Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Phil Roe's Town Hall Extravaganza

The Johnson City Press and The Kingsport-Times News reported Rep. Phil Roe's Town Hall meeting regarding health care reform. Two newspapers. One reporter. Same story. The tone of the article was to dismiss those who advocate for reform as "emotional."

One woman recounted an experience in which she was turned away from a hospital emergency room because “the waiting room was packed with the uninsured.”

“I was told to go to another hospital,” she said. “Meanwhile my system was going septic. Triage in this (health care system) is broken, and it will continue to be broken until the poor and the uninsured have other options than the emergency room.”

The rest of the woman’s message was punctuated with applause that escalated as her volume increased.

“Republicans have said that defeating health care will bring them back to power in 2010,” she said. “Although they had eight years, all we got was an underfunded prescription drug plan for seniors that has a big doughnut hole in it. Please tell your cronies to stop playing politics with our lives.”

Roe asked the other speakers to keep a quiet tone.

“I didn’t understand half of what you said because you were yelling,” he told the woman.

A commenter on the Times-News website. Janet Meek, countered the article with this perspective:
I was at this Town Hall meeting. The woman referred to in this poorly written article was obviously nervous at the microphone, she was emotional but not in any way threatening. It was clear that this woman had an unfortunate experience that she was reacting to and she needed Congressman Roe’s understanding and not his sarcasm. What the article overlooked was that the majority of the people who spoke were in favor of meaningful health care reform. The audience was calm and no one was interrupted or yelled at. People took turns at the microphone and both sides stated their concerns and observations. The one consistent comment I heard after the meeting was how calm it was and how well it went. I am just sorry that the reporter for this story was unable to get this in print and instead chose to elevate one person’s emotional story into some kind of distorted headliner.
My Presby peeps were there. Here's the word from one of them:
First Pres was well-represented, with a number of us there and challenging questions for Roe by Deborah ____ and Lydia _____. Can't wait to see the papers tomorrow - progressives definitely got in some zingers!
You wouldn't know it by reading the paper.

Thank Odin for Twitter. Here are Tracey's tweets from the Phil Roe Show:

  • Going to Roe's JC townhall tomorrow night. Hmmmm...which gun goes best with peaceable assembly?
  • Just kidding. I have faith tomorrow's meeting will be a calm and respectful gathering.
  • At town hall, so far so guns, no screaming
  • ...In meeting. Very calm. Weird smell.
  • Listening to Dr. Roe talk about...well, himself.
  • Roe: talking about unfunded fed mandates, how can we spend when people don't have health insurance? NO sense of irony.
  • I feel like I am at a campaign event. Quit trying to get re-elected and let's get to the issues.
  • Talk about the issues already...
  • 85% of signs here are opposing abortion
  • Roe just misquoted DYLAN. For shame.
  • Roe: more about politics as usual. Again, no sense of irony.
  • AGAIN with the false TennCare comparison
  • AGAIN with the pro-HSA talk. HSAs are for the wealthy and healthy, Dr Roe, NOT for families!
  • Roe just suggested the bill would allow gov funded abortions.
  • Roe: now suggesting death panels are found in bill
  • questions just started - pro reform woman got booed.
  • Libertarian Teabaggers have taken over the questions.
  • Beth is OWNING Roe!
  • Roe is stopping the questions now.
  • "We Are Not Raciests" full sign
  • I am going home to my wonderful and well-insured family. I am a very lucky American.
Now that is reporting, gol'darnit. You feel like you are there!

Don't forget to send your personal stories about health care to the Johnson City Press.


  1. I'm so glad Deb, Lydia and Tracy were there! Wish I could have been.

    And yes, I'll be sending my health care story in to the JC Press - and the seemingly biased reporting (it is no surprise that a small city paper like the JCP would opt to create the impression of drama.
    Be sure to check Open Pen. Beth (I'm assuming the same one that "owned" Dr. Roe, has a piece there.

  2. By the way, Tracy has a video of Beth's interaction with Roe at her great, albeit fattening blog SouthernFemaleLawyer.

  3. Tracey's bloggin' on the sly. She tweets, she blogs, she bakes. Thanks for both of those links Snad.

  4. Yes, Tracy bakes (and cooks!), she sings, she goes around lawyering, and she's cute, too! I would hate Tracy if she weren't so danged sweet!

  5. Doesn't the Kingsport Times-News own the Johnson City press? I think so, and that is one reason why the reporting was so slanted. Ted Como, the editor of Times-News is a hard right winger. His editorials are RNC talking points.

    Roe will be holding another town hall on Thursday Sept 3rd at the new Center for Higher Education at 300 W Market Street. Time is 6:30 till 8. Hope some of you can come.

  6. I was at the Johnson City town hall meeting. I found Roe's performance a litany of lies, fabrications, and evasions. He hides behind his history as an OB/Gyn because the non-medical public doesn't realize that 98% of all deliveries happen despite the presence of an OB/Gyn. I've delivered 7 during my years in medicine and am not in awe of Mr. Roe. He seems to have a history of refusing to see patients who have no insurance. That surfaced at the meeting I attended but was quickly silenced.

    This is the letter I will be sending to his office and to the local papers today.

    Mr. Roe, I note your recent appointment as chair of the House subcommittee for Health, Employment, Labor, and Pension. Once again, your GOP\Teavangelists demonstrate the degree of their disconnection from the reality of life for far too many American citizens. In fact, I can’t think of anyone less qualified to chair such a sub-committee.
    One would think that your years as a physician might have conveyed a bit of understanding about how poorly health care is provided to most Americans. Since most physicians are afforded professional courtesy by their colleagues, allowing them to avoid worries about finding a competent physician and paying for his/her services. When you trumpet your “over 5000 deliveries” you fail to mention that you’ve essentially received free medical care from the day you entered medical school.
    Dealing with Employment for the GOP is a one-note performance. “Tax cuts for the rich will magically create jobs.” Where, Mr. Roe, are the jobs created by the Bush Era Tax Cuts? Easily answered, they’re all offshore because no super rich American is going to pay a living wage to American workers unless forced to do so. Two years from today, I’m sure that “Where are the jobs?” can be answered using the same sentence.
    That also applies to Labor. We all know how the GOP feels about labor; sub-minimum, off the books, to illegals or not at all.
    Pensions? I’m sure yours is safe. I’m sure the bankers and financiers will recall that you voted against financial reform.
    What else have you done for N.E. TN? You’ve voted to increase the debt in order to assure your rich owners continued tax cuts. You’ve voted against allowing members of the military to admit openly to being gay for fear that “Potentially there could be some consequences.” You’ve voted for the continuation of mountain top removal, for the continued destruction of TN streams and wildlife.
    You’ve whined like a third grader about having to work after Christmas, about having to “Bring the entire House of Representatives back (to vote on the continuing budget resolution). That’s your job, Mr. Roe. You and the rest of the GOP\teavangelists have spent 11 months delaying any action on any bill or resolution that you could. Don’t complain to me or anyone else about having to work when you’d rather be elsewhere. There are millions of unemployed and under-employed (remember those off-shored jobs) who would walk back to Washington D.C. in order to complete the job if they were fortunate enough to have the chance of employment.
    Please don’t insult us by “Co-sponsoring any bill to cut Congressional salaries. We both know that bill will never reach the floor of the House.
    Nothing you’ve done since you became “my employee” causes me to find you worthy of retention. I’m sure the coal and natural gas industries, the big banks, and the wealthiest Americans will grade your performance differently. They can afford to keep you on their payrolls. But we citizens of TN who know what it is to work weekends, holidays, and to miss vacations can’t afford your services.

  7. Well, I often use the woman's experience when I'm complaining about Roe, which is every single solitary day. I feel it's my duty.

    I should go to church there but I live in bristol . Moved here from Florida where I went regularly. Came here three years ago. Went to fifteen church/hate groups. Before giving up. I have church alone. Out of fifteen, the name Jesus Christ never came up at 6 of them. Bu the name Obama came up at almost all of them.

    How does an area become so ignorant. Sounds like you folks there have some LOVE to share. Hope to join you sometime...