by Frank Lewis
But when Fudge’s meeting let out, they’d been replaced by a team of LaRouchies passing out pictures of President Obama sporting a tiny Hitler moustache and dense, wordy pamphlets titled “Act Now to Stop Obama’s Nazi Health Care Plan!” The cult of former fringe presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche takes a backseat to no one when it comes to The Crazy. Even the right-wingers yelling about socialism and euthanizing the elderly steer clear.
What had originally been planned as a “state of the district” speech turned into a de facto health-care forum; all but one of the dozens of questions asked concerned health care. CWRU’s 500-capacity Ford Auditorium was packed, and it was clear from the start that the crowd was supportive of the congresswoman, who is a strong advocate of health-care reform. She said that that “will be the most important thing this congress will do,” earning a round of cheers and a handful of boos. She got the same response when she said of the wilted economy, “We didn’t get this way overnight; we won’t fix it overnight — it took eight years of destruction.”
As she spoke, she was interrupted by someone yelling about “passing a bill to kill old people.” Fudge responded, “Anyone who would believe that anyone in this country would euthanize old people has really got a problem." But the screamer kept screaming and was hauled out by a couple of cops. That pretty much put the lid on disruptive shouting.single-payer advocates wanting to know why that approach is not under consideration, and anti-reform types spouting misleading talking points and misinformation. The anti-reform people complained about tax dollars paying for abortion (Fudge reminded the questioner that with a public option, people will still pay a premium and deserve the same services anyone else gets), about illegal aliens getting free health care and about cost.
“When George Bush became president, he had a $10 trillion surplus,” Fudge pointed out to more cheers [see note below]. “He left us in the worst economic condition in decades. If we had not found a way to right the ship, we’d be in worse shape. We’re not going to apologize for doing what we believe is right.”
A woman in a wheelchair said she’d like to be able to work without losing her health coverage. Another said she had been turned down by 14 insurance companies because of a family history of cancer. Medical students talked about the staggering cost of their education and how it limited their career choices. A critical-care nurse pointed to the need for the end-of-life counseling that’s been distorted and demonized as “euthanizing old people,” talking about seeing families in chaos because they haven’t discussed such issues.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We were remiss in not pointing out when this was posted that Fudge's assertion about a $10 trillion surplus is inaccurate. We're not sure whether she meant to say "billion," but that would have been wrong too. The budget surplus at the time that President Bush took office was $128 billion.