Senator Claire McCaskill (D) took the opportunity provided by the congressional break to schedule ten open public town halls in Missouri. The first five were scheduled for today. We attended four – at 8:30 a.m. in California, at 11:00 a.m. in Tipton, at 12:45 p.m. in Versailles, and at 2:30 p.m. Eldon. Each town hall lasted approximately one hour.
Tomorrow Senator McCaskill will hold five more town halls.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in California, Missouri.
The format for these town halls was the same as past ones held by Senator McCakill. Anyone can submit a written question. An individual in the audience who volunteers that they “would probably never vote for” the senator is asked to randomly select the questions from a basket. That volunteer gets to ask the last question.
Not surprisingly, most of the questions were about health care. There didn’t appear to be any enthusiasm for Trumpcare cutting Medicaid and Medicare. And no enthusiasm for the massive tax cuts for the wealthy in the republican Trumpcare bills.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Tipton, Missouri.
By our headcounts around fifty-five people attended in California, around forty in Tipton, around sixty-five in Versailles, and around eighty in Eldon.
There were a number of questions about veterans issues, student loan debt, infrastructure, the budget, and support for public education. There were a few questions about Donald Trump’s social media habit. “What can we do about it?” “Nothing.” There were questions about local concerns and constituent services.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Versailles, Missouri.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) in Eldon, Missouri.
Standing room in Eldon.
Anyone wonder what Senator Roy Blunt (r) was doing today? Just asking.
On May 4, 2012 Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) held town halls in Buffalo, Versailles and California, Missouri. We attended all three and photographed and recorded audio and video at each event.
We’ve noted at the town halls that we’ve attended this Spring that the number of people who show up is relatively miniscule when compared to the number of people who live in and actually vote in the district.
The town hall in California, Missouri was held in the new city building. Other than two
of us from Show Me Progress there was only one other media representative present (from the local paper).
Representative Hartzler (r) working the room in Buffalo, Missouri before her presentation and the question and answer session.
Power point slides as part of the presentation in Buffalo. We’ve seen many of these before.
In Buffalo, Missouri, a response to a paranoid question about an executive order signed on March 16th by President Obama to “take over everything” in a declared emergency (Gee, where have we seen that before?):
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): ….and this president has done more executive orders than any other president, although it is, has been a tool that’s been used by every president since George Washington….
The Disposition Tables list the status of Executive Orders from:
January 8, 1937 – May 2, 2012
Barack Obama (2009-Present)
EO’s 13489 – 13607
George W. Bush (2001-2009)
William J. Clinton (1993-2001)
George Bush (1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Do the math. That’s 118 by President Obama, 290 by George W. Bush, 363 by Bill Clinton, 165 by George H. W. Bush, 380 by Ronald Reagan, 319 by Jimmy Carter, 168 by Gerald Ford, 345 by Richard Nixon, 323 by Lyndon Johnson, 213 by John Kennedy, 481 by Dwight Eisenhower, 893 by Harry Truman, 3,466 by FDR, and 995 by Herbert Hoover.
“…and this president has done more executive orders than any other president…”
Not even close.
There were six different members of Representative Hartzler’s (r) staff in attendance at different stages of the three May 4th town halls.
In Buffalo, Missouri.
Working the room before her presentation and the question and answer session in Versailles, Missouri:
Taking questions in Versailles, Missouri:
Working the room in California, Missouri:
Taking questions in California:
This Spring Representative Hartzler (r) did close to twenty town halls and “meet and greets”. For the events we attended the difference in format between the two was mostly a matter of length and, sometimes, the slide presentation was absent from the meet and greet. At each location Representative Hartzler’s staff set up a sign-in table. On her arrival Representative Hartzler greets everyone in the room individually, taking time to speak briefly with them. She may nod to the bloggers, if they’ve been at a number of her town halls. A staffer sometimes accompanies her, taking photos. Representative Hartzler then does a presentation (lasting up to twenty or so minutes), then takes questions for the remainder of the event. At the close of the event she takes time to talk with those who wish to visit.
The attendance at the events we’ve covered this Spring has been relatively sparse. We’ve noted that there has been a definite ideological mix of people showing up, from obvious libertarians (by their questions), to teabaggers (by their t-shirts), to true believers, to corporatist republicans (by their introductions), to Democrats (by their questions and t-shirts).
Representative Hartzler (r) sometimes avoids calling on obvious Democrats (either because she knows them or because they’re wearing t-shirts identifying them as such), though she’s not always successful in avoiding them. To be fair, when she can’t avoid it, she does take questions from the obvious Democrats. Interestingly, the most painfully embarrassing questions and/or statements appear to come from the lunatic fringe right wingnuts in attendance.
Meta. Here’s a tip for folks in public life who are new to this Internets and blogging thing – if you did or said something that attracted a lot of attention, remember, you were the one who did or said it.
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) presented three town halls in the 4th Congressional District today in the towns of Buffalo, Versailles and California. We were there.
Under the constituent sign-in table at Representative Vicky Hartzler’s (r) town hall in Buffalo, Missouri – May 4, 2012.
For anyone who has attended one of Representative Hartzler’s town halls this is funny and ironic on so many levels.
Before the start of the Buffalo town hall one of Representative Hartzler’s staffers approached us as we had finished setting up and I had started taking stills of people signing in for the town hall. The conversation (paraphrased):
Staffer: Are you taking video?
Me: No, he does video [pointing to Jerry Schmidt]. I take stills. [There was a slight pause in the conversation]
Staffer: I would prefer that you not. People attending don’t want to be on video or pictures, their privacy…
Me: This is a public meeting. Have we ever done anything in the past other than present everything in its entirety?
Staffer: I could ask you all day and I suppose the answer would be the same.
Me: This is a public meeting.
There were six different staff in attendance at different stages of the three town halls.
In Versailles, Missouri. That’s a staffer on the right with a camera.
Wait, that’s a staffer with a camera taking pictures of Representative Hartzler interacting with constituents at a town hall? We do that, too. We also do meticulous transcripts of the proceedings so anyone can read what went on.
Part of the response to a question by a constituent at the Versailles, Missouri town hall about Representative Hartzler’s worth as reported in her personal financial disclosure report:
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): ….So those reports are written by people who don’t like me, who don’t want me reelected. They’re here, we’ve got people been following me around. They take my pictures, they’re video recording me so they can defeat me this November. Uh, anyway, that’s a part of it. So, you know, But it’s out there and, uh, anyway, so….
“…they’re video recording me so they can defeat me this November…”
“…if you did or said something that attracted a lot of attention, remember, you were the one who did or said it…”
Uh, we cover politics and government in Missouri. We post that information (photographs, video, transcripts, public reports) on our blog so that anyone who may be interested can access it. You know, it’s called reporting.
…Now as a new administration moves to town, another Washington guessing game begins: who will be able to snag the Obamas for dinner…?
“…Everybody in town wants to see them, everybody wants to go to the White House,” said Sally Quinn, the author, journalist and frequent hostess. “And everybody wants to have them over….”
…Mrs. Reagan’s social secretary Muffie Brandon Cabot regularly arranged luncheons at private homes so that Mrs. Reagan could make friends…
Okay, time out. No adult named “Muffie” should be allowed anywhere near anything other than an episode of a television sitcom starring Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot and a doll named “Mrs. Beasley”.
It continues in the same vein:
“…There’s a lot of unease and charting of new territory, because for so long Washington has been a social town where there are certain people who are the Washington social groups, the hostesses and hosts of the events,” she said. “And I think with the Obamas coming in, people are wondering whether or not those social pecking orders are going to remain the same….”
…Actually, it could be said that Sally Quinn has been floundering around for the last couple of decades, when she failed first as a journalist, then as a novelist, before emerging as a hostess in a Washington society that even she admits is in its death throes. Which brings us to a central question: Who appointed Quinn as the mouthpiece for the permanent Washington establishment, if there is such an animal? A peek into Quinn’s motives reveals a hidden political agenda and the venom of a hostess scorned, and ultimately, an aging semi-journalist propped up by a cadre of media buddies, carping at the Clintons because they wouldn’t kiss her ring…
It appears that any mention of the end of the Washington social scene over ten years ago was a bit premature. Or maybe it’s just “hope”.
Pass the popcorn, the beer, and the knitting, this could get interesting.