Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frank Pallone Townhall in Red Bank

Today I went to Rep Frank Pallone's (D-NJ6) townhall meeting at the Red Bank Middle School. I was hoping to see at least 100 opponents, and to have the opportunity to ask him some uncomfortable question, but what I found there exceeeded all my expectations.

There were around 1,500 people for the meeting, and I think only about 100 of them were Pallone supporters. Everybody else was against him, socialism and government-run healthcare. It was a very interesting event, and although he didn't really answer any question, nor did I hear anything I didn't know, it really showed the support that Obama's plans have in Monmouth County.

The meeting was starting at 7pm, and I was quite late, got there at 6:15pm, after spending at least 10 minutes looking for parking. There was a huge line, already hundreds of people, snaking around the school grounds, out to the streets, coming back on sidewalk. And as we moved forward, the end of the line was moving farther and farther away. First thing I noticed was how many anti-socialist signs there were out there. The organizers were handing out supporting signs, and here's the thing: You probably know how Pelosi, Obama and the media says that townhall protests are highly organized by various groups? Well, ALL protesting signs were hand-written on sheets of paper. At the same time, there were NO hand-written supporting sign, they were all profesionally printed posters. Talk about who represents the grassroots...

Since the auditorium could seat only 500 people, they said they'll take 500 people at a time, then empty the building, take the next group... And I didn't make the first cut, so I waited about 2 hours to get in. Wasn't really boring, had a lot of nice people around to talk to. When we finally got in, around 8:30, it was obvious where's the majority. There weren't more than 20 people who were supporting Pallone. The crowd was loud, and often rowdy, maybe due to waiting standing up for so long.

First Mayor Pat Menna said a few words... Which nobody heard because we were still noisy. There was especially a very funny group back into the corner who kept jeering everybody, and they told Menna to "go get a job". When he said he's a lawyer they repeated "get a real job!" Then Frank Pallone had a very short opening statement, and he said right from the beginning that he's on the Health Subcommittee, and he crafted the bill. At that point, 480 errupted in booing, while the other 20 applauded.

The way the townhall meeting proceeded was this: There would be a question, or just a statement from an opponent. The crowd would cheer, applaud, even explode in a standing ovation. Pallone would either ask for the next question, mumble something avoiding a direct answer, or say "I wrote the bill, it's not true". Of course he'd be booed every time, but he'd avoid having to lie any more. There were very specific things that were asked from him, and he'd say it's not true, while the people would chant "Li-ar, Li-ar". Other very popular chants were "Vote him out!" or "Just say no!".

There were also a few questions from his supporters. Like someone said, 95% of the people were against him, and the other 5% were bused in. And they seemed to have brought only people in wheelchairs, thinking they'd avoid being booed off. Well, the crowd just didn't buy that, and jeered them, and it wasn't disrespectful to their disability, but to the organizers' attitude. Every supporter who got to the mike read a printed statement. They didn't even ask canned question, they were praising Pallone, Obama and Congress. Which doesn't mean Pallone didn't throw one of them under the bus, by mistake. It was the only supporter who didn't read a script, and she said her prescription drug costs $100k. Pallone asked "And you're not covered by Medicare" "Err... yes, I am, both Medicare and private" "And your drug is covered by Plan D?" "Errr... no... my private insurance pays, Medicare is a backup" "But I assume your still pay a lot. How much are your out-of-pocket expenses" "Errr... errrr.. I actually don't pay anything out of the pocket" "OK then, next question?". A lot of these people were just praising Pallone, reading poetry and quoting JFK, and they got booed to the point where Pallone signaled to his stuff to cut them out. Oh, and it was this Obama mama, who for some reason kept making obscene signs at me, who was obviously high, and said how much she loves Pallone and Obama and asked them to stick this bill up our a$$es.

So there's want really much that we heard from Pallone. He said he strongly supports federal funding for abortions. He got pressured into admitting that in NJ there's no discrimination for pre-existing conditions. He went further to admit that's the case in most states. Upon furtther questioning, he said that well, in Alabama you can be discriminated if you make $10k/year, and Medicare wouldn't pick up your bill.

Pallone also claimed that ObamaCare would be budget neutral. He said it will cost only 1 trillion, no big deal (although the CBO says it will be closer to 2 trillions), and that half of it is paid by new taxes, while the other half is covered by savings already made by the Federal government. Excuse me??? The government saved 500 billions and hid the money away? You mean we've saved enough money to lower the deficit by half a trillion, and nobody told us? Nobody bout this BS, there were like 3 minutes of booing.

Also when asked about the constitutionality of this bill, he said it's under the "public welfare" cause, but this is a longer discussion and I'll write a separate posting about it, since it's completely false. But the most we heard were the opponents' statements, from explaining how "successful" government-run healthcare is in other countries, to claiming that all this is just about the government controlling more and more of our lives. And the biggest results is that Pallone could see that his constituents are 95% against him. I don't expect him to change his mind on the bill, but I'm sure that many other Congressmen who just got elected on very narrow margins, riding the Obama wave, are gonna listen to "We the people".

Tomorrow in Middletown, we should let Rush Holt hear the same thing. Like here, there shouldn't be any discrimination at the entrance between supporters and opponents, signs were allowed inside here as long as there were no sticks.

I only have a few pictures of the crowd to include here, and I'll post a few clips to YouTube in a few days.

1 comment:

  1. Great job Chris! The first group was a little less rowady, but also 95% against. They asked intelligent questions that Pallone danced around. I think the average age of the crowd was around 45-50, which is great! I am soooo proud to be a part of a group of people who are willing to stand up and fight this machine. We ride again tomorrow night!!!!!