No crumpets were served at a City Hall “Tea Party.” Instead, Republican candidates for Senate and Congress helped a crowd dish out a generous dose of anti-government, anti-Obama sentiments and campaign promises—while clashing with a gate-crasher.
The rally in moderate Connecticut offered a test for how far right the state’s Republicans are willing to go as they court the conservative base in anticipation of a slew of competitive elections in 2010.
Rally organizers invited all the Republican U.S. Senate candidates to the New Haven rally, for instance. The two leading candidates, Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons, ended up not showing.
Two other candidates did show: Senate hopeful Peter Schiff and Penny Rogers, who’s running for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. (They’re pictured above.)
Rogers and Schiff hedged on the Tea Party movement’s claims about the health care bill containing government “death panels.” But they offered other crowd-pleasers from the right, including calls to drill for more oil and to abolish the Department of Energy.
The Tea Partiers, known nationally for obstreperous crashing of Democratic politicians’ events, had a gate-crasher of their own Saturday. One member of the Schiff team wasn’t amused.
In remarks to the crowd, Schiff complained that government intervention in health care would produce even more inefficiencies. He suggested that the government open its borders to competition from foreign insurers in countries like Japan and Switzerland, which could drive costs down.
His remark about outsourcing sparked indignant remarks from the gate-crasher.
“You are betting on China!” yelled New Haven resident and liberal political blogger Edward Anderson, drawing the audience’s attention away from Schiff’s speech. “At the minimum you should be a patriot to run.”
Anderson said Schiff’s company ought to invest its funds in the U.S. rather than overseas.
Angered Schiff supporters responded with their own replies. “He can put his money where he wants!” yelled one woman, while someone else demanded, “What union is paying your health care?”
Schiff’s fiancé Martha O’brien approached Anderson. “Who’s paying you to be here?” she demanded.
Schiff reacted to Anderson’s remarks as well, telling the audience that our government’s restrictions on business have made it so “there’s more Capitalism in Communist China that in America.”
Activists at the rally carried placards and flags declaring “Don’t Tread on Me” and “ObamaCare is making us Sick.” Wayne Killburn of South Windsor erected awhite coffin on the steps of City Hall. The words “Seniors, Obama Care Wants You!” were painted on the interior of the lid. Kilburn—who carried a sign with the words “Caskets for Clunkers”—called his monument “Coffin Care to Die For,” It references the “death panels” for the elderly allegedly underwritten into Obama’s healthcare plan, according to some conservatives; the existence of such panels in the legislation has otherwise been widely debunked.
“We will not rest, we will not falter, we will not tire, and we will not fail” to combat Obama’s health reform,“Tea Party State coordinator Tanya Bachand declared to the crowd. Waving a copy of the Constitution in the air, she told the crowd that Obama “will have to tear it from my cold, dead hands.”
Rogers, who lives in Milford and owns an auto body shop, must beat Jerry Labriola Jr., treasurer of the Republican State Central Committee, in a party primary before getting the chance to take on DeLauro in November. DeLauro has held the seat for 20 years. Labriola was not spotted at Saturday’s rally.
Schiff, a libertarian who’s seeking the seat being relinquished by Democrat Chris Dodd, runs Euro Pacific Capital, an investment firm in Westport and is the author of two books, including Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse. The Senate race was shaken up by Democrat Chris Dodd’s recent decision to retire.
In remarks to the crowd, Rogers and Schiff both blamed government regulation for the health care crisis and offered private, market-based solutions. Rogers condemned Congress’s health care reform bill as “ridiculous” and overly-complicated. “We need legislation that’s simplified… Nobody knows what’s in” the more than 2,000-page bill.
Schiff cited his status as a political newcomer as a strength. He complained that Americans keep sending career politicians to Washington, who “check their principals at the door.” Schiff maintained that he is going to Washington simply to fix the country, leaving career aspirations behind.
The conversation focused on health care reform, but touched on other hot-button issues like illegal immigration and climate change. When questioned about energy policy, Schiff and Rogers tried to outdo each other with increasingly bolder statements about deregulating energy production. Schiff said he supports drilling in Alaska. Rogers added, “I’ll go further than drilling. I think we ought to reignite nuclear power plants.”
Schiff upped the ante by saying that the country ought to repeal the Department of Energy altogether and leave it to the private sector. Schiff’s company has invested millions in new drilling projects in North Dakota.
Tea Partiers and conservative figures like Sarah Palin have warned of “death panels” hidden in Obama’s health reform plan that supposedly would ration health care by deciding which old people live and die based on cost effectiveness. The candidates distanced themselves from that notion, without denying it outright.
Schiff said that “rationing happens in every country” with socialized medicine. Richer people get around it by seeking treatment abroad, he said.
Rogers said that while the term “death panels” sounds a bit extreme, a “socialized” system will lead to “tough end of life decisions.” Inevitably, questions like “Do we really want to spend money to put a hip in this 87-year-old woman?” will have to be asked under Obama’s plan, Rogers argued.
It is still unclear whether local Tea Party activists will throw their support behind the two candidates. Killburn, whose hometown lies outside of Rogers’s district, said that he has not decided if he will support Schiff, who “knows money” well but is a “one-horse candidate.”
Bachand said that personally she prefers Schiff for Senate but cannot make an official endorsement on behalf of Connecticut’s Tea Party so soon in the game.
What is under attack is good ‘ole decent protest sign making. Talk about unimaginative graphic design…see above. My aesthetic liberties are UNDER ATTACK. Two thumbs up on the coffin, though. What, you and the kid bang that thing together under the carport last weekend?
posted by: robn on January 18, 2010 3:23pm
“Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse”
“I think we ought to reignite nuclear power plants”
Boy…Mr Schiff has a way with words. Is he trying to lose ??? is this a joke candidacy or something?
posted by: mikepc on January 18, 2010 3:47pm
I hope the Department of Home Land Security has agents in the crowd taking down names and taking picutures of these dangerous radicals whose pose such a treat to the security of this country. The next thing you know these people will actually want to vote.
posted by: Esteban on January 18, 2010 3:58pm
Much of Europe runs very nicely on nuclear energy. France and Finland in particular. It is unfortunate that we can’t see beyond our uninformed fears on the subject.
That said, these tea party folks are indeed a disturbed bunch of fear mongers. How they simply ignore the successful public health programs of nearly all the modern western and asian industrial economies is simply not rational.
Special thanks to Ed Anderson for standing up to these people. More of us should have been out there shouting BOO!
posted by: William Kurtz on January 18, 2010 4:25pm
Crazy people stand on the street in New Haven telling passers-by that the CIA is spying on them through their TV set, and everybody walks past. Crazy people stand on the street in New Haven telling passers-by that Obama wants to kill their grandmothers, it makes the news. When Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson are hustling people for spare change, all will be right with the world.
posted by: blue dog dem on January 18, 2010 5:47pm
RobN: Rogers, not Schiff, stated “reignite nuclear power plants.” Zak: Instead of alleging and so forth, you should take the time to review both bills from Congress being reconciled. There will be rationing and they are using the failed system in MA as their example. Could be why Coakley had a 35 point negative swing in the past six weeks. Tomorrow could very well be the death knell for socialized medicine in the US. So tell all your progressive friends north of our border to vote early and often.
posted by: abg on January 18, 2010 10:02pm
Does Schiff hold a single position that is not based on what is good for his investment company? At what point is he going to put his investments in a blind trust?
posted by: FairHavenRes on January 18, 2010 10:10pm
There are 47 million AmAmericansithout hehealth-care
Do these folks just want us to forget about them?
Where is the Republican proposal to reform health care? ReReaganomicsTrickle Down?
47 million Americans have been “trickled on” by the insurance industry and the rich of this country for long enough. It’s time for a little trickle up. ...
posted by: Tanner on January 19, 2010 9:04am
If the Kennedy seat is lost in Massachusetts do you think people in Connecticut newspapers might view the tea party’s as something more then anti-Obama hissy fits? Yes alot of people don’t have insurance and a trip to the doctor makes you sick with worry. But adding adding another irresponsible tier to the bankrupted Medicare, Social Security and state programs is what people are worried about.
posted by: robn on January 19, 2010 9:18am
Social Security is not bankrupt. The policy of borrowing against the social security trust fund is bankrupt. You can mostly thank Ronald Reagan and George W Bush for the radical increase in national debt.
Problem with borrowing is that loans always come due someday. That someday is today.
posted by: Walt on January 19, 2010 9:36am
Not as far out as Schiff and the teabaggers, but Obamacare and the Dems who support should be flushed down the drain.
Anybody but the Obamacrats who have turned the Dems from champions for the old to the prime enemy of those on Medicare. . Simmons for Senate and Rogers or anyone other than Rosa for the House is our best bet.
posted by: Hansa on January 19, 2010 9:48am
If only Ted Kennedy’s invention, the HMOs, has died with him, then maybe CALLING a doctor to visit our bedsides would be possible, and affordable. Keep in mind that medical costs rose sharply with each govt intervention.
I don’t recall 10% annual increases in medical costs before Hillary Care birthed its illegitimate children, such as HIPAA, COBRA. People call them necessary now, but they haven’t saved any lives, just made the lives we have that much more expensive.
I say, Throw out all govt law involving money + medicine. Let the doctors do their job taking care of us, instead of being pulled by HMOs and bureaucrats.
posted by: streever on January 19, 2010 1:37pm
Do these people have any ideas? All they say is what Bush/Reagan said: cut the spending. That’s not what EITHER did, as Robn points out.
Look folks, France has the best healthcare system on earth independently ranked, with longer life span, lower infant mortality, and higher patient satisfaction. They also pay less money overall for their health care then we do.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that government run health care might be a good idea.
posted by: blue dog dem on January 19, 2010 7:20pm
They also have 30% unemployment and no jobs for anyone under the age of 30. Sounds like a great economic system to me.
posted by: streever on January 19, 2010 9:10pm
the unemployment is completely unrelated to the superior health care they enjoy and the higher standard of living.
Though you are actually lying—the CIA lists their unemployment rate at 10%.
Youth unemployment is “higher then 20%” however, they do not have a nation-wide 30% unemployment rate for all citizens, nor is it true that “no one under 30” can get a job.
As you seem keen on pointing out factual errors in others comments, perhaps you should do some research instead of just spewing nonsense?
I’m sorry if I’m being rude to you, but I can’t stand people who lie/are ignorant and use their incorrect statements to further their own agenda. It’s my biggest pet peeve.
posted by: Tom Harned on January 19, 2010 10:39pm
Blue Dog Dem,
France doesn’t have 30% employment. European countries also calculate unemployment very differently from us, so you can’t compare our rates to theirs in any meaningful sense anyway. If we followed their methods our unemployment rate would be much higher. If you want to have an honest debate about the government’s role in health care, more power to you, but don’t waste everyone’s time by throwing around made up numbers.
posted by: blue dog dem on January 20, 2010 8:55am
My statement was a generalization re the under 30 crowd. Of course there are people under 30 employed there, but I believe everyone can remember the violent riots by the teens and 20 somethings a few years ago, caused mostly by the rampant unemployment.
In re to the unemployment not directly correlated with the health care, you are wrong for the following reason: if gov’t healthcare as it currently written becomes law, no one with a small business will be seeking additional employees to add to his bottom line. That is not an American thing, that is a capitalist thing, and anyone who owns a business is a capitalist - it just depends to what extent.
I don’t know how many you employ, though I reviewed your site recently because I needed to hire a web designer as I started another business. I have many employees, though I have laid off the less productive as times are tightening. I am not going to allow my family to suffer if my taxes go up, or if I am forced to buy healthcare from the gov’t. All my employees currently have rolls royce plans and I am not paying a 40% tax on them, so I will make the corresponding changes so that they have worse plans than now and if my costs go up, I will reduce my staff accordingly so that I make the same amount of money. I didn’t spend my lifetime building a business to give it away to the gov’t.
In re to French unemployment being ten percent, it is because those not working generally give up, similar to the 7 - 8% who have given up here in the US. The true number of those on the gov’t dole is much larger than those just considered unemployed. I suggest you turn your research to total francs spent in “pensions” and the amount of “pensioners” versus the total adult population of the country. Therein you will find the numbers closer to what I wrote yesterday rather than what you and Mr. Harned claim. I believe that you can find it with age classifications, saving someone else posting that France’s population is filled with an over 70 crowd.
posted by: Peggy Rogers on January 20, 2010 4:53pm
((There are 47 million Americans without health-care
Do these folks just want us to forget about them?))
No, I do not want to just “forget about them”, but I do not want to see them fined up to $250,000 or thrown in jail for five years if they don’t have insurance.
I believe a that health care reform can be better accomplished by the following steps:
1. Repeal McCarran-Ferguson which makes the insurance companies exempt from anti-trust legislation. 2. Remove the mandates. I believe that you know better what you need your health insurance to cover better than some bureaucrat in Washington. 3. Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines. 4. Remove the requirement that a person must be a “bona fide full-time employee” in order to be covered by his/her employer’s insurance plan. 5. Give a payroll (not income or corporate tax) credit to smaller employers that provide health insurance to at least 95% of their employees. (Employees covered under a spouse’s or parent’s policy would count toward this percentage. 6. Provide for a tax disincentive to larger companies who do not have at least 90% of their entire workforce (including part-time employees) covered. 7. Guarantee portability of coverage. This is already in effect in Connecticut. 8. Tort reform.
I believe that we should pass these reforms first and see how it works out and then add or subtract from there. These should be 8 separate bills, so that no one sticking point holds up the rest. They should take effect immediately (or as soon as is practical) upon passage.
I firmly believe that these steps would do more to reform health care insurance and make it more affordable without turning 16% of our economy over to the government, and without decimating our current health care system—which is among the best and most innovative in the world.
posted by: blue dog dem on January 22, 2010 12:07am
Its been over 36 hours since my last post and I was just wondering if you had done the research that I suggested because it proved my point. Since you called me a liar, spewing nonsense and being ignorant, I just wanted to find out whether or not you still felt that way after calculating those persons living in France under 65 not employed full-time. Since I never post anything without knowing it to be true, and try not to insult others the way you insulted me, I hope that you took the time to find out the truth.
posted by: streever on January 22, 2010 8:34am
Blue dog: your numbers are still incorrect. Why should I respond to someone desperate to ignore reality to prove his biased agenda?
... Do you just not want to see improvements? It’s like the southern republicans who are the largest recipient of welfare who vote for candidates who promise to eliminate welfare. ...
posted by: streever on January 22, 2010 8:41am
blue dog dem:
I’ll remind you as to my original comment: economic system out of the picture, France has a better health care system (independently ranked #1) which costs less per person then we spend on health care.
It focuses on preventive care and should be a model for all nations, no matter what you think about France or it’s politics.
Explain to me how your “30% unemployment” comment is even remotely relevant to the fact that they have a BETTER and CHEAPER health care system then we do.
posted by: blue dog dem on January 22, 2010 8:57am
My numbers aren’t wrong, just your logic and “facts.” The inner cities receive the greatest amount of welfare, not southerners. Thats why the Dems do so well in the inner cities, as the recipients don’t want to kill the golden goose. I am not desperate as I know change in healthcare is needed, and will readily accept it if it is truly for change and not gov’t takeover. I just don’t want or need to be subjected to the restraints imposed by a gov’t system destined to fail.
The fact that you are self-employed, hoping the gov’t will pay for your healthcare (via my taxes) so you don’t have to is pathetic. Now that all the incumbents are too scared to impose socialism on the country there might just be real reform. Some of the things Rogers posted above are a good start, without destroying the economy.
As far as your personal attacks… As Lanny Davis stated after being rebuked by his progressive friends for his op-ed in the Post, “once the personal attacks come it just shows they have lost the argument.”
posted by: blue dog dem on January 22, 2010 10:35am
How unemployment equates to healthcare is something I brushed on, but will be much more specific now.
An employer will not hire an employee if that employee is going to drive up costs more than what he will produce. In the small business market, I will not hire someone who gets paid $50k with another $40k in benefits and tax consequences unless that person will produce at least $10k after taxes into my pocket. Therefore if gov’t mandated care creates an additional cost of $5 - 10K over the $40K, this employee (in the future EE, employer ER) will now cost his ER $100k, so it drives up the cost of the ER hiring an additional EE, making the need for them to produce $10-15K in my pocket to be worth hiring.
Put this on a grand scale and it suppresses a certain percentage of hires (leading to higher unemployment) because those costs cannot be recaptured so therefore not worth spending. Remember mom and pop’s are the lifeblood to our economy.
For example, if the market would hire 1,000 new EEs, but those hypothetical costs go into effect, now it will only hire 850 or 900, leading to 10-15% unemployment when there would have been less.
In the large scale marketplace, big business just passes along the costs to the consumer. For example, after layoffs, etc, Tropicana decided to reduce the size of its largest container from 96 oz to 88 (I believe, but don’t say I’m spreading misinformation because I don’t know the exact size). This saved them over 10% because the smaller containers contained less plastic and were cheaper to make, making their savings more than just the percentage decrease in packaging size. Also juice costs are less than manufacturing costs. So therefore the corp reduces costs by over 10%, but passes none of the savings onto the consumer. If they are charged greater costs via taxes or gov’t mandated healthcare, they will reduce their workforce to the bare bones and then keep reducing the size of their packaging until it is not worth purchasing, and then they will either merge or go out of business. Therefore unemployment stays high, or is in direct relationship to what the business cycle spends. If my costs go down, I hire. Conversely, if my costs go up, I downsize or hold steady.
As far as France’s healthcare system, I know of no one, including myself, that has used it, so I will defer to your statement as to how wonderful it is. However, I stick to all my statements above, as knowing markets and benefits is what I do for a living and am considered quite good at it. And considering most of my money is either in fixed investments or if in equities, is overseas and none of it is invested in Western Europe.
posted by: blue dog dem on January 22, 2010 11:36am
I clicked send before completing my last thought:
my money is not invested in Western Europe ... those are the countries you progressives are stating have the best healthcare systems. Then why are very few fund managers and individual investors putting their money into their economies/domestic corporations? Why is all the money going into the countries with the worst gov’t-run healthcare plans? I don’t know of too many sector funds specializing in Western Europe, though there are hundreds for the Far East or Eastern Europe.
Answer: Because too much money goes into subsidizing healthcare and not into the economy, thereby destroying it and raising up its competitors (such as Eastern Europe - the originator of socialized medicine and the Far East). Economic growth cannot be sustained for long periods of time if it is subsidizing healthcare. You cannot give one example of a country having socialized medicine for more than 6 decades that has a higher GDP growth rate than the US. Almost all of the countries in the EU would trade their economic growth for that of their non-member neighbors and healthcare has been a major culprit for this lack of growth.
When healthcare and benefit costs create unemployment that leads to more people on the gov’t dole. Therefore increased taxes must be paid to subsidize those not working, either by being pensioners or by being unemployed. Therefore a businessowner now has an additional debt that must be paid making the $90,000 EE a $110K EE, further increasing unemployment as less persons will be hired due to the increased costs. After a while business owners will determine that it is better to retire than constantly strain under oppressive taxes and regulations, creating greater unemployment.