Rep. Dan Maffei’s “Congressman on your Corner” meeting this afternoon was trying, extremely trying. A good sized crowd was waiting for him in the library at 10:30 AM. It was a bit difficult to estimate the size of the crowd because we were all in different aisles. We were told we needed an appointment to meet him and ask questions, but later a staffer told us if we came back at 12:30 he would meet with all of us in a larger room. Then someone from the library got out a roll of tape and taped a line on the floor, presumably to make a place for those with appointments to wait. It was very odd.
There was no “angry mob” and the only people that seemed to be organized were those on the side of government run health care. They had printed signs with the Obama logo at the top, and the name and website of whatever organization sent them out at the bottom. (I have video on my camcorder, but I’m technologically challenged. Once I figure out how to upload it onto my computer I will cut and past clips of those signs.) I heard people mention Organizing for America and MoveOn. People were civil and we went off in groups before returning for the 12:30 meeting. I will say, at least Maffei agreed to meet with all of us, even though he didn’t come in to the meeting room until 1:00. While we waited we were told we weren’t allowed to have signs and lectured on how good girls and boys should behave at town hall meetings.
News10Now was there covering the event, but as of this writing there is no video available on their website. Many of us felt Maffei was very condescending. One person asked him a question he apparently didn’t like and he said “I’m not here to take quizzes.” He then instructed his staffer to call on someone else. (If I can find that video I will post it later.) During one of the first questions Maffei turned and started whispering to a staffer while his constituent was talking. He also avoided giving direct answers to questions. He did say he would be happy to enroll his family in a public plan, but he failed to mention that amendments requiring members of Congress to do so were voted down by democrats in committees in both the Senate and the House. So much for honesty.
For most of the meeting Maffei remained seated until someone had the nerve to ask him if he’s read the health care bill in its entirety. He got out of his chair and started wagging his finger at us, saying he was insulted. He went on to explain to the unwashed masses the history of massive legislation and how very complicated is, which is why we have people like him to represent us. After we left, a friend of mine said she needed to go home and take a shower.
Here’s a clip of Maffei wagging his finger, waiving his arms in the air and lecturing the little people on how we need him. Blech!
Update: Here’s the link to the story at News 10 Now. They did not show Rep. Maffei wagging his finger at the little people. TLC reader Beverly was in the spotlight! Great job, Beverly! Joanne, who coordinated the first Tea Party in Syracuse, also had a chance to speak.
John posted a photo of the staff taping a line on the floor at Red White and Blue in the Face. That was just bizarre. It also reminded me – people were wondering how those who can’t even hold a town hall meeting can possibly believe they can run our health care system! Later, Maffei answered that when he said they have “experts.” Ha!
I also failed to tell you about the woman who was vehemently against being videotaped, even inadvertantly. She really made a big deal about it. So we all agreed to keep our cameras pointed at Dan Maffei. There was discussion about how only the press can videotape without permission. Later, one of Maffei’s staffers started filming the group from the front of the room. When someone quietly pointed out that she should put the her video camera away a young security guard told her ”she works for the senator.” I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be taped by an average citizen than someone in government.
Maffei was also asked about lobbyists and he said he is all for campaign finance reform and bragged about meeting with Sam Waterston. He didn’t mention the warning he received from Kossaks. (Via New Conservative Generation) Note to Daily Kos – he doesn’t represent you! He represents the people of the 25th Congressional District of NY. We were there to remind him of that.
Comments I received via e-mail:
From Andy – News 10 also threw in a little dig about how “tempers flared early on” too. Gotta love the press.
From Rich – A very bad combination of arrogance and ignorance from Maffei.
Update: If you follow the link to the News 10 video, you can see the signs of the real “AstroTurfers”.