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Recess Rally report

Posted by Richard on August 22, 2009

Today was Nationwide Recess Rally Day, with opponents of government-controlled health care demonstrating at local congressional offices all across the country. So I headed over to Rep. Dianne DeGette's office at 600 Grant St., along with Jed Baer (who I'm sure will resurrect his blog Real Soon Now). We got there a little before the noon start of the event, and there were already about a dozen people there, including David Aitken (who's been silent for too long himself).

The DeGette office event was not a big deal (no media coverage). The main event apparently was something up in Thornton (a northern suburb) featuring Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis. It was advertised by their offices as a "fair housing" event, but the Obama machine emailed supporters to show up in support of government-controlled health care. So of course, the pro-freedom movement got wind of that and urged their supporters to show up as well. Hear Us Now has a nice report of both events, noting this about the Thornton gathering (emphasis added): 

While we were very similar in number, 300 or so to each side of the issue, the way we got there was much different.

The majority of you came because of emails sent by Hear Us Now, sent by other groups, sent by individuals and by word of mouth. While they arrived mostly because of one email sent by Organize for America, the Barack Obama political machine.

The majority of you carried hand made signs and spoke based upon the facts which you have learned about health care by familiarizing yourselves with HR 3200. They carried mostly signs supplied by OFA and they spoke in OFA talking points.

The conversations I had were very frustrating as those I spoke to were frighteningly uninformed and could only repeat the same three to four points. Nearly every person I spoke to who was in favor of nationalizing health care spoke the very same words to me that the previous person had spoken to me.

At about 10:00 the crowd was spilt in half by the police and an area was cleared for Jared Polis to come speak to us. He spent about 15 min and took five to six questions.

Ed Perlmutter had previously beat a hasty retreat and was no where to be found.

So, to the credit of Mr. Polis he at least took the time to address the crowd, took questions from both sides of the issue and was honest in stating that he does support the government option.

Down in Denver, we had a nice, pleasant rally, with no crazies around on either side. The pro-freedom folks were a cheerful, friendly bunch. There were two or three pro-Obamacare people amongst us from the beginning, and I had a very nice long conversation with one of them.

This gentleman was curious about my sign, "Hands Off My HSA" (homemade, of course). He has an HSA himself and wondered why I thought it was in danger. I informed him that under H.R. 3200 (the House bill), HSA plans would be outlawed. He seemed skeptical. I asked if he'd read any of the bill. Of course, he hadn't. He'd only heard the "scare stories" of the opponents and the "refutations" of those. He admitted that he really didn't know the facts, he was just more inclined to believe what the side to which he was sympathetic was saying. 

I told him I'd read or skimmed about 2/3 of the 1018 pages and was familiar with its restrictions on health insurance plans. The bill describes in meticulous detail the four insurance plans, from Basic to Premium Plus, that could be offered as "qualified plans" (and everyone has to have a "qualified plan") — coverage, co-pays, out-of-pocket limits, etc. None of them would permit any kind of HSA plan. He seemed surprised, but not entirely sure I could be believed. 

We discussed some other issues in a very amiable and productive manner, with me admitting that HSAs don't solve the problem of the $8/hr. worker, and him admitting that it's cynical of the left to suddenly proclaim that they want "choice and competition." I think I scored some points with my arguments for a nationwide insurance market and tax deductibility of individual insurance premiums. All in all, a very nice discussion. I certainly didn't convert him to my point of view, but I gave him some things to think about and disabused him of the notion that anyone opposed to Obamacare must be an ignorant yahoo. 

A bit later, someone who had the air of "community organizer" about him arrived with a van-load of pro-Obama people, all equipped with professionally-printed signs. As he was shepherding them into our midst, he was also texting something back to Central Command or whatever on his Blackberry. At that point, I became the most obnoxious guy at the rally, taunting him with things like, "Are you guys from ACORN? Are the union goons on the way?" Some others picked up on my smack-talk, yelling "Astroturf! Astroturf!" He and his minions (hirelings? acolytes?) soon retreated to the other side of 6th Avenue (a major arterial). 

Once again, the difference in the signs struck me (and clearly put the lie to the left's claim that we're the astroturf side). All the signs on our side were either hand-lettered (like mine) or printed on someone's inkjet printer. There were a couple or three hand-made signs on the other side (including the gentleman I talked with), but the rest all had the same signs right from the commercial print shop.

My favorite sign read "Bureaucracy – the sodium silicate of the economy." The women carrying it said sheepishly, "it's a bit Dennis Milleresque," and I said that yes, it was, but that was a good thing.

I estimated our crowd at 40-50. Hear Us Now claims an actual count of 52. I estimated the l'Obamatized contingent at 10-12, and Hear Us Now counted 10.

Throughout the 90 minutes or so that we were there, passing cars honked and waved at us frequently and enthusiastically. Of course, there was also the occasional thumbs-down. All in all, it was a fun time, and I was quite pleased by how well-received we were by passers-by.

I can't wait until the big 9-12 Rally at the state capitol (and in Washington, and in many other locations across the country).

Hear Us Now has a photo page. They're mostly from Thornton, but a few are from Denver. Here are the two you need to see. I'm in the yellow Gadsden flag t-shirt, Jed has the huge beard and TRT t-shirt, and David is the one in the silly hat signing a letter to DeGette (first picture). Click the pictures to see larger versions.

Richard, Jed, and David at Recess Rally   Richard, Jed, and others at Recess Rally

So, was DeGette there, you're wondering. On a Saturday? In her office working? You must be kidding. Besides, she'd already done here "health care forum." It was a phone forum. With everyone muted, and a moderator controlling who could speak. "You will listen to me, and speak only when spoken to."

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3 Responses to “Recess Rally report”

  1. Hathor said

    Is it that you think grassroots has to be homemade? Most protest movements never attain anything if they are not organized, and yes that can include printed signs. Kinko’s is not that expensive.

    BTW your sign does not look too shoddy. You have a draftsman hand.

  2. rgcombs said

    The difference in signs is significant because Obama and the Democrats have argued repeatedly that the opposition to government-run health care isn’t really grassroots, it’s “astroturf” — that we’re all shills of the insurance companies, organized from the top down and given marching orders. The signs are strong evidence that that’s false.

    If we were shills of the insurance companies or other well-funded industry lobbies, then ”’we’d”’ be the ones with the four-color printed signs.

    The difference between our signs and theirs suggests that their astroturf accusation is not just the pot calling the kettle black — it’s the pot calling the ”’glassware”’ black!

  3. Hathor said

    And people looking at those signs will get all that?

    Perhaps I’m too old, but I think one’s protesting by whats on their signs, not how well they are made, unless it looks like a five year old, then I totally dismiss it.

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