Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tea Party Boise Town Hall Meeting

The big news in the Idaho political blogosphere this week was that my Congressman, Democrat Walt Minnick, was going to attend a Town Hall Meeting on health care put together by Tea Party Boise. Many progressive bloggers (here, here, and here) didn't like the idea of a Democrat even going to such an event, feeling it would give the "Tea-baggers" some sort of public acceptance. I thought it might be interesting to see what would happen, so I went last night. There were about 300 people there. Idaho Senator Crapo joined the festivities for a few minutes via telephone.

Democrats will be happy to learn that Congressman Minnick did not engage in any bashing of President Obama personally, and in fact defended him in front of a crowd that clearly didn't want to hear such things. While Walt clearly isn't in favor of the current health care bills being supported by the Democratic Party leadership, and prefers to use the market to solve the problems, he did say he sees the need for health care reform, particularly in the case of people with pre-existing conditions currently unable to get affordable insurance.

Tea Partiers will be interested to know that the moderator and the crowd itself kept themselves pretty much in line as far as screaming and yelling. There was lots of loud applause and some fairly lusty booing at some points, but whenever someone tried tried to speak out of turn (they drew random numbers, and only those people could come to the microphone and ask questions / make comments) the crowd shushed them quite effectively. (An example was when Walt was explaining how President Obama is President of the whole country, and someone yelled out "What about his birth certificate.") Lots of Tea Partiers had what I considered some radical ideas and some fuzzy thinking -- one suggested that the whole concept of insurance was the cause of all the country's ills, and that if there was no insurance people would be a lot more personally responsible. There was lots of cheering for the concept of putting people in jail who tried to use the emergency room and not pay, but they also complained about the high cost of incarcerating people and wanted frequent use of the death penalty. Combining the two, it seemed the only logical solution to their conundrum was to execute poor people who couldn't afford to pay their hospital bills. They were, in general, big into personal responsibility. I assumed that their philosophy is that, as people end up close to starving because of no government aid of any kind, and these people start invading their homes to try to feed their families, they'd just shoot them down and everything would work out.

I was beginning to get disappointed that I wasn't going to see any fireworks when the meeting ended, and then it happened -- the "Truthers" ("Israel did it" sub-division) showed up. One was kind enough to pose for a picture:

To the Tea Partiers credit, their "security" did keep the Truthers away from Congressman Minnick, and were discussing among themselves how to get them out of the room. However, it seemed they were not as small of a minority opinion among the crowd as the organizers might want us to believe, because one of my son's Facebook friends was live-posting the event, and he overheard people discussing "controlled demolition" of the Trade Centers before the forum started.

A couple of MSM reports of the meeting can be found here and here. Overall, I thought is was a good exercise in American democracy -- people without a chance in hell of their worldview coming to fruition were able to vent their spleens to their elected representatives, and even learn a few things (like the questioner who thought that President Obama could sign a Health Care bill that passed the House but failed in the Senate). As Walt said in explaining why he came to the meeting, these people help pay his salary, so he should listen to them. I applaud Walt for going into the lion's den, and hope others will do the same.

Update 1059 23 Aug: Alan from IdaBlue was also there, and posted his report.

Update 1834 23 Aug: Jill Kuraitis of New West Boise has the best account of the evening I've seen so far. Bill H. from Free In Idaho has an excellent report from the right side of the Idaho political blogosphere. (I actually got a chance to meet Bill and his lovely wife after the event.)


Anonymous ninme said...

But did you tell him what WASU did?!

8/23/2009 10:24 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Had already sent him an E-mail, and his staffer said they're putting their top caseworker on it tomorrow.

8/23/2009 10:39 AM

Anonymous Sisyphus said...

Bubbles, did you have your USS Boise shirt on? I was going to tag you but by the end my back was giving out. Also did you pick up one of the racist videos the "truthers" were handing out? Seemed like aryan recruitment to me.

"While Walt clearly isn't in favor of the current health care bills being supported by the Democratic Party leadership, and prefers to use the market to solve the problems, he did say he sees the need for health care reform, particularly in the case of people with pre-existing conditions currently unable to get affordable insurance."--valid observation. But it sure doesn't jive with how he campaigned.

Points for courage? He seemed to be pandering to me. His defense was half hearted and he did nothing to correct the torrent of mis-information from which the audience seemed to suffer.

8/23/2009 11:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Using the market" to fix healthcare in the USA is a lot like driving tanker trucks filled with napalm and liquid oxygen into the heart of a forest fire in order to put it out.

Walt Minnicks sucks and I regret voting for him. Bill Sali would have voted the same way Walt does, only he'd have many more opportunities to be an embarassment to the conservatives.

8/23/2009 1:50 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Yes, that was me; I figured wearing my "USS Jimmy Carter" shirt would be unnecessarily provocative; I was trying to "fit in" somewhat so as not to make any news when I was trying to report it. I didn't pick up a video, but I can imagine what is on it.

8/23/2009 6:44 PM

Blogger jq5 said...

Joel, it is extremely biased and unfair to characterize those that are concerned about government spending and abuse of power in this manner: "executing poor people" and "they'd just shoot them down and everything would work out", frankly, I'm appalled. Your logical solution is anything but that, it's destroying the exception. You don't have to agree with them, but characterizing them as ignorant murderous plutocrats is way out of line.

It does not follow that U.S. Government aid is the only means of support (state/local community?); second, the historical precedent is that in times of extreme crisis, the government is invariably responsible for the majority of the killing (1918 Revolution, among others).

All this is completely ignoring the question of why are the people poor in the first place? Is it because they don't have jobs? Maybe the evil corporations could afford to hire more people and therefore pay their healthcare bills if we weren't taxing them so much?

"Using the market" is the best way to fix health care, if there is in fact something wrong with it. The free market made our health care system what it is today, the best in the world.

Government involvement fashioned after the European/Canadian model will result either in a bankrupt disaster or rationed health care. It is simply not possible to raise demand and lower costs without also increasing the supply or rationing. While it's nice to believe that health care professionals are working to fulfill their sense of altruism, don't be surprised when we start losing doctors (supply) to other markets, they have to pay off the student loans somehow.

The current health care "crisis" is a political fabrication, a hot button issue designed to foment class struggle, nothing more. Many of those without health care could afford it, but choose not to, they have other priorities, like cable TV and cell phones. Also, hospitals are required to care for anyone that shows up at the emergency room, free of charge, with no compensation. Who pays for this? The people that have insurance. Gee, I wonder why the prices are going up? So, the government presents the solution of universal health care to the problem that it created, the whole time blaming the "evil" insurance companies. It's truly pathetic.

8/23/2009 9:46 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Sorry, but that's the way they came across. The arguments of the people who got up to talk are the kind of thinking that most people get over in college dorm bull sessions -- freshman year, not senior. They seem to think that they are the only conceivable source of "revolution", forgetting that most (admittedly unsuccessful) violent revolutions throughout history have come from the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum. Western civilization has developed an implied "social contract" whereby the people are provided with some minimum amount of life-sustaining aid if needed, and in exchange they don't rampage and attempt to kill all the well-fed folks. These people forget this basic point in saying they don't want their money going to help anyone, which is basically the message they were putting out. These folks didn't strike me as the type who would be OK with their local or state taxes going to help others, as opposed to Federal.

I'm sure they think they'll be able to kill off any father who invades their home looking for food for his starving children in the event of social breakdown (remember, they don't like their money going to law enforcement, either), but if they only kill 90% of the home invaders, and 10% of the home invaders kill them, they're still dead. Throwing away the implied social contract because you don't like having to pay taxes is very short-sighted thinking, IMHO, and that seems to me to be the type of world the Tea Partiers are looking for.

8/23/2009 10:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's quite an insight you have Joel. You would have made an outstanding COMSUBRON and future Admiral.

8/23/2009 11:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The simplest solution to quieting raucous tea partiers would be to restore faith in our federal government.

Apropos the current healthcare controversy, a statistically significant, bipartisan block of senators and house members should immediately opt out of their FEHBP health coverage (their families included) and submit to the legislation they will ultimately enact for the rest of us. If enough do not volunteer, I propose citizens name such members of congress by random lottery!

When we have people that vote their salary increases and benefits saying (as my congressman did recently) their congressional pay ($176,000?), is really not very much, government has a credibility problem.

When our choices and rights are being diminished and our national sovereignty subordinated to the opinions of UN and EU member states, Americans have a right to be on guard for Washington tyranny and corruption. Although Obama is correct about Bush, I fail to see a significant positive difference.

If each of the 50 U.S. states had diplomatic powers, many would be as great or greater political forces than the sovereign states of Europe are given GDPs and population. No one should be fooled by lawyers in Congress suggesting otherwise. - Rex

8/23/2009 11:38 PM

Blogger phw said...

There is more to influence than population or economic might. Do you really think California-- on its own-- would have more world influence than Britain? Most states would have substantially less influence. What country in the world would pay any attention to Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Vermont, or even as populous a state as Ohio? I think we would lose influence under a model where each state has its own foreign powers.

8/24/2009 5:57 AM

Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

a statistically significant, bipartisan block of senators and house members should immediately opt out of their FEHBP health coverage (their families included) and submit to the legislation they will ultimately enact for the rest of us

Not. Good. Enough.

If it ain't good enough for Obama and his family, it ain't good enough for me and mine.

8/24/2009 10:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

phw, no one is proposing dissolution of the U.S. On the contrary, before this great country of ours cedes more of its constitutional sovereignty to aglomerations of lesser states (not regions without their own constitutions) U.S. citizens should be aware of the fallacy of numeration inherent in such folly:

Given their GDPs and populations, individual U.S. states often outrank foreign powers - even the likes of Germany. Add to equation the superbly trained and equipped state guards maintained by most states and the possibility of having diplomatic relations (not a suggestion now, mind you) and there is no equitable reason to subordinate the will of 50 U.S. states to a voting body comprised of socialist regimes and totalitarian governments simply because the U.S. is now counted as only 1 country instead of the 50 states we have always been.

"Do you really think California-- on its own-- would have more world influence than Britain?"

Answer: California would have the same number of votes in the U.N. as the U.K., and eventually sit on the Security Council.


8/24/2009 10:19 AM

Blogger phw said...



So in this model, you are thinking that each state should have its own representation in the UN, as a sovereign state. This would be done just like the European states. California could sit on the Security Council. What other states could get on the Security Council?

What's the cutoff point? What's to keep Canada from saying that each of its provinces should be independent?

8/24/2009 12:06 PM

Anonymous Binkyboy said...

Such enlightened commenters you have, Bubbs.

Any bets on when the first Death Panel ranter will leave a comment?

8/24/2009 1:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

phw, you gotta be careful about putting words in folks' mouths. I stated "could", not should, as even you should well know.

As to Canada, nothing, if her provinces are sovereign states with their own constitutions. The more democracies in the world, the better.

The larger question is what would prevent every warlord in Islamdom from demanding equal representation? Answer: Only what is preventing it now. - Rex

p.s. You are on your own with your little debates from now on, I'll be working on a bipartisan lottery with Vigilis.

8/24/2009 3:34 PM

Blogger phw said...

I have no idea why anyone outside of the US would want 50 US representatives to the UN. I'm not even sure why we would want to have 50 reps either. That's the point I am getting to.

Should, could, whatever. I don't mean to get you all nervy. I am trying to understand what you are about, that's all.

I enjoyed the conversation with you Rex.

8/24/2009 8:52 PM

Blogger Chap said...

This is the operating rule of the EU, which gets a representative at the table at many international bodies as well as every constituent state in the UN.

Death panel para got struck from the bill last week...and did you see that brochure from the VA?

8/24/2009 10:21 PM

Blogger phw said...

I could not imagine the individual EU countries giving up their diplomatic perks in order to confederate. The EU is kind of a strange duck-- I don't think anything like the EU has ever existed. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

8/25/2009 6:05 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

"...and did you see that brochure from the VA?"

You left out a word, chap:

"...and did you see that brochure from the BUSH VA?" The pamphlet was published in 2007.

Having been through a series of end-of-life issues in my family and having recently been involved professionally with strategic planning for one of the best hospice operations in the country, I can't help concluding that the 'deathers,' death-panel idiots, and other assorted bloviaters spouting blather on this subject have never been there, have never had to choose between all-out cost-no-object attempts to ward off the inevitable and a humane decision for death with dignity.

Cost issues aside, the choice between intensive/intrusive curative efforts and palliative care for a dying patient is wrenching. No one is well prepared for it. Intelligent, objective, professional discussions of the options are most welcome at such a time and indeed such provisions have been embedded in sound health care for a long time. I call those who would make politics of the subject genuine unmitigated jerks.

8/25/2009 7:46 AM

Blogger phw said...

RD, just went through that with my father-in-law. He was in a coma for 11 days after a cardiac arrest on the 6th. The staff at the Portsmouth (NH) Hospital gave us very objective information on what our choices were and what the likely outcome would be.

8/25/2009 9:34 AM

Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

RD don't disagree with anything you said here however I believe that document was later recinded by the Bush admin and reissued this year by the Obama admin.

8/25/2009 1:45 PM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Anon said (top)

"Using the market" to fix healthcare in the USA is a lot like driving tanker trucks filled with napalm and liquid oxygen into the heart of a forest fire in order to put it out.

I'd rather have a capitalist system in place than a Socialist one. I therefore say

"Using the government" to fix healthcare in the USA is a lot like driving tanker trucks filled with napalm and liquid oxygen into the heart of a forest fire in order to put it out.

The U.S. Postal Service is broke.

Social Security is broke.

Fannie Mae is broke.

Medicare and Medicaid - they're broke.

Freddie Mac is broke.

The TARP bill of 2009 shows NO sign of working.

So Obama wants Americans to believe he can be trusted to back a government-run health care system?

8/25/2009 2:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the military's medical system government run?

8/25/2009 2:08 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Jim Towey, the guy who's bleating about this VA document, is trying to sell his own version to the Feds. Stunning conflict of interest, though not surprised that the WSJ would ignore this on its editorial pages (Great newspaper on the journalism side, horrible ethics on the op-ed side).

Believe the VA document in question has had a long life in various forms.

8/25/2009 3:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The TARP bill of 2009 shows NO sign of working."

I think that needs to be backed up a little bit. The TARP program may be unpopular because it spent taxpayer money, but it is widely credited as preventing the collapse of numerous financial institutions and mitigating a major liquidity crisis. While unemployment continues to increase, expectations are that we will return to growth starting this quarter. I certainly agree that we haven't seen this whole thing play out, it seems like there are significant signs that it is working.

As far as medicare and medicaid being broke, the cost savings through requirements for evidence based medicine and health IT are supposed to help address that (unlike death panels, these are actually part of the bill).

That being said, I'm cool with privatizing the postal service...


8/25/2009 3:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As regards the TARP and whether or not we're out of the woods and now experiencing a 'return to growth' check out this chart of the Baltic Dry Index.

Any questions...?

8/25/2009 8:17 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

"Using the government" to fix healthcare in the USA is a lot like driving tanker trucks filled with napalm and liquid oxygen into the heart of a forest fire in order to put it out.

Red Adair, isn’t that kinda how they put out huge oil well fires?

8/25/2009 8:17 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/28/2009 11:31 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I still can't help but wonder if the great Health Care Debate of '09 is really about health care...

Why isn't anyone against public health insurance recommending the abolishment of medicare/medicaid? Certainly the "tea baggers" aren't.

8/28/2009 11:36 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

The movie on that website is an amazingly racist piece of tripe. How come the guy holding the sign (in the picture) doesn't have his tinfoil hat on?

8/28/2009 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Don't let WALT fool ya either...

HE is )))) DEMOCRAT (((( ...

Why is WALT involved with and supporting this corrupt regime both in the White House and congress? THE DEMS ! !

Walt needs to become at least an INDEPENDENT.

Walt makes NO effort to question why there are Marxist and real Communists in the White House and take a stand against this tyranny. He never questions the Constitutionality of anything going on there in DC.

))) Nancy PELOSI ((( as Speaker of the House. All House Dems voted YEH for her!!

Walt is actually part of the problem and offers NO real solutions. By NOT representing the vast number of conservative constituents in his district against this radical takeover of our REPUBLIC by the OBAMA-PELOSI-REED Left. ))))) WAKE UP SLEEPY WALT!!! We hear you snoring (((( "

9/07/2009 5:04 PM

Blogger phw said...

My gosh! It's Joe McCarthy! Where have you been all these years, and why do you post anonymously?

9/08/2009 9:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/09/2009 7:07 AM

Anonymous Ellen said...

Very useful piece of writing, much thanks for your post.

9/24/2012 3:25 AM


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