The Monday evening town hall meeting between McCaskill staffers and tea party types who want to talk about what’s wrong with the energy bill and with health care reform is the upshot of an incident at McCaskill’s St. Louis office on the 17th. Protesters showed up that day to complain about Democratic efforts to overhaul health care.
The door to that office is kept locked, but her staff will come out into the foyer and talk to protesters. That day, though, they had only two people working, as opposed to the usual six, and the phones were ringing constantly, so they didn’t respond quickly. The protesters began yelling and banging on the windows–to the point that the tenant of a business on the second floor got angry enough to flip them the bird. (They thought it was a McCaskill staffer, but that got sorted out.)
The two staffers called the cops. I couldn’t say for sure whether they did it because the obnoxious protesters were annoying them or whether they felt threatened. In any case that apparently wasn’t what Claire would have wanted them to do. She issued an apology for the mixup and agreed to have her staffers meet with the protesters this Monday night. She did promise last fall to listen to all her constituents, whether they voted for her or not, and she’s making good on that.
But this situation is typical. Democratic office holders extend courtesy even to yahoos acting like five-year-olds. Republican legislators? Not so much. Billinmidmo, for example, wrote here in August of 2007 that a number or voters and organizations requested that Kenny Hulshof (ninth district) attend a town hall forum about the occupation of Iraq. He didn’t come because, according to Hulshof and his staff:
the Iraq War is only important to Columbia. The rest of the district, according to them, does not care about the occupation of Iraq.
A letter writer in the KC Star described how Kansas Republicans ignore Democratic protesters:
For contrast, we called Brownback’s office to set up an appointment to talk about his ridiculous animal hybrid bill and were told that since we had met with a staffer a month ago to discuss health care we couldn’t come back quite yet. We have been routinely protesting outside Pat Roberts’ OP office for a couple years now. His staff has NEVER even bothered to come out and talk to us. But since they have yet to call the cops I guess we should feel fortunate. Of course, we haven’t banged on the door and created a disturbance either.
And contrast Russ Carnahan’s treatment of hecklers with the way Todd Akin had someone who disagreed with him escorted from the room.
Looks like a pattern to me.