It's August, and lawmakers are back in their home states talking to constituents. Liberals and conservatives alike will show up to town-hall meetings and other events to question their elected officials--sometimes loudly--about health care and the rest of Washington's business, as lawmakers make the case for their own agenda. When passions run high, debate can be spirited. We'll be watching.
Sen. Arlen Specter, the first Democrat to experience a YouTubed town-hall outburst this month, had another confrontation with a health care opponent. A loud man is about to be led from the room when Specter calls off a police officer and lets the man speak.
The man proceeds to rail against Specter for allegedly not letting anyone speak at the meeting, accusing Specter of taking lobbyist money and generally being corrupt. Here's a transcript of what the man said:
I'm gonna speak my mind before I leave, because your people told me I could. I called your office, and I was told I could have the mic to speak, and then I was lied to because I came prepared to speak [the man holds up a piece of paper], and instead you wouldn't let anybody speak. You handed out, what, 30 cards? Well I got news for you, that you and your cronies in the government do this kind of stuff all the time [applause] well I don't care [more applause, Specter waves hand] I don't care how damn crooked you are, I'm not a lobbyist with all kinda money to stuff in your pocket so that you can cheat the citizens of this country, so I'll leave, and you can do whatever the hell you're pleased to do. One day God's gonna stand before you and he's gonna judge you and the rest of your damned cronies up on the Hill, and then you'll get your just desserts. I'm leaving.
The man walks out, and Specter says: "Okay, okay, we've just had a demonstration of democracy, okay?"