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Ragging on Right-wingers

On why Republicans oppose mass transit:

Right wingers are always opposed to trains. Whether they are a good idea or might benefit the region is irrelevant. Trains, you see, are too European, too communal, too communistic. Light rail, passenger rail, it doesn’t matter. It is a waste of tax money because it is a train.

Another commenter talks about how Dems could handle rowdy Republican protesters at town hall meetings:

I wonder – what if the speakers at these events tried a new tactic when interrupted, and asked the loudmouth yeller to come up to the podium and talk? Ask them to come up and state their name and where they’re from (in case they’ve been bussed in) and to tell the audience what their beef is.

Risky, yes – but there are several things that might make this work. The first is fear of public speaking – even loudmouth nutjobs who heckle from the back might feel differently when up at a podium in front of a microphone. And if he/she doesn’t have a problem and lets go, perhaps the spew of nonsense that emerges might show them to be less than reasonable. At any rate, it would give the speaker a chance to debunk point by point the right-wing talking points that undoubtedly would flow, and make the speaker look like a real stand-up kind of guy/gal.

Steve Benen mocks a quote by Grover Norquist that right-wingers are protesting because “people are pissed. They’ve been lied to.”

Well, yes, I suppose so. They "are pissed" precisely because they have been "lied to." The key to remember, though, is who’s been doing the lying.

Norquist and his pals have convinced the Republican base that health care reform means a "government takeover" of the system. They’ve said it will mean "socialized" medicine. They’ve said it "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia." They’ve said reform would eliminate private insurance options. They’ve said reform "will literally cost nearly a trillion dollars in higher taxes." They’ve said reform would cover undocumented immigrants.

All of these claims are false, but the right’s Powers That Be have to convince the activists otherwise. They have, in other words, perpetrated a con, preying on far-right Republicans who don’t know better.

"People are pissed. They’ve been lied to." That’s true. They’re just directing their anger at the wrong people — those who’ve been telling the truth.

In 2003 before the Iraq invasion, I wrote a glorious piece about a town hall meeting with John Culberson. It was eye-opening to see the type of people who showed up for these meetings. Right before the Iraq war, most of the people were veterans concerned about terrorists and small business people afraid that the Westpark Tollway was intefering with their business. I don’t like the behavior of conservatives here, but I fear something greater: when do Americans have a chance to talk back with our congressmen?

Whenever I call my Texas senator, the line is busy.

Whenever I call my Congressmen, I get a live person (but he is one of the good guys already).

I would love to attend a town hall meeting, but there never is an opportunity to see Senators and very rarely an opportunity to see Congressmen. (maybe once a year, and only about a special topic). I have to wonder how Washington politicians stay in touch with their constituents. Do they just talk to lobbyists and political friends?  I just don’t know.

At the moment, my  big issue is global warming, but I’d love to ask a question at a town meeting, if only to counterbalance conservative misinformation. But such opportunities never seem to exist. Why? Is our democratic system failing?

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