The first downer was discovering I had no Internet access, since I had planned on live blogging the event. No Internet in a Convention Center? What are those people thinking? No wonder Natchez has trouble competing. Memo to Walter Tipton: This is the 21st Century.
The good news was there was a good crowd there. Extra chairs had to be brought in - and there were still people standing. It's nice to know people are interested in health care reform and in their government. The bad news is these people were appallingly ignorant.
When a Democratic member of Congress has a town hall meeting, the opposition screams, interrupts, threatens, and even brings guns. We've all seen these mobs on TV. But when a Republican has a town hall, everyone is very polite. Does this tell you anything?
Senator Wicker's introductory remarks were predictable - straight out of the Republican play book. Unfortunately, most of it is not true. Is he just dumb - or does he know he's lying?
He starts by saying that "the greatest issue of our time" is the "government takeover of healthcare". He got a big round of applause. This was the big issue of the meeting. How horrible it would be for the federal government to run our health care. On the other hand, Medicare is wonderful and don't mess with it. Do none of these people see the contradiction in these two ideas?
Medicare is run by the federal government - it is even a single payor system. If you don't want a "government takeover of healthcare", then the first step is to abolish Medicare. Of course, they would never do that, because Medicare is hugely popular.
If you are truly concerned about Medicare and senior citizens, then check with the AARP, which supports health care reform and is trying to fight the lies meant to scare senior citizens. It very clearly states that health care reform:
- Is not socialized medicine.
- Does not mean rationed care.
- Will help - not hurt - Medicare.
- Is not too costly.
- Doesn't mean goverment makes life or death decisions
Senator Wicker acknowledges our health care system needs improvement. So did he and the Republicans try to work with the Democrats to come up with those improvements? Of course not. They don't care about the health care of the American people. All they care about is Republicans winning elections next year, and they realize their best chance is to defeat Obama on this big issue. As widely reported in the news, Republican Senator DeMint said:
"If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
Wicker does not want to make the current legislation better. No, he said several times that he wants to kill the current legislation and start over. If he and the Republicans are successful, then American is indeed in deep trouble.
PS If you look at who contributes to Senator Wicker's campaigns, the top industries are Finance & Insurance. Why am I not surprised?