazing.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that ObamaCare will increase the deficit by no less than $239 billion.

Did Cardin just gift himself a get-out-of-jail-free card? After all, President Barack Obama claims his plan will NOT increase the deficit. CBO says it will, and they're not the only ones. When the proverbial rubber hits the road in the fall and there are votes in Congress, this may be the biggest point of contention.

Drop the Public Option, Dems

Watching the crowds at rowdy town hall meetings across the country, it is clear that anger, fear and loathing at bureaucracy, government control and federal spending have heated to a boil.

President Barack Obama knows this. He knows that participants at these forums are mostly decided — against him. They aren't coming to learn more about healthcare reform; they aren't interested in the truth vs. rumor on any reform proposals now under consideration in Congress; they are furious about a pile of other issues that preceded this debate and they want to let him and the Democratic Party have it.

Missed Opportunity

The current heated debate that has embroiled the country (whether the conservatives who organize to protest Obamacare are somehow illegitimate while the liberals who organize to support Obamacare are somehow perfectly above board) misses the real story in the missteps by the White House to get healthcare reform quickly.

I had a beer with my best friend from high school this evening (and his wife and kids — the kids didn’t have any beer), and we got to talking about healthcare and Obama. They aren’t big fans of Obama. They doubt his sincerity, they worry about his spending plans, they expect big tax increases from him and they don’t really like him that much.

And they oppose his healthcare plan.

Is the GOP Winning the Battle But Losing the War?

The White House is stunned by its setback on healthcare, and aides to the president are setting up a website to figure out just what rumors are out there and how to fight back. Don't know if scared senior citizens are going to consult the White House website, but reportedly the AARP is setting frightened callers straight.

So President Barack Obama is back on the road, answering criticism and trying, once again, to sell a plan that still lacks any cemented details. Things are going badly for the Democrats and the conventional wisdom holds the GOP is winning this debate, and could benefit politically should reform be derailed when Congress returns in September.

Obama Faces His Tony Soprano

A scheduled town hall meeting on healthcare in New Hampshire by President Barack Obama puts him face to face with Americans whom Democrats and their buddies in the media have referred to as "mob" or "mafia" types because they so vociferously disagree with Obama on his healthcare overhaul proposals. Interesting terminology surrounding the man from Chicago — a town rife with real-life mob types.

While Obama tried his best to intimidate and strong-arm Democrats in Congress into rushing and voting for a bill they were completely unfamiliar with before the August recess, one can't help but see the Chicago mafia-esque nature of such tactics. It's probably where Obama and Rahm Emanuel first concocted the notion to compare average Americans anxious to make themselves heard by Washington lawmakers to members of the mafia. It's likely neither Obama nor Emanuel is ignorant of how the actual mob operates.

Healthcare a Test of America's Mettle

We're one week into August and it's already hotter than expected. For Democratic members attempting to defend President Barack Obama's push for healthcare reform (I use the word "push" since there is no definitive plan) things are downright explosive.

These protests are democracy in action, to be sure. Everyone has the right to question their elected leaders, express their views, and even do so loudly and rudely. But the fact that there is no healthcare bill yet, that the debate remains fluid, means losing these public forums to shouting and anger is an opportunity squandered. These meetings could be constructive, and help direct the debate about which reforms Congress should enact in September or October. Instead, little enlightening is taking place, and the furious opposition e-mails are drowning out what truth voters may want to learn about the actual plans on the table.

A President Committed to Healthcare for Veterans

He's not getting enough credit for it, but as we've seen recently, President Barack Obama's been working hard for education benefits for the troops, and also moving seriously for real healthcare for them.

This involves the recent GI Bill, back pay some troops had earned but weren't being paid and, now, serious funding for health at the Veterans Administration.

You can read some of this from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America,, and also at the VA site:

The Heat of August

Mardela, a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, happens to be the hometown of CNBC's Erin Burnett (and a few miles from the hometown of the considerably less famous author of this blog).

This past Tuesday it also happened to be the scene of every healthcare reform advocate's worst nightmare: a moderate Democrat subjected to a hostile August town hall meeting over the recess. Health reform's chances rest on the shoulders of moderates like first-term Congressman Frank Kratovil. Kratovil won election in Maryland's 1st district despite Barack Obama getting only getting 40 percent of the vote. Obama may have carried several members to victory on his coattails. In Kratovil's case, Obama was an up-ticket drag.

Scary Scare Tactics

I received an interesting e-mail today from Mitch Stewart of President Barack Obama's Organizing for America with a subject heading of "Beating the scare tactics." Perhaps you received it, too.

The e-mail complains that those voicing their opposition to Obama's healthcare proposal "are using scare tactics and spreading smears."

Efforts are under way to "incite constituents into lashing out at their representatives and disrupting their events," we're told. We're also warned about attack organizations and more disruptions and informed that these efforts could "hijack the entire public discourse" and cause all Americans to suffer.