Gabrielle Giffords in a Bunker

Hat tip to my good friends at Gila Courier for finding this recent editorial in the Green Valley News.

The good news is that the General Election got a whole lot easier for the Republican nominee with editorials like this in retirement communities like Green Valley. 

The whole editorial is full of great money quotes so I’ll reprint it here:

Giffords hiding from GV, Sahuarita
Published: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 3:10 PM MDT

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has seen what has happened to her House and Senate colleagues over the past week at healthcare town hall meetings across the country and she’s hunkering down.

Some would say she’s hiding.

Giffords cancelled public appearances Thursday at American Legion Post #66 in Sahuarita and at Pima Community College, and announced that she has combined and moved them to a heavily secured Air Force base.

Probably because it’s trickier for protesters to get past soldiers with guns.

Giffords’ communications director insists that combining the appearances – during which she’ll talk about the new GI Bill – was necessary because of growing interest that required a bigger venue.

Baloney. (And that’s putting it kindly.)
This same staff member said Giffords had no public healthcare forums planned despite questions and confusion among constituents that is growing by the hour. Then he said Giffords couldn’t possibly schedule a healthcare town hall now because it takes a lot of time to line up a venue and the staff to make it happen.

That’s an odd statement given that they secured the auditorium at Davis-Monthan AFB virtually on a moment’s notice.

To be sure, Giffords hasn’t escaped without bruises in all of this. She was met with shouts in Douglas a week ago during a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a grocery store, and protesters have targeted her in Sierra Vista and Tucson in the past week.

What do they want? Answers.

Her official response: “Southern Arizonans want a civil discussion on reforming our health insurance system, and we must call for an immediate end to the manipulation and misleading statements by outside special interest groups. We deserve a full and honest debate on this critical issue.”

We sure do, so let’s start talking.

I’m guessing just about any school in Congressional District 8 (or any of several rec centers in Green Valley) would be eager to host a town hall meeting on short notice. (And, I should add, if a member of Congress has trouble booking a hall in the face of the most high-profile matter in the country, we’re all in trouble.)

But the fact is Giffords doesn’t want to talk to you right now. Maybe next month when things blow over.

It’s understandable, of course. How much real work can get done amid angry shouts and sign-waving – she said just that a week ago in Sierra Vista. But Giffords needs to remember that anger stems from frustration, and frustration manifests itself in what should be interpreted as nothing less than a demand for answers.

So here’s or proposal: Come to Green Valley. We’ll book the venue and promise the exchange will be civil and informative. The local radio station, KGVY, has even offered to stream it live from another location if that makes Giffords more comfortable.

But come. And help us all make sense of this.

– Dan Shearer, editor


  1. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was interviewed by the Arizona Daily Star. The interview was published on August 11, 2009. She has held only one town hall meeting during the August recess. Her Tucson office staff will not allow callers to talk to her because her schedule does not permit it. Unbelievable! Is she afraid to face her constituents? An analysis of her answers to the Daily Star is revealing.

    Arizona Daily Star – “Why is health care such a volatile issue?”

    Giffords – “My position is to listen to constituents, learn from the very best information available and ultimately make sound, rational decisions that are going to be beneficial to the people of the 8th Congressional District.

    What I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks is that people want to have created for them a forum where they can be disruptive rather than actually providing me with information in a way that is going to give me their personal perspective and educating me on their point of view . . .It’s been a little troubling.”

    Analysis – Giffords failed to answer the question. The reason health care is such a volatile issue is because the majority of people, based on any number of polls, are not in favor of a single payer or public option. People believe Obama’s plan is bad for the country because of its estimated cost and the rationing of health care that a single payor scheme brings with it. Further, the American people are concerned with a Democrat led Congress attempting to rush another expensive program through Congress absent checks and balances.

    Giffords statement that people want a forum where they can be disruptive is a “straw man.” Which people want to be disruptive? People are angry because they cannot get a straight answer from their politicians, whether in a town hall or in an interview. Dissent is patriotic. Remember Hillary Clinton’s shrill statement that dissent is patriotic? Giffords says her position is to listen to her constituents but her behavior contradicts her words.

    Arizona Daily Star – “What do you mean by a public plan?”

    Giffords – “A public option that a health insurance company cannot deny you from applying to their program but you are able to access to a cafeteria-style plan of health care. So for those 47 million Americans that have no coverage right now that they are able either to get some subsidy through the federal government to buy into the plan, or to just directly buy into the plan to get some coverage and not be denied.”

    Analysis – Again, Giffords doesn’t answer the question. In fact, the first sentence of her response doesn’t make any sense. It demonstrates that Giffords understands neither health care nor HR 3200.

    A public option allows government to structure premiums at below market prices, causing private health plans to desert the market place. The public option, in HR 3200, encourages illegal aliens to obtain subsidized health care at taxpayer expense. Section 152, page 50-51, of HR3200, states “Except as otherwise explicitly permitted by this Act and by subsequent regulations consistent with this Act, all health, all health care and related services (including insurance coverage and public health activities) covered by this Act shall be provided without regard to personal characteristics extraneous to the provisions of high quality health care or related services.”

    Arizona Daily Star – “So do you mean public option in the sense of the subsidies or that it would be a Medicare kind of thing where there are reimbursements?”

    Giffords – “To further complicate things – it’s probably why we’re here – is that there are five different bills that currently exist. And the House plan is completely different from the Senate plan. The Senate is not even talking about a public option. They are talking about a co-op program. I don’t even fully understand the examples they are using. I think there are only two co-ops in the country right now . . .I’m not in the Senate, so I am not following that as closely.

    “This plan that doesn’t actually exist in writing – the president also does not have a plan, he talks about his plan, but he has no legislation – is that if you are currently insured , you keep your private insurance, you should not see any radical change in your coverage . . .

    “We’re not going to take on everyone’s health insurance. So if you like what you have and are able to keep it, there will be no change . . . At this point, there is a public option that’s going to be available. But who participates, how much does it cost, how you get in, who’s eligible, those things are still being discussed.”

    Analysis – The question and answer are confusing. First the questioner asks about subsidies (to the public option members?) and reimbursements (to providers?). The Arizona Star Reporter does not know enough about the topic to ask a clear question. The question was so botched and vague it could not be answered directly by Giffords.

    There are five different health care reform bills in various stages of development. HR 3200, the only House bill to pass out of committee is the only one published in draft form. Giffords should be familiar with HR 3200 but her answer indicates she is not familiar with the bill.

    Section 123 (beginning at p.30) of HR 3200 calls for a committee composed of 18 President-appointed individuals and 8 Federal employees (26 non-elected citizens) to consist of providers, consumer representatives, employers, labor, health insurance issuers, experts in health care financing and delivery, experts in racial and ethnic disparities, experts in care for those with disabilities, representatives of relevant governmental agencies and at least one practicing physician OR other health professional and an expert on children’s health.”

    This group will determine benefit designs for America. Other than the surgeon general, a physician is not even guaranteed to be on the committee. In effect, twenty-five non-elected, non-clinical political appointees will make health care decisions for the American people. This is a direct intrusion into the patient-physician relationship.

    The public option also calls for a Health Care Commissioner, appointed by the President, with advice and consent by the Senate, as part of the executive branch of government. This is another non-elected political appointee.

    Arizona Daily Star – “How is that paid for between the insurance company, the doctor and the person, all of that?”

    Giffords – We got the cost of the bill to less than $1 trillion at this point. I think it’s around $900 billion or $850 billion at the moment and more than half of these costs are created by reductions by current health-care providers for their costs, like for example, for Medicare. So it’s driving down costs from insurance companies by hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry as well, to reduce the cost – that’s how half of it is created . . .

    Another big part of those costs are going to be for, currently, by a tax increase for the wealthiest 1.2 percent of population to 1.5 percent of the population. Again, that number is currently in flux right now. What we’re talking about is after all the deductions, if you make over $300,000 after your deductions, so you’re probably making over $1 million in income, I’d say, but once you go through your expenses, that there would be a less than 2 percent tax on these folks . . . That’s one of the plans, but that’s a general thought at the moment.”

    Analysis – The first observation is Giffords has difficulty in orally expressing herself. She should be embarrassed at the first two sentences of her answer. The second observation is she really does not have a detailed grasp of the bill, probably because she did not read it in its entirety. What it boils down to is simply no one knows the true cost of the bill. The Congressional Budget Office has scored parts of bills but the total bill has not been scored.
    Using average costs we can compare costs to Giffords numbers. Health care is estimated (by the government) to cost $8,100 per capita annually. Private health care spends 53% of medical cost and the government spends 47% of the cost. At $8,100 per person, the aggregate cost of health care is estimated at $2.430 trillion annually. There are a little over 306 million people in the United States. Private health care plans cover 200 million people. Of the 106 million remaining, about 46 million are uninsured, leaving about 60 million covered by some government program (Medicare, Medicaid, S-Chip, Military, etc.).
    Private health care’s share of the medical cost is about $1.287 trillion or $6,440 per capita. Government’s share of the medical cost is about $1.142 trillion or $10,775 per capita. This is not surprising. The government cannot with any form of efficiency run its own departments. For example, the Postal Service is facing a current fiscal year deficit of $6 billion. Private health care plans are 1.7 times more efficient that the government in providing health care. And Giffords supports a “public option” when the government could not manage a “cash for clunkers” program?”
    Arizona Daily Star – “A single payer system is off the table because of cost?”

    Giffords – “Not even because of cost, because it’s too radical of a shift for the American people.

    “Right now, single payer is just not right, with such a strong employer based health care system that we have in our country, and the satisfaction that a lot of people have with the status quo. There is not enough information on what health care is costing us right now . . .”

    Analysis – Giffords is right in saying we don’t know how much health care costs today. Using average costs (in the analysis above), we can start developing a truer cost picture. What is particularly galling is how much money and time was and is wasted constructing bills in the House and Senate without knowing the costs of each bill. Congress failed to do its homework on health care. So, we’re going to end up with approximately five bills. Competing bills in each chamber will have to be reconciled. Then the bills of each House of Congress will have to be reconciled. And once we’re down to one bill, it still has to be scored by the CBO. And the estimated cost calculated by the CBO could kill the bill much like the CBO calculations of portions of a bill quickly altered the scope of the bill.

    Further, section 223 (p.121) of HR 3200 requires use of the Medicare fee schedule for the public option. Currently, most physicians limit how many Medicare patients they will see due to Medicare’s substandard fee schedule. In fact, most physicians will see only those Medicare patients that were the physicians’ patient before they reached sixty-five years of age. Now Congress wants to expand the number of patients in a government funded “public option.” The question will be how many physicians are going to participate in the “public option” with substandard fee schedules? With every “public option” they allow into their practices, physicians will see a decrease in reimbursements resulting in a decrease of revenue.

    Arizona Daily Star – “Is there any one thing you see has an obstacle in passing legislation?”

    Giffords – “From a very top level it’s just misunderstanding . . . Using rhetoric that is not even adequately defining what the situation is, and this is from some of our community leaders, there’s a tremendous amount of misinformation.

    “I think Congress has to do a better job, I think the president has to do a better job . . . I think people have to do a better job really doing their research to know what’s going on. It’s not going to happen overnight. We’re going to continue to continue to try to educate folks and hopefully we’ll get something accomplished.”

    Analysis – First, I recommend Giffords read HR 6200. The bill contains a “public option” at section 221 (p. 116). If there is any misinformation it’s coming from proponents of a single payer universal plan. At President Obama’s town hall on August 11th this year, he flatly stated that he has never promoted a single payer plan. Yet, two years ago Obama said he did. There are recordings of both occasions.

    When we have one party in control of the House, Senate and White House, absent any checks or balances, the American people should be worried that this political party is not doing the right thing.

    When we have the controlling political party writing stimulus, cap and trade, and health care bills in the back rooms of Congress, absent checks and balances, and excluding the minority party from participation, the American people should be worried that this political party is not doing the right thing.

    When we have a controlling political party whose members engage in criminal activities and ethical violations, and the applicable Ethics Committees either refuses to initiate an investigation or just sits on the evidence, the American people should be worried that this political party is not doing the right thing.

    “It is a very serious thing for a political creed or political party when they are compelled in spite of themselves to hail national misfortunes as a means of advancing their cause.”- Winston Churchill.

  2. kralmajales says

    When people start showing up with guns, as happened in Douglas, when people behave rudely and shout over others, when the sole purpose of a town hall to the Tea Party is to shut it down and yell, then, yes, you shut off opportunities for all of us that want them.

  3. kralmajales says

    And, oh, if you didn’t get this, that is not HER fault.

  4. kralmajales: Oh, do you mean like the left has been doing for decades? Please, the Democrats can’t take their own medicine; and even at that, it’s mild. No Townhallers are rushing the stage, throwing pies at elected officials, etc. And the only violence has been perpetrated by the ususal suspects: union thugs.

  5. kralmajales says

    Seems that I remember some of your folks calling them freaks? Seems as though they typically get arrested and even beaten by cops when they protest, seems also that what you describe is absolutely NOTHING like this.

    The backlash is beginning and the tea party is starting to look like a bunch of fools.

  6. Nice to see how quickly you’ve turned on Trent. You used to like him judging by what you’d written in the past. He’s the same guy, now you call him a “fool”?

  7. Let us not forget our dear friend Raul G. He has been slinking about Tucson, but flatly refusing to meet any of us “nazis”.

  8. kralmajales says

    I thought Trent would be a smart and moderate voice for the district I live in. Now I have serious questions, given the association and what the Tea Party is doing. Lets just say that I would not vote for him over Young Wright. Would I vote for him over Vic Williams…hmmmm…I will have to see which is more likely to look and be reasonable.

    But, to Trent and Bob, the association with this “movement” makes him radical like those people mentioned by RonB.

    Plus, I am hearing more rumors. This one is that Trent is hitching his wagon to Al Melvin (which if true makes him even more extreme to me) and that they are plotting of a way to get him to take out Williams.

    If all of this is true, Tea Party radical republican, at the hip with Melvin, etc., then no way will I support him. The moderates that I know in the district wont either.

    Can’t a guy change his mind?

  9. kralmajales says

    One more thing…although this is clear from my post above. Trent, I would STRONGY encourage you not to use this route for your electoral success. You are going to be labelled (not by me…who cares about me) as an extemist. Not only associated with, but an organizer of the protests…and people will remind people of this in campaign ads next time too. That is, if you are running.

    See, my advice to Trent (as relatively knowledgable person on politics) is that he simply build on his success from last time. He almost won. But going so far to the right and in this way…he risks getting strong conservative backing…but at the same time less support from independents and moderates.

    Just some advice….and I am right about this.

  10. The Tea Party has just begun. The Dems are scared too death and, so typically, stoop to ad hominem attacks. BO and the left keep trying to sell their tripe to America but the facts keep getting in their way.

  11. OOps–that’s “scared to death” — I fat fingered that one.

  12. kralmajales says

    Not scared of radicals…just like your party was not scared of the radicals that you compare yourself to, Ron.

  13. I don’t compare myself to radicals. That’s for you lefties who go nuts when you “protest.” Those of us on the right may yell and occassionally stomp our feet–but we don’t destroy property or beat up people like union thugs, code pink, and other nefarious characters who, for decades, have demonstrated their ill manners while often destroying their own neighborhoods.

  14. Kral

    Give it up man, Gabby is married.

    Yeah, you can change your mind but Trent ain’t no different than the guy you extolled as reasonable and thoughtful.

    So you’re the one who had flipped once he became a threat to your beloved….did I mention that she is now married.

    We know you’re a Hershberger fan so the fact that you’d prefer Young-Wright over anyone is no surprise.

    You wanna rip Melvin, have at it but the guy is a harder worker than Hellon or Hershberger ever would have been. He’s smart and ten times more informed than them with the added bonus that he was a registered voter much, much longer than the idiot he replaced.

    Your Dems are in for a big surprise nationwide in 2010. Sorry, man.

  15. Kral

    Here’s a recent news story which includes Trent’s perspectives…hardly the ranting of a “radical” (your word). No hate mongering, fear mongering, racism, threats of violence as far as I can see.

  16. kralmajales says

    Trent is clearly the organizer of what is a group of radical conservatives. I thought of him as a “thinking” moderate Republican. I was wrong. And this association wont get him elected.

    Can’t wait to see what Wiliams thinks about the backstabbing he is about to get.

    We are going to defeat Melvin this time. And Trent can go down with him again.

  17. kralmajales says

    Trent will pretend pretend pretend to be a reasonable moderate, but what he believes in is a reflection of the group he has helped create, the ideology behind it, and even freedom works.

    It is a group that believes in trying to indimidate public leaders. Just like those radicals in Code Pink that you all compare yourselves to in tactics.

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