Thursday, August 18, 2011
Randy Hultgren Towhall, Geneva Illinois, 18 August 2011
I don't know if it was design or happenstance but the room was just big enough that Randy could work without a microphone. That meant everyone had to get real quiet to hear the questions. If you're concerned about a boisterous audience, that forces everyone to pipe town, 'cause after all, the guy asking the question could be one of your own.
Randy handed out his congressional voting card to the guy in the first row. The card was your ticket to ask a question. Then you past it over to the person next to you. It worked well. Randy kept himself to sixty second responses and had a person timing him.
My take was 2/3rds of the room Hultgren supporters and the rest against him. A handful of LaRouchies and then recognizable local Progressive and Liberal activists from the area. (Feel free to take issue with me on this.) I was sitting half way up in the room and couldn't see all in the back. It was standing room only and maybe 150 people in total.
All of the adversarial sorts of questions were about raising taxes to increase revenues, and where are the jobs after extending the "Bush Tax Hikes". The closest thing to a disruption the whole night was chanting "Where are the Jobs?". I don't consider that a half bad question at all, and from Randy's reaction I don't think he does either. Progressives are really going to need to think this frame through since it seems to work as much against 'em as against the GOP.
A few "class war" questions on taxing the rich. Randy effectively turns this towards tax reform.
A few questions on Medicare and privatizing it. Randy didn't mention the Independent Payment Review Board which seems to slice up Medicare pretty quickly in my opinion.
Randy defended his vote on the debt ceiling bill noting he voted for the first two, and only against the third, and in part because of the super commission.
Grover Norquist popped up in a few questions. More evidence Progressive's need to rethink the frame because most of us need to ask Grover Norquist who? Randy replied he's only signed two pledges: one for Norquist, and another on Cut, Cap, and Balance. Randy said never again will he sign pledges. His only pledge is to the voters of the 14th district. I thought that a right and effective answer.
Geneva Mayor Burns did the opening honors here, and both he and Randy showed class with a somewhat hostile crowd. (Foster could never have done it.) They both enjoy politics, respect their constituents, and even those out-of-district folks who gave up a summer evening to be there.
I asked the one and only question on Foreign Affairs and noted none of my fellow citizens of a leftish bent seem concerned: Prez Obama's in violation of the War Powers Act on Libya what should be done? Hultgren's response was Obama needed to come before Congress and explain the goals and strategy.
Footnote: Let the Progressives with their manifesto's chew up the time. Another lesson Randy had obviously learned. I shot some video of one of them but it's just too boring. Also, Kane County's Progressive Fox was there: John Laesch and while he couldn't speak for the rest, he was out there applauding Hultgren's call to bring Obama to account on WPA. He was clapping he assured me.
Update x1: The Daily Herald's take of last night here. The people with the Obama Hitler posters were Lyndon LaRouche supporters from outside the 14th. I know because I talked to them before hand. I remember LaRouche when he was Linn Marcus in SDS and I'm always curious if any of his supporters know the guy's past. Anyways, the Herald really ought to explain who's holding the Hitler posters if they're going to mention it. The LaRouchies weren't reflective of anyone there or in the 14th for that matter.
Update x2: The Kane County Chronicle here. My question on Obama and the War Powers Act gets no mention in either paper. So much for concern about War.