Neal(D) & McGovern (D) booed at Town Hall Obama Health Care Meeting in Worcester, MA - photo: Worcester Telegram Gazette
Yesterday, James McGovern, Representing the Massachusetts 3rd District and Richard Neal, (Hampden 2nd) attempted to sell the administration’s health care program to individuals attending a town hall meeting at the University of Massachusetts campus in Worcester – it did not go well. The Worcester Telegram and Gazette’sarticle (here) , describes a “packed town hall meeting” where Neal and McGovern were met by a hostile crowd.
Town hall meetings are being held across the nation in a last-ditch attempt to sell the government run health care program, and one would expect, that those held in a blue state such as Massachusetts would be an easier sell. What one has to understand is that Massachusetts already has a health care system in place, similar to the one proposed by the Obama administration. That system has run consistently over budget, and has almost bankrupted the state – This program and the beleaguered turnpike authority caused a significant (25%) rise in taxes and fees that went into effect August 1st. Massachusetts residents have “seen the future” and they aren’t buying.
Richard Neal is facing opposition in the Massachusetts 2nd district – Republican Dr. Jay Flietman of Northampton. Neal is normally considered “safe” by pundits during election years simply because he runs unopposed – 2010 may be the turning point. Neal was an early Obama supporter in the 2008 primaries, although his constituents overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton. Flietman is more than qualified to give Neal a run for his money in 2nd district, which includes Hampden, Hampshire and parts of Worcester country. To Learn more about Dr. Fleitman visit his website www.jayfleitman.com.
Neal, not necessarily grounded in reality – gave a recent interview to WWLP (below) insisting that the Stimulus was working and the economy had improved. These types of statements make it difficult to sell a program that the majority of American’s see as both government intrusion into private life as well as an additional tax burden.
Those who live in the 5th District will have an opportunity to attend a town hall meeting by Rep. Nicki Tsongas (D-MA) who will be holding an Obama Health Care forum on Saturday. Taking a page from John Kerry’s last campaign – Tsongas is holding “Congress in Your Corner” meetings (staff in attendance) in the following locations: Chelmsford, (August 8), Hudson (August 11) and Lawrence (August 18) – the full schedule is available at her website here. It is extremely likely that Ms. Tsongas will face stiff opposition at those meetings.
If Obama cannot sell his plan in Massachusetts, (to the residents), (One must discount those members of Congress in Massachusetts who are normally politically “safe” and feel “their constituents may not know what’s good for them” – a-la Andrea Mitchell (see video below) – and will, in all likelihood vote for any bill along partisan lines (proven records on all three mentioned here), how then, can he sell it nationwide, where Democrats do not always enjoy the “safety-net” provided by the Blue State (which, incidentally may change in 2010).