Kathy Shaidle

Barney Frank asks constituents: "What's the matter with you all?"

Posted on August 19 2009 10:01 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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Sean Hannity’s report last night on Massachusetts Democrat Congressman Barney Frank‘s health care town hall meeting was as interesting for what it left out as for what it included.

FOX News reporter Griff Jenkins was live on the scene, and told Hannity that Frank “came here to provoke as much as to answer questions” at what turned out to be a “contentious and cantankerous” two-and-a-half hour meeting in Dartmouth, MA.

At one point, for example, Frank attempted to shift blame for the 2008 housing and financial crisis from himself to President Bush, but negative audience reaction forced him to cut those remarks short.

Other video clips showed Frank striking a pose of exaggerated exasperation, scolding audience members for their methods of questioning. “Do you really think that advances your arguments?” Frank asked sarcastically at one point, later adding, “What’s the matter with you all?”

According to Jenkins, one audience member responded, “Why are you putting us down?”

Hannity commented on Frank’s “arrogance and condescension,” adding, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The local FOX News affiliate covered the same townhall, and broadcast additional choice soundbites from the Congressman, including: “M’am, having a conversation with you is like arguing with a dining room table” and “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”

Not everyone had come to the meeting to bury Congressman Frank and Obamacare, however. According to the MY FOX Boston report:

Dr. Sheila Leavitt, a physician from Newton, said she hoped for changes that would support primary care physicians who aren’t paid as much as specialists. She said some of the rowdy critics at Tuesday’s meeting appeared to be using the same “talking points” as those who showed up at similar meetings around the country.

I’m indebted to my fellow Canadian blogger Kate McMillan for drawing my attention to the fact that Dr. Leavitt is no stranger to local politics or to prefabricated “talking points.” In fact, at one point in the recent past, her own car was covered with them. As one reporter wrote in 2005:

You could call Sheila Leavitt a nutty, annoying, unrelenting Newton leftie who home-schools the kids and raises chickens to share eggs with neighbors, not to eat. She is, of course, a vegetarian.

I see her as one of those rare people who puts their convictions on parade, then faces uneasy consequences. Like the beefy, mad, middle-aged guy who followed her around the Esplanade yesterday, before dawn, tearing down her “Impeach Bush” posters as fast as she put them up. Or the trucker she said rear-ended her at a Mass Pike toll booth, sending her head into the steering wheel of her ’88 Toyota Corolla with bumper stickers saying “War is barbaric” and “Support our troops . . . Draft Jenna & Barbara,” as in Bush. […]

McMillan helpfully located a photograph of said automobile:

“The only thing I can’t find,” she adds, “is evidence of a [medical] practice.”

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