Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) held a health care town hall at the Fredericksburg Expo Center last night, which was heavily attended. Mrs. Pool Bar and I went, and I had a few questions I was prepared to ask, but alas, never got the chance. Numbers were handed out on request on the way in, and then randomly drawn during the event. Unfortunately, my luck was about as good as it is with any other kind of raffle, but I thought it was about as fair a way of selecting questions as could be asked for.
I would guess the anti-Obamacare crowd at about 65-70% of attendees. Not too surprising in this part of the state, even factoring in the oh-so-blue city of Fredericksburg.
My wife and I were seated next to a gentleman who was decidedly pro-healthcare reform. After we cheered an anti-Obamacare sign, he joked "I feel like I'm at the Alamo." He was a good-natured guy, and we chatted with him throughout much of the event, and I think that atmosphere was also reflected throughout much of the rest of the event. I saw no bickering among individuals from opposing sides, which may be attributable to the fact that...
The MoveOn.org and SEIU contingents were notably absent from this event. There was some pro-healthcare reform group or another handing out pro-reform signs to any takers on the way in, but I'm not sure what group they were with. In any event, this gives lie to the left's claim that anti-Obamacare protesters are "astroturfers" in the employ of the GOP, the health insurance lobby, etc.
Only at one point did someone stand up and start ranting without his number being called, but he was eventually silenced. He was a bit too far away to see if he was escorted out or just persuaded to sit down and shut up, and it was all handled by event staff with no need for the cops to get involved.
A transplant from Britain was lucky enough to get called on, and he proceeded to deliver a litany of reasons why our government should stay the hell out of the health care business. He received a standing ovation from a large majority of the crowd.
Sen. Warner himself was clearly in favor of some kind of health care reform, but was careful not to take a position on this health care reform bill. He did acknowledge after someone brought up the issue of tort reform that tort reform is needed, but he was clearly reluctant to link it to health care reform.
A couple of my favorite signs: