Henry Waxman’s Townhall Sham

Several days ago I attended a sham of a townhall on healthcare put on by Henry Waxman.

As many of you know, I was accosted by Seth Horowitz, a member of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and manager at the Luxe Hotel.

Today will only briefly focus on the thug that is Mr. Horowitz. His behavior was disgusting, but it is important that the substance of Congressman Waxman’s remarks not be lost in the shuffle.

For those that have been supportive, and have deluged my inbox with well wishes, I thank you. For those that want to call or email the Luxe Hotel or Congressman Waxman’s office, I implore you to be polite.

I have only met Congressman Waxman twice, even though I have lived in his district since I arrived in Los Angeles in 1990. I met him in the mid-1990s at UCLA Hillel. He didn’t know my political views, and the two to three minute conversation was cordial. My brief conversation with him this past week was equally cordial.

I don’t hate Henry Waxman. I have no reason to hate him. I strongly disagree with him, but it is not personal.

Yet I do have a problem with his refusal to do real townhall events. Because he gets millions in money from Hollywood celebrities in the entertainment industry, he has no reason to be responsive to the rest of the voters. He has a safe seat. In 2008 he ran unopposed.

Adam Schiff held an outdoor townhall, and faced the music.

Henry Waxman held a private dinner at the Luxe Hotel with a $50 entry fee. People had to register in advance. It appears that somebody associated with the Congressman, and perhaps the Congressman himself, ran background checks on all attendees, with the goal of intimidating anyone at the event that would be considered a political agitator. This turned into anybody who was registered Republican, including myself, to be targeted for harassment.

(The investigation is pending it, and I will get to the truth.)

Questioners were allowed 30 seconds. After that, a woman sitting at my table would hold up a large sign letting the moderator know that time was up. The mdoerator would then instantly cut off the questioner. This prevented manifestos, but it also cut off legitimate questions as well.

The moderator called mostly on friendly questioners. He accidentally slipped and called one of them by her first name. Do you think he knew her? I think so. Liberal plants at this event, not so shocking.

Because I kept waving my hand, the moderator had no choice but to call on me after pretending not to see me the whole time.

Yet Henry Waxman’s main problem is what he says, not what others ask.

He began by pointing out that while he thought the world of Veteran Michigan Congressman John Dingell, it was time for a change of leadership in the energy committee. Waxman pointed out that Dingell had been in Congress for 50 years, and was 83 years old.

This was an astounding line of attack. He was saying that Dingell had been in Congress too long, and had lost touch. This is Henry Waxman in a nutshell. He has also been in Congress forever. While his tenure is less than that of Dingell, he has been around a very long time. It was almost insulting hear him try and justify why he wanted to control the energy committee. John Dingell was not an eviromaniac, being from Michigan and all.

While the townhall itself was supposed to be about healthcare, only about 1/3 of the event dealt with that. Energy and other issues were part of his speech. Yet many of the questions were about health care.

Congressman Waxman insisted on spending time discussing environmental issues, which is his right. He spoke about the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. He referred to it as a good example of a business and environmental partnership. I do not know enough about the program to comment either way.

He did point out that we are so dependent on foreign oil, but refuses to support oil drilling. Leftists point out that drilling will not solve all of the problems, but this is a phony argument. Conservatives are not saying that drilling is the only solution, but it should not be ruled out as one of several solutions.

An odd statement Congressman Waxman made was that as a California Congressman, he does not spend time being concerned that the “Midwest is crying over the job losses they had.”

He accused George W. Bush, as any liberal would. “For eight years he denied science and censored research.”

This has nothing to do with liberals refusing to support drilling.

He did address the important issue of unilateral disarmament with regards to cap and trade. Conservatives have a valid point when they say that if we adopt tough standards but China and India do not, then jobs will be lost to those nations. Congressman Waxman was correct when he pointed out that they can claim that they will not act until we act. With everybody waiting on everybody else, it becomes like “kindergarten.”

This argument is not baseless, but where it falls apart is at the original premise stage that doing nothing is worse than not taking the risk. As somebody who does not believe that the Earth is about to explode in a matter of milliseconds, I am fine with a cautious approach, and in this case, a do nothing approach. China and India feel the same way. There has been no evidence that any attempts to take the lead on such issues will lead to any support from out economic competitors.

He also came out in support of action with coal, but this is an example of Democrats talking without any concrete action to back up the words. The Democrats have the votes. Republicans would support them. It is laughable to think that Democrats support the coal industry.

“We can burn the coal, sequester the carbon, without damaging the environment. We have an abundance of natural resources.”

Fine. Offer a bill.

The speech then finally went into healthcare, where the obvious was touched upon.

“A lot of people are uneasy about government run health care such as a single payer system. They see big increases in taxes. It is not politically possible.”

“Insurance companies should take everyone without increasing prices.”

Has Henry Waxman ever run an insurance company? What he is suggesting is that a business become a charity. Businesses that do not make profits go out of business. Perhaps Congressman Waxman wants this. Insurance companies make fabulous bogeymen for people that never had their lives saved by a new drug that can only be researched and developed by a company with profits.

“Many people don’t want to get insurance. They are young and invincible.”

Well forcing them is not going to happen. It can’t. Not in America. Should they? Yes. Yet it is not the responsibility of the government to make people more socially responsible. Some will argue that these people eventually cost taxpayers money in emergency rooms, but that is a separate issue.

“46 to 50 million Americans are uninsured.”

Take out illegal aliens, and others that voluntarily refuse coverage, and the number drops precipitously. Now if people want to cover illegal aliens, then be honest about it. Let’s have the discussion. Trying to lie and inflate the figure only makes the opposition angrier because they feel they are being given a pack of lies.

“Deficits cannot be controlled without controlling health care costs.”

This is a true statement that masks that President Obama is causing skyrocketing deficits while hiding behind George W. Bush, who was a deficit hawk by comparison. Also, Until 2008, President Bush’s deficits were on expenditures that actually mattered, not social engineering.

(Liberals who like to cherry pick conservative blogs will us that quote to avoid dealing with the actual topic, which is Waxman. I threw this line in deliberately to provoke such dishonesty.)

Congressman Waxman then spoke about how awful it was to compare Obama to Hitler, without mentioning that the left compares every conservative to Hitler. All comparisons to Hitler are wrong.

“Rationing hasn’t happened under Medicare. I can’t imagine it will happen here either.”

Notice that he did not say it will not happen. Yes, rationing is a very real possibility. When one offers something free or at a reduced price, more people want it, and less of it exists. This is Economics 101.

Congressman then Waxman shifted blame form the House by pointing out that the Senate is what is slowing everything up. While it is true that the Senate, since its creation by the Founding Fathers, has been where legislation goes to die, this does not mean that the House has been productive on this issue.

“The Senate requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. The House wanted a bipartisan bill. Republicans don’t want any Obama bill.”

“We did not get bipartisanship on the stimulus bill. economists on the left and right supported it.”

Not true. Many clear thinking economists opposed it. We now know that the opposition was right.

“The stimulus bill is helping.”

Helping who? People who get paid to write legislation? At best it did not make things much worse.

“Arlen Specter left the Republican Party because he could not survive there any longer. Yet we still do not have 60 votes. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has threatened to block the bill. We lost Senator Kennedy. Senator Robert Byrd is very ill. He may not be able to vote.”

One very honest questioner wanted to know why Democrats don’t just ram the bill through using the reconciliation process. This would require only 51 votes, circumventing the filibuster.

“All of healthcare can’t be in the reconciliation bill. It would have to be done piecemeal in that case. Also, the GOP may retaliate against reconciliation.”

On this he is right. Play by the rules, are suffer the consequences when in the minority.

Another questioner wanted the Democrats to dare the GOP to filibuster. Congressman Waxman disagreed.

“Forcing a filibuster has been considered, but it is not the best alternative.”

Another honest answer came when somebody brought up the issue that Obama outsourced the bill to Nancy Pelosi. I have personally stated that President Obama seems detached from doing the tough tedious work. Congressman Waxman stated that “Congress would have ignored an Obama bill.” SImply put, Congressional prerogative trumps loyalty to any President, even one of the sma eparty. Robert Byrd took President Clinton to the Supreme Court and successfully had the federal line item veto declared unconstitutional. Congress is supposed to writw the bill.

I still see the President as disengaged, but the point is not without merit.

“President Obama is willing to be a one term president to get healthcare done.”

I don’t buy this. Let’s see how he is in 2011. Yes, he is made out to be a saint, but he really is just another politician. This is not an indictment, but the notion that any president is such a true believer that they would deliberately ram through an agenda knowing it could cost them their job is hard to swallow.

One questioner wanted to know if Congressman Waxman would subject himself to the plan he wanted to pass. He declined to say that he would. In fact, he brazenly implied that the plan under discussion was a replica modeled after the Congressional healthcare system. Therefore, he actually was subjecting himself to the same plan as his constituents. This claim would be laughable if it was not so upsetting. He simply lied.

Congressman Waxman was asked about excise taxes on food and beverages. He ducked the question by saying that “My committee is not involved with taxes. That is the Ways and Means Committee.”

His answer to a question about mandates was mind boggling in its brazenness.

“Their is a requirement that everybody gets insurance. That is not a mandate. It is ‘shared responsibility.’ There will be a small tax on those who refuse.”

Don Corleone, meet Henry Waxman.

(I guess that makes Seth Horowitz the adopted Consigliere.)

Congressman Waxman was asked if he would be holding more open townhalls where anybody could attend. He explained that his schedule was very busy, and that this might not be possible. He did state that he had already conducted several events, but they were all tightly scripted.

One sycophant stated that she was “so happy for everything the government has done for our business.”

(Perhaps she runs a brothel.)

My question for him used a trivial example, but was meant for a deeper and more serious point to be made. Also, given that Seth Horowitz was most likely nearby pounding his fists together like Rahm Emanuel, I did not want to take any chances.

“Congressman Waxman, my name is Eric. I am a Republican, but am moderate on some issues, so there is a chance for some common ground. My question deals with your desire to see everybody covered. Aren’t there people who maybe should not be covered, such as illegal aliens? What about Guantanamo Bay detainees relocated to America? Should they be given everything from healthcare coverage to gay marriage rights to everything else?

(the crowd laughed)

Congressman, in all seriousness, where do we draw the line?”

I give Congressman Waxman credit. He actually did answer the question. Whether or not he answered truthfully is a judgment call. He emphatically insisted that none of the proposed bills offered healthcare coverage for illegal aliens. He left no ambiguity. Illegal aliens would not be covered under the congressional plans. He did not use euphemisms such as “undocumented workers.” He used the same terminology I did.

He then at the end of his answer state that he had not heard of any proposal to give healthcare coverage or anything else to Gitmo detainees.

I wanted to leave illegal aliens out of it and just stick to Gitmo detainees, but if I did that, the question would not be serious.

After the event, I approached Congressman Waxman. His handlers were trying to get him out of the room as quickly as possible. He was surrounded by his handlers and security people. Yet he did turn around, and I let him know that I was absolutely not implying that he or anybody else in Congress supported healthcare for detainees. I was just using that as an extreme example to take the illegal alien issue one step further.

He asked me my name, and I told him. I also told him that while he was my political opponent, he was never my enemy. He was gracious about that. I told him that my father was a Holocaust survivor, and that if I saw anybody compare Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler (he mentioned signs at townhalls reflecting such language), I would condemn it. Again, he was appreciative. When I mentioned that it was also wrong for George W. Bush to be compared to Hitler, he did not respond. However, he was being pulled away at that point, so I cannot be certain he heard me.

All I know is that Congressman Waxman would be a lot better off if he held real, honest townhalls. His constituents would be as well.

The alternative is for him to stay isolated in a bubble. This does not serve democracy. It leads to paranoia, and results in ugly situations like the one I faced from Seth Horowitz.

Everybody deserves better.


4 Responses to “Henry Waxman’s Townhall Sham”

  1. Darn, I posted a whole long comment and it was lost… #$@!.


    Our good host knows darned well that oil is a globally traded comodity and that we could drill on ever last deposit in and around our whole nation and it would barely register a blip on the global oil market. I know most people are ignorant of the economics of oil, and this wghole “drill, baby, drill” thing is aimed at those people, but our good host knows better and he should be above that sort of pandering to ignorance.

    Our good host should also well know that “illegal aliens” are excluded from coverage – heck, LEGAL aliens can barely get anything from the gov’t today. I can’t believe you wasted your question on such nonsense.

    We already have rationing from the private system – much more so than from any gov’t program.

    There is no such a thing as “clean coal.”

    Conservatives really do want to be like “China and India.” Our good host pretty much came out and said so above. They want to turn this country into a Third World state. Of course we could unilaterally address our own pollution AND force China and India to go along, but it requires ending something conservatives love even though it’s killing America – Free Trade.

    Finally, our good host should also have at least some graps on American politics. Most of the recovery stimulus money is not going to be spent until next year because next year is an election year and because most economists and politicians know that it will do a lot of good.

    “Also, Until 2008, President Bush’s deficits were on expenditures that actually mattered, not social engineering.”

    OMG. THAT was funny! ROTFLMAO!!!


  2. Dav Lev says:

    As long as China and India refuse to go along with our (US) cap and trade, no matter what we untimately decide internally, will mean nothing
    to stop the erosion ( some disagree about the concept ) of our planet.
    Sure, we can spank China, and they can call in their loans to US AND stop selling to Wal-Mart/Target/Sears ( oh I can see the ladies screaming now).

    I understand that most (in the know scientifically) believe global
    warming is a reality.

    Personally, I believe in their analysis.

    Whether A. Gore uses too much electricity is begging the question in
    reality. It’s like the bail-out programs..some say the huge bonuses
    have compromised the billions given to banks, insurance companies, etc.

    I think it’s irrelevant. In fact, over one-third of NYCities budget comes
    from the taxes on these (sometimes high) salaries, and bonuses.

    Of course, the liberals WILL have an answer to that..just increase the taxes
    on those who make over 100,000 year to compensate for the lost revenue. I have a better idea..hows about increasing the capital loss
    tax to 10,000 year, from 3,000. Alls fair in love and war as the expression goes. Taxes should be progressive..also downward.

    Hows about taxing the gain on sales of real property, which in many case (see coops converted to condos) have gone up
    1,000% in just a few years. Then, lets do away with that awful benefit
    to home owners..the tax exemption on interest and property taxes.
    Heck, we renters don’t get such benefits, or a return of equity when we
    move out. WE renters did not create the sub-prime mortgage problem.
    In fact, we lost out on this one..with rentals now increased to accommdate
    the greater demand.

    Henry Waxman is a successful politician. He has exposure after all these years, and a constituency which believes the way he believes.

    That is the bottom line. Put him in one of the many CA Conservative districts
    and he would be laughed at. I ask, how long would he last?

    But this is what this country is all about….different views on just about
    everything. That’s why we don’t demonstrate in the streets ( a la Iran),
    but limit ourselves to innocuous managers of hotels where someone
    is speaking.

    We don’t arrest, torture and murder protestors…who in the main
    demonstrated peacefully and used the Internet to expose their views
    and events, as in Iran. We don’t fill ballot boxes as we have seen in
    Afghanistan. We don’t bomb polling places, and police and cadet
    stations as in Iraq.

    If Avi wants to run against Waxman, he can have similar
    meetings with his constituents, w/o a rough and tumble
    man at the door, checking identification. Let his views determine
    how people think and vote, whether they approve or disaprove.
    In the age of the Internet, there should be restrictions to him.

    It’s the issues that count, friends…Henry Waxman is not
    exactly a storm trooper. But he is a very, very powerful
    Congressman, eloquent, bright, and gets the (his) job done.

    Once, a businessman told me that Waxman’s pro-Israel stance
    is appropriate in his district..that no other candidate can best him.

    I disagreed. Heck, I could run and be MORE pro-Israel.
    I would be against a two state solution, against the right of return,
    against dividing East Jerusalem, giving control of the water and air
    to the Palis..I would favor adding Israel to NATO. (That would
    stop Iran).

    I would not stop Israel from bombing Iran’s 30 nukes sites ASAP.
    I would have Israeli commandos link up with some of the millions
    of Iranians who protested, looking to the US for support, and finding
    Obamamania lies instead.

    I would beef up our forces in the Med., Persian Gulf, and friendly
    Arab-Muslim states. I would end our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and not use drones in Pakistan. My dear friends, there are 180m people in Pakistan..get it, 180m. They placed 1m troops on the border with India.
    They have over 40 nuclear weapons.

    Folks, I believe these wars have no exit strategy.

    Waxman was against the war…I was for getting rid of Saddam
    but going no further. Waxman, Boxer, Feinstein, and Berman
    are liberals..they are all targetted by Al Qaeda, as are the “Infidels”.

    Cleaning up coal requires vast expenditures, per the LA Times
    article recently. While true that we could not mine enouch oil to make
    a difference, that doesn’t say anything about more nuclear plants..and
    filling up our domestic reserves.

    I ask, who is to blame for our current domestic (and foreign) problems?
    Is it Bush (out of office since Nov 2008) or Obama?

    The last 2 years in office, the Democrats prevailed. The Democrats
    voted for 6 years to continue (finance) the war. Soooo, for over 2yrs and 10 months, we have essentially had a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President. I mean, how long are we going to blame

    Dick Cheney told FOX news that he tried to convince his boss to
    bomb Iran’s nuke sites. He wasn’t successful.

    This has created lots of laughing on late night TV shows..with one
    host saying..should we have bombed..( gave names of small, powerless and non-controversial countries).

    Folks, Iran is NOT Micronesia, or Finland. It has 5m men and women
    under arms, makes it’s own tanks and bombers, has a huge fleet
    of missile boats, and has hundreds of thosuand of elite (Revolutionary
    Guards). It has hundreds of Shihab missiles loaded with bacteria and
    chemicals..soon with nuke warheads.

    Micronesia hasn’t threated to wipe Israel off the planet, called
    the Holocaust a lie, and fiananced, supported and equipped Hamas, Hezbollah and it’s friends in Iraq (to kill our boys).

    Cheney, as in his approach towards waterboarding ( a mere college
    type fraternity prank) was RIGHT. At the university, I saw worse
    antics directly against new frat members.. like hitting them with
    baseball bats.

    One former CIA agent (an author now) says in response to a question
    about Cheney’s remark concerning terrorism after 911, ” and we have not been struck by a meteor either”. Yeah, but what about all those comets.

    Folks, that CIA agent says torture is torture and illegal.

    Blowing up LAX and numerous other buildings is also illegal.

  3. summa04 says:

    Hoyers Town Hall 9/1/09: We were kept waiting in line and not allowed to hold our signs..altho O’s peeps passed out flyers and sticker badges. We were not allowed to take our small American Flags in “ona stieeeck” (reference to Jeff Dunham Jalapeno on a stick ok ok bad I know but I am lmao)…so we tore them from the stieeeck and wore them on our shirts. How nice small bottles of water were passed around, never mind the “pee pee dance!” The crowd was a cross section of Americans and sure there were “purple” shirts, but they did the dance as well. What I saw were concerned citizens out to show democracy at work.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hoyer was late (ugh) 7:15 and so the show began. A doctor from his hush hush private closed door session at Calvert Memorial Hospital was his “main squeeze” and so called crowd “handler.” Rules, rules…pay attention people.” However…many in the crowd had things that needed saying and often blurted it straight out. Hoyer had four, cough, citizens from various walks of life: a small business woman, a doctor, some man I really don’t understand what he was doing there or talking about and an ex military man that was “right on” in his short discourse. All the while these four attempted their rhetoric, blah, blah and the crowd shouted, “Questions, questions” as they held their tickets up. It was then 8 p.m. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Tickets were available for those that sought to ask a question and randomly selected. Each person was given two minutes (way more than grrrr Waxman, sorry bout your luck Eric). This was my first Town Hall and I was pumped and had to keep pulling my hand down in my exhuberance to participate (alas, my number wasn’t called). Oh, sure, I growled and stood up many times. What I discovered is Hoyer almost to a “t” expounds the so-called myths as truths. Huh?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ”One very honest questioner wanted to know why Democrats don’t just ram the bill through using the reconciliation process. This would require only 51 votes, circumventing the filibuster.” Hoyer said he would! When he was asked about the abortion inclusion..he stated it wasn’t in the bill. (liar, it is cloaked under Planned Parenthood and Senator Mikulski collaborated that fact.) He was asked if he would accept as his insurance plan this federally mandated health bill and he skirted the answer, but that is no surprise, now is it? The man stood in front of his constituents and lied. His monetary figures were off as well in regard to costs, etc and he was asked numerous times, “Who pays? Where does the money come from?” He again skirted the questions. Drops to my knees and begs for one Congressman to stand up and talk the “nitty gritty” honestly. Ugh, who am I kidding?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The meeting was lively and I loved it! The group I attended with was quite verbal and even solicited a racist comment or two. I laughed thinking, “I bet they haven’t READ the bill de jour.” Sure it’s filled with lawyereese, but the generalities are there and it all comes down to government mandated health care that forces each and every one of us into the plan all the while treading/illiciting on/our personal and financial privacy. Stay out of my life big government. After you recompute the statistics of those uninsured..um, comes down to approximately 5 million…and whom do you think they be? Kick em out, be done with it…amen…God Bless the USA!~~~~~~~~~~~ P.S I think I expected more from Hoyer, but…I should have known…sigh

  4. parrothead says:

    I suspect while the Democrats are not lying these “myths” they are also not telling the whole truth. I will use illegal alein coverage as an example. They always say there is nothing in the bill which provides health care for illegal aliens and I suspect that is true. My question is whether or not there is anything in the bill which PRECLUDES it. As anybody who has followed legislation knows there is a difference between what bills actually say and the instructions that implement them at the agency level. Furthermore, as people in California have experienced on many issues, just because a law does preclude such things,(like proposition 209 did with funding several services fo rillegal aliens) that doesn’t mean that the courts will not overturn it using the 14th amendment as a justification.

    So Republicans are not lying about wha tis in the legislation they are analyzing the likely unintended consequences of the bill.

    On a personal side note with regard to Congressman Waxman, while I have never spoken with him, I was in the same elementary school and hebrew school class with his daughter Carole from 3rd grade through 5th grade in Sacramento.

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