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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Rep. Steve Driehaus at the Health Care Reform Forum in Cincinnati

Posted by Chris Johnson

A public forum on the topic of health care was held on Monday, August 3 at the First Unitarian Church in the neighborhood of Avondale in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) of Ohio’s first Congressional District was slated to speak at the forum to answer the public’s questions on health care reform and to also brief citizens on some of the conversations that have been taking place in Congress over the last few weeks.

Citizens were lined up outside the Church’s entrance just after 6PM for the 7PM forum.  When the doors were opened at 6:30PM, the crowd made their way into a small room that could only hold 90 people.  As it quickly became clear that this room would not hold everyone, an announcement was made that the sanctuary would be the new location for this forum.  The sanctuary was overflowing with people by the time that Congressman Driehaus arrived, many people had to sit in either the choir loft or outside in the hall. 

One of the organizers of the event gave some introductory remarks which included special attention to notes that have been circulated by opponents of health care reform at various forums around the country.  These notes encourage opponents to be disruptive of the forum, to engaging in yelling and outbursts, and to make it a point to not engage in constructive discussion.  Opponents at the forum were warned to not engage in type of behavior, but it quickly became clear that these warnings would not be followed.

As Rep. Driehaus began his remarks, it became evident that the vast majority of those who had gathered for this event were planning on being disruptive and shouting both at and over Driehaus.  Many people wore shirts with the web address of the Cincinnati Tea Party organization and some even brought signs which depicted slogans that showed opposition to socialized medicine.  You will notice that Rep. Driehaus was interrupted throughout the majority of the forum.  Below are several videos of the event which encompass Rep. Driehaus’ entire participation in the forum.  Sponsors of the forum were the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Organization of Women and the Cincinnati Women’s Political Caucus:








There will be more videos posted in the coming days that will give you a glimpse of what happened after the conclusion of this forum, so check back soon.

This is crossposted here.

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  1. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Thanks for the video Chris!

  2. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    I have trouble hearing the video. Why are you all so enamored with Youtube when it is obvious that few seem to understand audio and video. They have free classes available at MediaBridges.

    It would have been better and easier to post a photo of Driehaus and put a recorder on the podium that could record with clarity and with little interference and put it all on one file.

    Has anyone got a transcript or a clear audio file?

    Or has anyone written a synopsis with the specific positions of Driehaus on this subject?

  3. MEP says:

    Looks to me like the LEFT is getting a dose of its medicine.

  4. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Looks to me like the LEFT is getting a dose of its medicine.

    Anon3/notMEP, the LEFT is not getting a taste of its own medicine. The LEFT was there and they weren’t rudely interrupting like those rightwing whack jobs were. The left waited until he gave his short presentation and asked him questions at the appropriate time. The Right was not silenced, they were stifling the discussion and this was planned ahead of time by Republicans.

    The LEFT wants a single payer system because it is the only fiscally responsible way to do the right thing and cover all Americans cradle to grave.

  5. Chris Johnson says:

    Just for the record on this, I wanted to be clear about a few things regarding the asking of questions at this forum:

    1.  Here was the format that was announced to the crowd (and that can be heard in the remarks introducing Driehaus) for the asking of questions.  The crowd was instructed to fill out index cards with their questions for Driehaus and that after his introductory remarks, he would be given select cards.  The organizers said that they would group the cards into catagories and give Driehaus cards from each catagory to assure that he would be asked a variety of questions.

    I filled out a card with the following question:

    “The last press conference that President Obama gave primarily focused on Health Care and in response to a question from NBC’s Chuck Todd, the President acknowledged that the only way that all Americans could get coverage would be under a single-payer system.  Given that you have stated that your first goal in reform should be “making sure that everyone is covered” and given that a majority of Americans favor a single-payer system, why is this option completely off of the table?”

    2.  Shortly after Driehaus began taking cards from the organizers, he expressed interest in taking some direct questions from the audience so that he could have more of a conversation with people.  This quickly melted down into people shouting over each other and at Driehaus and became a nightmare for any kind of orderly process for discussion.  He called on a few people, went back to the cards, addressed a couple of prominent shouters, etc.

    3.  Due to this process, I had slim to no chance of getting my question addressed in a meaningful manner.  The longer the forum went on, the more that it deteriorated into a shout-fest.  After the forum, I looked for an opportunity to approach Driehaus, but there was such a large group of people around him shouting at him (not to mention the police that entered to escort him from the building) that it was impossible for me to get up there and ask anything.

    I wish that a question about single-payer would have been asked, you will notice that he referenced single-payer at one point during the forum.  This sparked boos and yelling while some others clapped, but even if someone had a chance to ask about this issue, I am not sure that the question would have been fully asked without being shouted down, or that Driehaus would have been able to respond without being shouted down.

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