I went down to UC this morning to get crack at asking one of our elected official a question or two. I knew it was long odds since his chief PR flack Megan had denied me a media pass and the government union workers were showing up an hour ahead of time to get the choice seats. But hey, I had some time to kill. I expected a dog and pony show and wasn’t disappointed except it was lots of dog and very little pony.
The Government takeover supporters who got the Obama newsletter and marching orders from their union halls (I wonder if any of them were on the clock while there?) got most of the front seating. Another 150 or so seats were taken up by High School kids who were bused in and sat in reserved sections- also near the front. Still, the show wasn’t a sellout. I am sure a lot of conservative thought, and rightly so, that they would be largely ignored and what’s the point in that.
At just about 10:30 the trained dogs and one trick ponies were led out to their appointed chairs and the Dean of the Law School welcomed the ringmaster to the mic. The Senator’s “round table” wasn’t very well rounded. It lacked any intellectual diversity and was politically one sided as I predicted it would be. It was filled with tales of woe and sadness over medical mistakes and exclusion from being insured. As if the government plan will never neglect or not give best treatment to someone, if you’re buying that fantasy best of luck. It also included the CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital who got so boring and long that the union guys and Brown supporters were yelling at him to wrap it up. It took up the bulk of the 11/2 hours allotted.
Three things that stuck with me from the fifty minutes or so of “panel discussion.” Maybe the Senator and I just don’t read the same dictionary; there was a panel but not much discussion. Second, was a woman who had tragically lost her brother calling for insurance to be a giant non-profit. I can’t quote her exactly and I wasn’t recording the session but she said something to the effect that no one should be allowed to make money off of the illness of others. I am sure she meant insurance companies but maybe she meant doctors and nurses too, which would be even scarier. Senator Brown continued to demonize the insurance companies by noting that the CEO of Aetna made 24 million last year. Which begs the question; Senator, what is the proper salary for the head of a Fortune 500 company? What about doctors, should we limit their salaries too? What about baseball players and bus drivers? What about your wife the writer, how much should she make, when is it too much and who decides?
After the panel discussion it was time for the Q and A. Before the start of the meeting we were told to put our names on a card I we wanted to be called up to ask a question. Being the helpful sort of guy I am I collected cards from the row where I was seated. The gentleman next to me, a grey bearded guy wearing khakis and a blue button down did not hand me a card. When the first five names were called out he made his way to the mic. Of course he had a tale of woe about not being able to get insurance and Senator Brown rolled into one of his stock bits about people who played by the rules but are now on the outside. A set-up, who’s to say?
In all, four dissenting voices got to ask questions which took up all less than ten total minutes from this open public forum. Senator Brown you are a gutless coward! I repeat my challenge to you to come to Butler County and I will organize a real open discussion and public forum and all you’ll have to do is sit and listen.