Health care debate in Va. Dem district
...Jillian Bandes has more on the raucous meeting as well as the attempts of Democrats to silence opposition. It must be hard for Dean and Moran to hear people who do not agree with them. They are used to controlling the debate. One thing is clear though. These men are determine to push forward with rationed health care regardless of the wishes of the voters. We may have to wait until 2010 to get theri attention.
Tuesday's town hall at South Lakes High School in Reston, 35 miles west of Washington, was explosive before it even began. Thirty minutes before Mr. Dean and the local congressman arrived, hundreds of people on one side of the gym began chanting: "We can't afford it!" Hundreds more on opposite bleachers began their own chant: "Yes, we can!" deploying Mr. Obama's campaign slogan.
"No, we can't! No, we can't!" people chanted back from the first side of the bleachers.
The feisty town hall came on a day when the Obama administration announced the federal government's deficit will be $9 trillion over 10 years - $2 trillion higher than previously announced. Mr. Obama made no comment on the change; he was vacationing in a $20 million house in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
As the president sat down to dinner at the Sweet Life restaurant after a round of golf, more than 2,000 residents of Virginia's 8th Congressional D istrict crowded the gym, appearing almost equally split over the reform proposal. One man held up a sign that said: "Obama lies, grandma dies"; another held aloft one that said simply: "Thank you." The latter sign bore the Organizing for America Web site address.
"This is going to be a fun night," said Rep. James P. Moran, a former boxer. "A long night," Mr. Dean muttered.
Mr. Moran sought to explain the legislation now under consideration, but was booed repeatedly. "No one will lose their health care," he said before being drowned out by boos. "No one will be required to join the public option," he said, breaking off as the crowd's booing reached a crescendo.
"Liar!" someone shouted. "Shut up!" others yelled.
When he tried to explain the cost - at least $100 billion a year, some estimates say twice that - Mr. Moran declared "that cost is fully paid for."
The crowd burst out into loud laughter, again drowning out the congressman.
"Nine trillion debt!" one man yelled.