Friday, August 14, 2009

Public? Town Hall? Rally? Where?

Over the last twenty-four hours there has been quite the brouhaha over Senator Blanche Lincolns Non-Town Hall, Town Hall meeting. After making calls to the senator’s office consistently over the past two weeks and being repeatedly told she was not having a public forum on healthcare, you can imagine my surprise when the following came in an email from Organizing for America on Thursday around 6pm:

Benton Co Democratic Party Event in Rogers with Sen. Lincoln(Health Care Public Event)
I wanted to send you an urgent invitation to an important public meeting with Sen. Blanche Lincoln this Saturday, August 15th. She'll be talking to constituents and gathering feedback -- this is an ideal opportunity to make sure your support for health insurance reform is seen and heard at exactly the right time.Our congressional representatives are back home this month, and they're facing more and more pressure from special interests on health insurance reform. It's critical that we get out there and show them where we stand.
What: Public meeting withSen. Blanche LincolnWhere: Samaritan Community Center 1211 W Hudson RdRogers, AR 72756 When: Saturday, August 15thArrival Time: 3:30 p.m.Start Time: 4:30 p.m.Our representatives are under attack by Washington insiders, insurance companies, and well-financed special interests who don't go a day without spreading lies and stirring up fear. We need to show that we're sick and tired of it, and that we're ready for real change, this year.Please come to the meeting, and make sure that the most powerful voices in this debate are those calling for real reform, not angrily clamoring for the status quo.Thanks,KyleKyle SimonArkansas State DirectorOrganizing for AmericaP.S. -- Before the event,
please print off a flyer to display and make sure that your support is visible.

After making a few calls we (Arkansas Unite) decided that we would like to have a chance to participate in what seemed to be the only chance we would have to address our senator with questions and concerns we have on the healthcare issue…being this was a “ Health Care Public Event”
We began to facebook, twitter and email our members across the state this message,,notifying them of our opportunity to address our senator.

Around noon today (Friday) I received an email from Debbie Rambo, Executive Director of the Samaritan Community Center which read in part:

It has come to my attention that an organization entitled Arkansas Unite has recently sent out an e-mail that states that Senator Blanche Lincoln has scheduled a town hall meeting on Health Care Reform that will be held at our building on Saturday evening .
Please note that this information is NOT correct... I have been repeatedly assured by the event organizer that this is not a town hall type of forum, and there will not be questions and answers… Please note that I have also notified the state director of the Arkansas Democratic Party, as well as the state director for Organizing for America (Kyle Simon) that this is NOT a public (or private) healthcare forum and requested that this information be removed from the Organizing for America website immediately.

**As of right now Friday at 10:47pm OFA’s site reads - Benton Co Democratic Party Event at Blowing Springs Park with Sen. Lincoln (Health Care Public Event)- note the change in location

Around 4pm today (Friday) I received another email from Ms. Rambo stating, “Please note that the Democratic Rally scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Samaritan Community Center has been cancelled.”

Boy the stuff was really beginning to hit the fan. So I decided to do a little google search I found this-
Lincoln: Event won’t be health care forum
— Posted by John Lyon on August 14th, 2009
U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln wants everyone to know that an upcoming rally in Benton County is not a public forum on health care.
In a news release, Lincoln’s campaign said today that Saturday’s annual Benton County Democratic Rally was incorrectly described in e-mails issued by the Washington-based group Organizing for America as a “health care public event.”
“The Benton County Democrats have planned this event for months and Sen. Lincoln believes it is unfortunate that the erroneous e-mail by Organizing for America has misstated its purpose,” Lincoln’s campaign manager, Steve Patterson, said in the release.

Well now we can all understand how a mistake like that can be made but then up pops this jewel from

Real Voices for Change Action
Samaritan Community Center in Rogers, 1211 Hudson RoadRogers, AR 72756Saturday, August 15th, 4:30 PM
Let's keep the momentum going! Please sign up for this gathering right away!
Please join us at the Benton County Democratic Committee Summer Picnic/Rally as we ask Senator Lincoln to support a strong public health care option. To enter this event, you must purchase a ticket, but we will be holding signs out front. Tickets are $5 to enter and $10 if you would like a meal. If ...(
more)you're interested in buying tickets, please contact any of the following people ASAP. Carole Westby, 876-… c:640-….; Charles Aldrich, 636-….; or Bill Millager, 636-…..

One might argue that Organizing for America could send an “erroneous email” and get is wrong, being that they are supposedly an arm of the Obama Administration, but to try and convince me that an organization with an impeccable reputation for facts such as got it wrong is a whole nother matter. What really strikes me as peculiar is the names at the bottom of the email from, Carole Westby, Charles Aldrich & Bill Millager. Umm I have seen these names somewhere before…where was it? OH! I know here on the Benton county Democrats’ site on Aug 4th announcing the “Summer Rally/Picnic”

Good Times Are Here!
Written by Bill Millager
Tuesday, 04 August 2009 08:39
Join Senator Blanche Lincoln and other Distinguished Speaker at our Summer Rally/Picnic Please buy your tickets well in advance from Carole Westby, 876-…. c:640-….; Charles Aldrich, 636-….; or Bill Millager, 636-….
Now am I supposed to believe that the contacts being the same for both organizations (Benton County Dems and had a miscommunication between themselves? Well let’s just say I “report, you decide”.
I am not saying this happened (and I am not, not saying it either) but it looks like what might have been a plan to STACK a meeting with friendlies and perhaps have a very favorable Town Hall for the news media got just a little out of hand.
Not only did the email from Organizing for America say it was a “public” event, they had a link for attendees to print off a sign and encouraged people to “make sure that the most powerful voices in this debate are those calling for real reform”. While the Benton County Dems, oops I mean,’s email stated “we will be holding signs out front”. One might tend to think with that kind of verbiage there was going to be a little more going on than just sippin ice tea, eatin watermelon and listenin to the good ole fashion political rhetoric.

At around 9 pm this evening, we received word from a source that in fact the meeting has not been cancelled but moved to a different location. You think they did that on purpose? I am beginning to get the impression they don’t want anyone who might disagree or have questions that challenge the senator’s logic supporting the current health care bill to not show up, YA think?

All that said, I am sure that Senator Lincoln and the Democrats of Arkansas, specifically Benton County never intended to shirk those of us that disagree with her stance on the pending healthcare bill and have every intention of letting us know in the morning of the current location (*wink* we already know), so that we will have a chance as voters, constituents and concerned citizens to address our senator before she heads back to Washington to cast her vote impacting the lives of all Arkansans, especially those who oppose this egregious proposed healthcare legislation.


RayZorback said...

HAHAHA! I just wrote a blog post detailing my end of this thing. Amazing to see how all of this spreads! GOOD! We need to be holding them accountable!
Check out my post if you don't mind.
It is from a totally different angle, but same net effect. lolz!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Isn't she supposed to represent ALL Arkansans???

Skip said...

Laurie and Razorback, thanks for that. It was very clear and concise as well as unfortunate. It saddens me this kind of thing took place. I am proud to hear many Arkansans chose to attend from all over. These were people who typically would not show up for this type of event. But felt the need to if only to get a chance to express their concern for what is happening in Congress. Sadly, sounds like many had to pay for that privilege, both in money for a ticket and gas as well as their time. What does it say that the people of her state will pay and travel in order to be heard.

I am sure the coffers of the Benton County Democratic really benefited. But it is Shame Money. They should donate all that money collected to a local animal shelter or a soup kitchen. They didn't get that money because people supported their cause. They got it because Senator Lincoln held us hostage to paying to see her. What a shame.

This should send a message to Senator Lincoln, we are not happy. Your time has passed. We are ready for change. No matter how much money you raise for your next campaign. It will not be enough. We are a state, one of only 23 which has a state motto. And that state motto is Regnat Populus, The People Rule. And no elected politician should ever forget it.

-Friend of Trevor Drown-

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