“How dare you? How dare you criticize those dear sweet insurance companies who’ve been shafting us royally?” say the teabaggers. “How dare you utter a syllable against them for quintupling their profits over a seven year period?”
Claire pointed out that the ten largest health care insurers made a profit of $2.4 billion in 2000 and $12.9 billion in 2007. Oh man, those stats made the wingers’ blood boil. Not against the greedy bloodsuckers driving some of us to bankruptcy and the rest of us to shopping Target instead of Macys. No,no. They screamed at Claire. A man near me yelled, “Why do you get to decide what’s a fair profit margin?”
And when she said the average health insurance company CEO makes $10 million a year, they knew, knew that she was out to destroy their way of life. Not so, said Claire. “I’m not against capitalism.” That brought the roof down.
Claire stopped and looked at them for several seconds before saying, “I’m so disappointed.”
Take a look at how much sympathy that garnered her:
A warm crowd? Not so much.
Keep in mind,though, that the noise came only from the baggers. Not only did I fail to capture a single progressive–and there were many in the audience–screaming at the wingers or screaming at Claire for backing away from the public option, I also failed to capture any of the undecided-on-the-issue voters kicking up a fuss. They weren’t hollering their frustration with trying to make sense of this ungodly complicated, still evolving legislation that could make the difference for them someday between bankruptcy and still owning a home after they’ve had cancer treatment. So, no, I did not film the undecideds venting in any way, but they were there. I walked around for fifteen minutes before the event asking people about their views. Although I later learned that the the other side of the gym was almost solid with the angries, still I found plenty of them on my side. And about the same number of pro-reform people. But what I found most was “I’m just here to get information. I don’t know what I think yet.”
They weren’t making any ruckus, and they probably got plenty of useful info. If they could hear Claire above the din.