…was the best sign that I saw at Congressmember Adam Schiff’s health care town hall this evening in Alhambra, California. (Northeast of Los Angeles, a lovely suburb, but not as lovely as its namesake). I’d say that there were about 1,000 people there. A few random thoughts:
1. There are more of us, but they yell louder.
2. Josh’s correspondent is right: Schiff’s strategy of making it a panel discussion took the air out a little.
3. The antis all gathered together, and had their screaming points in order, but did not appear to me to be apparatchiks — anything but. Instead, it reminded me of a John Birch Society meeting. These are people who genuinely believe that health care reform means a fascist, or Nazi, or Communist, takeover of the country. And you would, too — if your only news source for the last 10 years was Fox, Limbaugh, Mike Savage etc.
4. One of their talking points is that on “Page 16” of the bill “states that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the government option.” That, of course, is not true, and when one questioner alleged that it was, Schiff very nicely but firmly said that it was not true “and I have read the bill.”
I was standing next to the group, and said that this talking point was garbage. So one woman said, “Read the bill!” I responded, “I have! It’s not in there!” And then I said, “Show me where it says that.” And all she could say was “page 16” because that’s what their talking points say.
So I think that this could be a helpful strategy for future town halls. Bring copies of the House bill with you. When the crazies make an accusation about the bill, give them the bill, and say, “show me where it says that.” They won’t be able to. It won’t convince them, but it might shut them up for a while.