Earlier tonight, Rick Crawford held a “town hall” in Jonesboro, and of course I went with my handy video camera. I say “town hall” because Crawford was attempting to keep everything under control by reading questions from cards rather than let the audience get up and ask him directly. On top of that, Crawford had sent out lots of invites so the crowd that gathered there was overwhelmingly Republican and kept asking friendly questions about “Obamacare”, “czars”, NPR, the EPA and so on, going so far as to applaud at every word that came out of his mouth. You’d think that with such a friendly atmosphere the event would have run smoothly for Crawford. And you’d be mistaken. The whole thing seemed a total disaster, and Crawford found several of his constituents standing up to him.
Namely, Crawford got raked across the coals on Medicare, and at one point he not only admitted to having voted “to end Medicare as we know it”, but when the questioner objected that he was “mortgaging our children’s future” Crawford’s response was, and you can’t make this up:
Watch for yourself!
How tone deaf can you be? The exchange collapsed from there, with one member even throwing his “class warfare” argument back in his face as his supporters tried to drown her out by clapping.
But it got better.
At another point, Crawford was asked which he would rather do-cut Medicare or raise taxes on the rich. He couldn’t answer!
At the end of the video, you hear someone ask the questioner if Crawford answered his question and he snaps back, “No.”
What had to be the most jaw dropping moment of the whole thing though was the exchange Crawford had with several folks over whether he would vote to raise the debt ceiling or default on the national debt. Crawford said he would vote against raising the debt ceiling and immediately someone asked him “So you would vote to default…” Crawford’s response made my jaw hit the floor. He said he wouldn’t vote to do either! I’m usually pretty good about keeping my mouth shut when I’m behind the camera, but I couldn’t help but jump in with the group of flabbergasted people trying to convey to him that this is an either/or scenario. The guy just didn’t get it!
This man is playing Russian roulette with the global economy and doesn’t even understand it. It was a really frightening exchange when you think about the implications, made more so when he rattled out something about the Federal Reserve owning GM stock we don’t need that could keep us out of debt. I still have no idea what he was talking about there. I’ve heard the Paulbots spout out some wild stuff, but this was really insane.
Then he answered my question about his votes against protecting troop pay in the event of a government shutdown while voting to protect his own pay. Crawford said that was false and when I told him I had the record of the votes on the blog he got a little snippy with me and basically called me a liar.
Here’s the original Think Progress article that recorded the near unanimous House Republican votes on the matter. Crawford’s name is recorded voting twice against protecting the pay of soldiers serving overseas. And yes, he voted to protect his own pay. Who’s the liar here Rick?
Now again, Crawford was on friendly turf with an audience full of Republicans and only a small number of folks willing to argue with him rather than clap like a robot. One of his supporters even commented “We were way worse to Blanche Lincoln then you guys were tonight.” (To which I replied that that’s because Democrats have manners.) But apparently Crawford couldn’t take it. He was visibly upset at several points. The event was scheduled to go to 8:00 pm, but Crawford cut it short at 7:23 on the dot, saying he didn’t have time for anymore questions and then he high tailed it out of there. Wouldn’t even look at me or any of his other critics as he shot out the door. Talk about not having congressional temperament.
(Oh and FYI, this won’t be the last video I’ll be posting from Crawford’s “town hall.”)