Monday, November 26, 2007

Tammy listens?

Well, Ms. Ether, Crayons, friends Donna and Beth, and I all showed up at one of Rep. Tammy Baldwin's listening sessions tonight. I'm glad she hosts these things, as it feels more effective to speak to her face-to-face than to send emails, write letters or sign petitions. I'm not so sure how much actual listening takes place, or what good it does. Oh, well.

Anyway, I was not prepared to speak, as we didn't decide if we were really going or not until practically the last minute, but I signed up to speak anyway. Over the next few minutes, I mentally composed some points upon which to touch. I decided against writing them down, partly bcause I didn't have any paper, but also because I wanted to look at her while I was speaking. The first few people who spoke were all quite organized. Most, but not all, were there to speak about impeachment or things related. One gentleman in particular expressed many of the things I was going to mention, and a few more as well. He spoke very calmly and was really very effective. A few more people came next, including our friend Beth who was very, very good in her presentation and hit upon a number of issues that others had neglected.

Eventually it was my turn. I was a bit nervous, so I don't remember exactly what I told her, but I think it was something like this:

"Thank you for being here with us tonight. What he said (pointing to the gentleman I mentioned earlier)! Furthermore, I'd like to hrhrhghelllbbbelmphg jkerosptew hgkdlkdhgkdlkdhgkdlkd mukmukmuk brblbrblbr, grbl floogn bikit! Sorry. I'm done." (wipes drool from chin).

Then Ms. Ether spoke. She is always impressive at these things. I was too busy wondering what I had just said to remember what she said in any detail. I'm sure she will have a good post about it, though.

All in all, the sentiments of those who came were overwhelmingly in favor of impeachment. There was a great deal of frustration with the Democrats in congress. A few other issues were presented before we had to leave, but that was definitely the theme of the session.

Tammy, who is one of the more progressive representatives in the house, was sympathetic, but she also made a number of excuses about why that won't work, why it takes so long blah blah blah.

I was particularly disturbed by her response to a man who asked her for an explanation of her votes on bills relating to Israel and Palestine. She really did a great political-weasel-dance on that question. I thought he raised some very valid points (of course I did, since he agreed with me), and she evaded giving him a straight answer quite skillfully. A number of people said things to the effect of "this is Madison, Wisconsin. Do the right thing. We've got your back." I don't think she really got that bit.

Excuse me while I go put on a dry shirt. This one is still a bit damp. From the drooling, that is.

11/27/07: Update Alert! After musing a bit on what I had written above, I have this to add.


Suzy said...

Poppycock, Mr. Ether! You were also eloquent. You sounded angry, as you have every right to be, but you were measured and controlled. I do think you are correct in your assessment (made while driving home) that Tammy is very insulated from the problems that more and more of us face as the economy founders. If I were you, I'd hang around Jenny Street Market over the next few days, and chances are you'll have another chance to see her face to face, this time in the check-out line. And you weren't drooling.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I wish I had a Rep. in the House who offered listening nights. Ours won't speak to any group who is not pro Republican. I despise that man.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Oh, and I know what you mean about speaking at those things. When I had the chance to shake hands with and ask a question of Dennis Kucinich back last spring I thought I was going to hyperventilate and die. Luckily I made it out alive and he was very gracious.

Ed said...

You met Dennis Kucinich? Have you washed that hand yet?

Suzy said...

Tammy Baldwin is exceedingly gracious and down to Earth. I think she DOES listen. I also like the fact that she maintains a home on the funky east side, albeit on the lake, instead of in the 'burbs or Shorewood Hills. Yeah, overall, she is a good egg.

FranIAm said...

This is so interesting. I think that folks like Tammy seem to want to do the right thing...but the overall environment makes it hard to do that.

Now if we all had congress folk who offered listening moments that might change.

I am thinking you overstated the drooling sir. And that was before Suzy rang in with her real life and clearly unbiased opinion.

You guys are great- the whole blogging family.

Ed said...

Well, I suppose it's possible I exaggerated a wee bit. But it's a pretty accurate description of what it felt like to me.