Today in downtown OKC, shortly before noon a crowd of around 50 Oklahomans who oppose the current plans for healthcare reform marched up to Mary Fallin’s office and went in. This group organized by Sooner Tea Party, counter-protested against proponents of the plan last week and expected to do the same this week but apparently Move On, had moved on.
None of the OK GOP representatives are likely to vote in favor of this initiative but why waste a chance to visit your congressional representative? Coburn’s office was closed due to a personal loss by one of his staff.
Congresswoman Fallin was not in but two of her assistants were and they were gracious about giving this well behaved “mob” some of their time. The conversation was taken outside, in front due to the size of the crowd and an impromptu Q and A session commenced with the two spokesmen for Fallin’s speaking and listening to the crowd for nearly an hour.
The mix of people who showed up was an intersting one, most were unfamiliar to me and in fact a few of the more vocal participants just happened upon the demonstration and joined in. They were informed and fiery so I decided to audio record the event, take pictures and just watch what happened.
I was pleased to hear the plain message that our next governor must advocate for upholding the Tenth Amendment. This tells me that the wisdom of restraining the federal government from controlling the states has wide popularity among a variety of conservatives here.
The two men addressed the crowd beginning with the assurances that Mary Fallin is very conservative, has a very conservative voting record and is doing her best to get the message opposing this reform out through radio, blogs and television.
Many of the protestors expressed a desire to do something more to help.
James Lane took his lunch off of work in order to participate and his suggestion was that was a townhall meeting might be in order so that we could get to work helping our state government come together in the healthcare reform issue. Several said that they wished for more leadership from our DC representatives, here in the state. One gentleman from Fallin’s office said that these were all good points and promised to speak to the Congresswoman about their ideas and then reminded everyone that she was home every weekend.
One lady made a clear statement at the beginning that;
“if we don’t have states rights we are going to lose the whole battle!”
Fallin’s representative stated that Congresswoman had voted against every spending initiative of the Obama administration which was met with an outburst of objections from the crowd. The assistants countered by assuring everyone that Fallin did not vote for the stimulus but a few of the protestors interjected that although she did not vote for the stimulus, she did vote for the $700 billion dollar bailout last fall, to which her assistants deferred that that particular measure was;
“A totally different item, totally different. These are different. Keep in mind about that whole deal-they’re not spending that money the way that they told congress”
When asked about oversight the Fallin staff members offered
that Republicans are in the minority and could do little.
“They won’t let us put any of our input into the bills” said one spokesman for gubernatorial candidate Fallin.
“The lady fan of state’s rights says;
“We have got to shift the power back to the states!”
And one person, with pleading frustration says ;
“Do you have our names? You need to have our names.. . I mean why not, here you have a great opportunity.. . ”
Spokesman- “Sure, We can get them, get a sheet we’ll write them down. . .we want to hear from you and I’ve got some cards too.
The frustrated protestor further informs the Fallin staff members that;
“Over the last year. . .I said please, let me know how I can help , or sent my name to the Republican Party. You think I ever hear anything? No. I never hear anything!”
While cards are being passed around Mr. Lane, the lunchtime demonstrator and newly minted conservative activist speaks;
While we appreciate that she didn’t vote for the stimulus but her vote on the the bailout, I mean that was still unconstitutional. On what grounds did she oppose the stimulus? If it’s just because that’s the way the wind is blowing. . .I want to know that she has strong values and principles that she is going to hold to. The bailout vote was unconstitutional and it was just as bad as the stimulus”
Fallin’s staff member responds;
Well, I gotta tell you. . you know. ,I don’t want to get into. . We could talk for two hours about why TARP hasn’t worked now but. . I tell you. . uh. . .She voted for it. . .because. . I’ll tell you who else voted for it! A guy whose office is in that building (gestures across and down the street)- Tom Coburn-no. Listen. In that moment in time, our economy was on the ropes. I..I.. again Caleb (spokesman #2) put it well, what happened afterwards is another debate. At the time our credit markets were frozen. She was told that if we don’t do this and we don’t do it the way we say were gonna do it, the economy is going to experience a. .
The crowd interjects
“Who was she listening to??” someone asks.
She was told. . .it wasn’t just. . . The way that . . .She was. . she was. . . she was . .under the impression, as was the congress if they didn’t do this the credit markets would freeze, the very grease in the wheel of the American economy would freeze and so. Look. . look. . she voted. .
This bit of information came out on Friday, July 17, 2009
Paulson reveals US concerns of breakdown in law and order
The crowd is not mollified much by these comments and many speak out at once . The dark haired unnamed Spokesman seemed to become slightly irritated; “Without your ability to get a loan-everything fails!”
Fallin’s staff member, Caleb reclaims control;
“We are getting off point here. . The point is that we have this healthcare issue coming up, right now and once it is over our economy it will be a massive, massive entitlement that will be almost impossible to repeal.”. ..
“A lot of these other things that we just passed recently, we can repeal if conservatives get back in power-soon but something like healthcare in a massive entitlement form will be almost impossible so we got to beat this now.”
The crowd again asked what they could do to help and they were advised that the Republicans needed to regain power.
We are told that the Republicans must reclaim power or all is lost but these demonstrators want to know specifics.
Several times members of the crowd raised the subject of state government asserting their proper authority and repelling the federal government Sen. Brogdon’s name was mentioned again as an alternative to status quo politics and his support of the Tenth Amendment Resolution was held up as the model for Fallin to follow.
“Washington does not need to be deciding what kind of life I am going to live!” This was one statement made by a participant that drew a round of applause.
“We want to know what she is doing for state’s rights…there are others running for governor that are big advocates of state’s rights and unless she falls in with that…unless she starts advocating for that, she is going to lose my support”
One of Fallin’s spokesmen offered that she voted against the stimulus. When it was apparent that this answer didn’t satisfy he hastily went on;
“I gotta tell you. . she did attend the Tea Parties in April, she did go. She is supportive. I can’t tell you how many times she emailed me from Washington to tell me. . .w-when I could go because she was excited about this movement and your ideas. . saving our deficit, saving our future generations AND. . . . and. . you know. . makes herself very vocal on this issue”
Once again, the crowd was reminded that Fallin rejected all of President Obama administration’s spending initiatives and again the crowd seemed less than impressed and countered by reminding them that she did vote for the bailout and that was unacceptable.
Some ladies brought literature on what AZ is doing to protect the people from Obama care and asked is falling could, since she is running for Governor, go ahead and start advocating within the state for something similar? The AZ measure to protect the residents of that state specifically from the Obama Care bill is an idea that this group liked. They were firm in wanting to see legislators in Oklahoma stand up to the federal government and defend the principle of sovereignty guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment
Arizona Moves to Oppose Obama’s Expected Health Care Mandates
Participants said that they wanted to see the conservatives do something other than just cast votes They want to see the Republican party get organized, get a strategy and utilize the help that that is being offered to them by the grassroots and stop simply biding their time until they get back in power.
“Look. We are willing to help” says one lady who went to Denver to help out with the Mccain-Palin campaign
“I’m tired of donating to the party; I want to donate to an individual that is going to step up and do it!”
When asked what the party was doing to ensure future success, one of Fallin’s spokesmen finally hit on an idea that met with approval;
“We have to stay consistent with our principles.”
To which the British ex-pat questioner, now American citizen responded with a tight lipped
British-American and fan of the Fair Tax.