Last week, Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson – of “Tea Party strapping explosives to the Capitol” fame – continued the status quo’s attempts to undermine the Tea Party in 2013. Despite twisting herself into knots, Carlson mostly made herself look very foolish as she “examined” a town hall by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). The town hall in question can be viewed in full here.
Carlson didn’t waste any time patronizing Senator Coburn’s constituents:
Town halls have turned into cauldrons of activism almost guaranteed to drive a member of Congress crazy. Happy people don’t spend their summer evenings in drab rooms under fluorescent lights with sketchy air conditioning. The people who come don’t want to be calmed. They want to be heard, no matter how wrong they might be. You correct them at your peril.
Hear that, Tea Partiers? Regular people engaging in public discourse with their representatives are unhappy people who don’t want to be calmed. And to those in attendance at the Coburn town hall, the Senator was schmoozing to you when he said on several occasions that he disagrees with tying Obamacare defunding to the Continuing Resolution.
Carlson’s next point claims “a constituent made [Coburn] do it,” “it” being defined as the Senator claiming President Obama is “perilously close to impeachment.” She says “Senators…aren’t in the business of offending voters.” Again, it appears Carlson didn’t watch the entire town hall, since the Senator spent many minutes in tense disagreement with attendees. Despite this, he received a standing ovation as the town hall ended.
As a side note, if Senators weren’t in the business of offending voters, Obamacare would never have become law. The majority of Americans have opposed Obamacare since when it was still a bloated bill, and opposition has only increased since it was signed into law. Senator Coburn has refused to sign Senator Lee’s letter, which is a pledge to vote against funding Obamacare. If Coburn’s primary goal is to avoid offending constituents, he would have signed the letter long ago.
Midway through the column, Carlson decries the fact that elected officials in Washington “have to prove [themselves] constantly.” Carlson is showing her Beltway colors here. Anyone who has a problem with public servants earning the trust of those they represent is more out of touch with voting Americans than they think.
Oddly, Carlson undercuts her own argument about not “offending voters” when she notes Senator Coburn said the following:
He also said that the move by conservatives to shut down the government was “childish” and that Republicans shouldn’t blame everything they don’t like about government on Obama.
“There were uncontrolled bureaucracies under Bush, too,” he said.
And, again, Senator Coburn received a standing ovation from people he spent a great deal of time disagreeing with.
Next up, it’s an inaccuracy and an appeal to emotion from Carlson:
Although the atmosphere at town halls this August is still decidedly anti-Obama, it’s not as vicious as in previous years, especially the period right after the Affordable Care Act was passed. To see Obama Derangement Syndrome in full flower, revisit Romulus, Michigan, in August 2009, when the oldest serving member of Congress, John Dingell, frail and on crutches, was confronted by a raw and angry crowd that never quieted down.
First, the health care law passed in March 2010. August 2009’s town halls took place over six months prior to the law’s passage. Second, it doesn’t matter how “frail” a Congressman is. If he is voting against the will of his constituents, they have a right to express their will to him in no uncertain terms. If an elected official cannot uphold his or her duties, he or she ought to retire.
Carlson also misrepresents the Tea Party’s core views on personal responsibility while misleading on Obamacare:
It helps that the 2,700-page health-care bill delivered in the dead of night, as it’s often referred to, hasn’t killed anyone yet.
Of course the law “hasn’t killed anyone yet.” Unlike Carlson, The Tea Party is trying to make sure it never does. It hasn’t been fully implemented, and won’t be for some time.
Carlson may have thought she was offering an enlightened perspective on American town hall politics. Instead, she showed how desperate the establishment media is to impugn the character of grassroots America.
Stay classy, Bloomberg.