GOPers have been besieged by ‘gotcha’ questions at Town Hall events such as, “Why are we called to sacrifice and the wealthy are not?” Those questions can put constituents on a ‘watch list’ — some of the photos on the list were obtained from Facebook profiles, then circulated to the attendees. In other words, it’s best to not ask questions.
Think Progress reported last April from Rep. Webster’s home district on a Town Hall event where the Congressman, who supports tax breaks for the wealthy and eliminating Medicare as we know it, faced a barrage of criticism — which is exactly how you get on this list. One of the constituents TP interviewed, Tamecka Pierce, ended up as #5 on the “Watch List.”
Ms. Pierce asked Webster about what would happen to people like her (she was undergoing chemo treatment) with major preexisting conditions under the Republican budget. Due to her expressing disappointment in Webster avoiding the question, she is now ‘listed’.
Update: Paul Frank comments in the thread below:
The Representative Daniel Webster who you speak of, replaced Representative Alan Grayson, one of the most outspoken progressive members of the previous Congress. Webster’s religious mentor, Bill Gothard, is a biblical literalist who is proponent of stoning among other things. Webster sidestepped questions during the campaign about whether he supports stoning and other extreme measures discussed in the Bible. Maybe Tamecka Pierce was lucky to make it out alive.
The GOPers attempt at intimidating the public did not end there — a staffer for Rep. Steve Chabot instructed a police officer to seize cameras and cell phones recently from two Democratic activists in attendance at his event. Instead of back-stepping on the practice of intimidation, they escalated it with their police state-style watch list.
Freshmen GOPers Reps. Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Tim Griffin (R-AZ):
Rep. Webster’s Winter Garden, Florida district office gave out a “Watch List” of six Floridians who had asked questions at Webster’s previous town halls. The list, with the header “For the Media,” included names, photographs, and questions that members of the media should ask them.
The Watch List itself doesn’t contain any information on who wrote it or where it comes from.The memos surfaced in Arkansas in connection to the office of Rep. Tim Griffin, and were traced back to Rep. Webster’s office.
With black and white photos that resemble police surveillance, some of them pulled from the individuals’ Facebook profiles, the memo is clearly meant to intimidate these six people and anyone else who might stand up and ask a question of their elected representative. At a Griffin town hall, staffers were handing out the Watch List to attendees, calling it their “homework.” Griffin staffers were also spotted taking photos and shooting video of attendees, creating an extra layer of intimidation.
To investigate your constituents for asking questions at an event to answer questions, is intimidation.
While Webster and Griffin are ostensibly making these lists to screen out paid activists, the people they are targeting are regular constituents who have simply spoken up and expressed their disagreement about important policy decisions. Nevertheless, Webster staffers clearly went out of their way to investigate the backgrounds of these individuals and insinuate people like them are not welcome at future town halls.
Last April, Progressive radio host Nicole Sandler was arrested for asking a question at another Town Hall event. Ms. Sandler is one of Rep. Allen West’s constituents.
To compare disruptive Town Hall events from Tea Partiers during the Health Care talks and recent budget Town Hall events, FON published this last April including the video of Ms. Sandler’s arrest — the difference is vast. Ironically, the freshmen GOPers who object to these events while putting them on the McCarthy style watch lists are Tea Party backed.
This is the same Tea ‘Get your government hands off my Medicare’ Party, who is now putting their hands on our Medicare – but, don’t ask questions – that would be disruptive.
Many thanks to Think Progress