I just posted my first thoughts resulting from yesterday’s townhall meeting with Congressman Jay Inslee. You can read them over at The Sundries Shack. It occurs to me, we’re not asking the right questions about health care. What do you think?
Monthly Archives: August 2009
Despite the concerns I voiced here, Sherrill Huff retained her position as Director of Elections for King County. In a move that initially allays some of those concerns, Huff has hired Evelyn Arnold as her Superintendent of Elections. Ms. Arnold is a CPA and has served as the Chelan County Auditor since 1990.
Arnold first came to my notice in 2005 when she testified at the trial challenging the results of the 2004 gubernatorial election. The election results were contested due to shoddy ballot handling practices by King County. At the time, she impressed me as a person who took her work seriously; in her view, a ballot discrepancy of one was unacceptable. She has also been serving on the King County Elections oversight committee since 2005, making her well qualified to step in and make an immediate impact.
Ms. Arnold’s punctiliousness is exactly what is needed to restore confidence in the integrity of the King County Department of Elections, not only for King County voters, but for those of us in the rest of the state as well.
Congressman Jay Inslee has scheduled two health care townhall meetings with his constituents. Given the cowardly behavior of other legislators across the country, he’s to be commended for doing so on his own initiative.
Unfortunately, given his recent statements, it’s unlikely that he’s really interested in hearing what his constituents have to say, unless, of course, they’re likely to vote for him in the next election. Further evidence of his lack of interest can be found in the leaked e-mail from Dwight Pelz, Washington State Democratic Chairman, to various progressive groups that reveals a possible astroturf situation. (Jimmie Bise provides an excellent explanation of astroturfing at The Sundries Shack.)
Whether or not the e-mail constitutes astroturfing remains to be seen but that isn’t really my point. What I find disturbing here, as I already mentioned, is the evidence that Pelz and Inslee are taking steps to pack the townhalls with supporters. If Inslee were really interested in what his constituents think about health care reform, he’d merely announce the meetings and wait to see who showed up.
What really is the point of a townhall meeting if it’s not to engage in an honest dialogue with constituents? Disturbingly, it appears as though Inslee and Pelz consider it an opportunity to control the dialogue by manipulating the composition of the audience and mislead the public about the level of support for a fundamental transformation of our health care system…on our own dime.
Recently, I announced a new direction for It’s Only Words. My decision to focus on local issues is directly related to my resolve make a conservative impact on Washington politics. That being said, I do have one last obligation remaining that is national in scope, Project 2996. This excellent effort is a collaboration of bloggers who have committed to memorialize the victims of 9/11.
This will be the first year I’ve participated and I’m honored to be doing so. With the redesignation of September 11th as a “National Day of Service and Remembrance” we run the risk of losing sight of the victims of that sad day.
At the time of this post, only 687 of the 2,996 victims are slated to be memorialized and 9/11 is just around the corner. If you have a blog, please consider taking part in this worthy project.
Nansen Malin has an excellent post at NW Digest describing her difficulties participating in Congressman Brian Baird’s most recent tele-townhall. Baird, you may recall, has been in the news for comparing health care protesters to Nazi Brown Shirts and Timothy McVeigh.
After the initial flap, Congressman Baird had agreed to a face-to-face, honest to goodness townhall in Ms. Malin’s home, where she offered to act as his bodyguard. That meeting has since been canceled, apparently because the Congressman didn’t like the tenor of Ms. Malin’s earlier postings, such as this one.
For those of you who have been following the evolution of It’s Only Words, I’d like to say thank you. You don’t know how incredibly gratifying it is to have people take time out of their busy schedules to read my ramblings and occasionally even take time to comment. I truly appreciate every visitor.
One thing you may have noticed is that my posts here have had a tendency to be all over the place: national politics; local politics; abortion; my wacky neighbors and so on, as I’ve written about whatever happened to capture my attention on a given day. While that’s served me well as an outlet for frustration, it’s quite possibly not the most effective means of making any lasting impression on, well, just about anyone or anything.
And so I come to my announcement that It’s Only Words will be taking a new direction and focusing exclusively on issues and events of significance here in my home state of Washington. That’s not to say that I won’t occasionally have thoughts on national issues; when I feel I have something of value to add to the national debate, Jimmie at The Sundries Shack has graciously invited me to post my thoughts there. Jimmie has been very supportive and helpful from the first days of It’s Only Words, and expanding my blogging career with guest posts at The Shack feels like a natural progression.
Once again, thank you. Here’s to a new focus and a new beginning for It’s Only Words.
Here in the Soviet of Washington, our elected officials skew heavily to the left so those of us who call ourselves conservatives are accustomed to them saying and doing things that make us want to bang our heads on our desks in frustration. Who can forget, for example, Patty Murray’s glowing tribute to Osama bin Laden or Jim McDermott’s trip to Baghdad in the run up to the 2002 military action in Iraq. Living here, we have to be prepared for the outrageous.
Recently, however, Representative Brian Baird of Washington’s 3rd Congressional District made some comments comparing townhall protesters to Nazi brown shirts and Timothy McVeigh that caught even the most prepared of us off guard. Now it seems he’s joined by Jay Inslee of Washington’s 1st District.
Sam Stein, writing in the Huffington Post:
As effective as the angry anti-reform town-hall protesters have been at getting media attention, that does not mean they are actually influencing members of Congress. “When a person stands up and points their finger at you like a 54-caliber automatic, and calls you a liar, you can be sure they didn’t vote for you and won’t vote for you under any circumstance,” Rep. Jay Inslee, (D-W.A.) told the Huffington Post. “Those folks never voted for any of my colleagues on this side and wont [sic] vote for folks on my side in the next election. They are mad that they lost the last election. They didn’t vote for Barack Obama. They will never vote for Barack Obama and they won’t vote for Barack Obama’s friend.” (Full Article)
In its way, Inslee’s statement is even more bizarre than Baird’s assertions.
First, in a dangerous display of irresponsible imagery, he likens pointing a finger to pointing a “54 caliber automatic.” It’s hard to say if Inslee actually intended to conjure up pictures of naval cannons, or if Stein is so ignorant he doesn’t know there’s a difference between a “.54 caliber” firearm and a “54 caliber” cannon.
Assuming Inslee meant the smaller firearm, one still has to wonder why he chose a .54 caliber automatic, a firearm that exists only in his over-active imagination. Google it and try to ignore the fact that Google doesn’t understand the difference between .54 caliber and 54 caliber either. While .54 caliber firearms do exist, they’re either antiques or reproduction pieces. As a friend said on Twitter, “I’d like to see the automatic weapon that pours in the black powder, drops in the ball, tamps it down, fires and reloads!”
Still, despite the laughable ignorance of both Inslee and Stein, the message is clear: if you’re a conservative, the left may concede you have the right to free speech, but only on their terms. No backtalk. Know your betters. Show some respect. Keep your voices down and keep those hands at your sides, darn it! Better yet, check those fingers at the door!
Moving on to the really disturbing part of Inslee’s comments, when he says, “they didn’t vote for you and won’t vote for you under any circumstance,” he makes it clear that he’s not in D.C. to represent all of his constituents – just those who have or are likely to vote for him. I guess that’s not surprising, but it is rather disconcerting to see him state openly that some constituents are more equal than others.
While it’s bad enough to know that Inslee has written off all opponents of the current health care legislation as irrelevant to his re-election and, therefore, irrelevant indeed, looking at the larger picture one has to wonder if he ever really considers dissenting opinions. Given his lifetime rating of 9.61 (out of 100!) from the American Conservative Union, it appears not. It also explains why he never responds to my correspondence with anything other than condescending form letters that pimp his viewpoint and fail to acknowledge my concerns.
Inslee has revealed himself to be arrogant and close-minded. The only remaining question is how has he managed to pass himself off as a moderate?