This is sampling of what my neighbors in Bremerton and the rest of Washington's Sixth District had to say to Rep. Norm Dicks at his town hall meeting tonight. Yes, I'm focusing almost exclusively on the incendiary remarks of a few. This is the narrative that dominated the evening. Although the room was split about 60/40 against health care reform -- seriously, any health care reform attached to Obama was getting booed out the door -- the contentious, sometimes hostile meeting was full of AM radio soundbites.
I'll have my photos and some audio clips from the evening up tomorrow morning. Promise. For now, here are a few of the outbursts, comments, and exchanges
Guy: What I am is a 70-year-old frustrated veteran who's sick and tired of a president going around the world and bad-mouthing the country I served ... We are stuck with a congress and an administration which believes it can stomp all over the U.S. Constitution and the free enterprise market (washed out by groans and cheers, and talk of czars) ... an administration more concerned with protecting terrorists than defending the actions of the CIA.
Dicks, a couple minutes later: ... 47 million uninsured ...
Random Guy Among the Shouting: "ILLEGAL ALIENS!!!" (We heard this several times.)
Some Guy: How many of these 47 million people that go to the emergency room for health care are actually U.S. citizens?
Crowd: Big cheers.
Dicks: "I would say about 95 percent."
Crowd: Massive Boooooos.
One random guy: Can I have those corroboration numbers?
Dicks: The president, when he ran, as president said he was going to let people stay with their insurance if they like it.
Crowd: Liar....Liar....Liar ....NOT TRUE!
One resident -- who, of course, talked over almost everyone she disagreed with when they were speaking -- during her turn at the mic: Wow, I thought we were supposed to respect each other.
Dicks: First of all, there are a lot of other countries ... that have a national health insurance program, and they are very satisfied with them.
Guy in the Background: And they suck!
Lady in the Background: They are not satisfied!
Other Guy in the Background: This is America!
A Woman: Hello, Sir, thank you, I think you are very brave to do this. I am a mother of eight. Five of my children are adopted -- praise the lord -- but my children are with me because they were not aborted.
Another Woman:How can you guarantee me that these 47 million (people) will take one dime out of their pocket and pay for health insurance when they will still be able to go to the emergency room and get it for free?
Random Guy: They're illegal aliens!
Guy Named Leroy: I wanna know what's your take of people bringing guns to this type of a forum. We've got a new black president and I'm concerned.
One Guy: It's a red herring. It's a distraction.
One Woman: People with guns would protect you.
Dicks: Well, Leroy, I would hope that we can have a civil discussion in this country and that people don't think they have to bring a gun to have a civil discussion.
Guy: We have two dynamic groups here tonight. Cap and Trade was rammed through. This is getting rammed through.
Dicks: I don't think anybody would say it's getting rammed through at this point.
Guy: It's still getting rammed through. You people need to slow down, read the bill, because I spent 20 years defending this country and you people are throwing it down the toilet with reckless spending, reckless congress, and you cannot tell me that 47 million people that are uninsured are U.S. citizens. That is a bald face lie.
Crowd: Medium cheers.
Dicks: Could you repeat your last comment? I didn't hear what you said.
Guy: The 47 million people that are uninsured. Most of them are not U.S. citizens.
Dicks: Oh, that's not true.
Guy: That is true. That is very true.
Dicks: We'll get you the numbers. They're American citizens. Period.
Guy: No they are not. And that is a lie.