Apr. 8th, 2017

lydamorehouse: (shield)
Today Democracy looked like Senator Klobuchar's town hall meeting in an overcrowded room in the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall in Maplewood, MN.

Democracy, today, was a little milquetoast, not unlike the senator herself.

This was a last minute town hall in response to a petition started to get her to give one, yet I think certain things were calculated on the senator's part. Maplewood is a suburb. If I had needed to take a bus to get there it would have taken an hour and 28 minutes--and that's presuming I caught my transfer on time. I actually live fairly close to this particular suburb. It's on my side of the Twin Cities.  

5 pm, when this was scheduled, is the beginning of a lot of people's dinner hour.  Luckily, my family was already planning on "yoyo" (you're on your own,) and so I just waited until we wrapped up at 6:30 pm to eat leftover wild rice soup.  She even said, a little surprised, that there were a lot of us for a Saturday at such a weird hour (like that was out of her control.)

Even so, the room was standing room only.  Apparently, the hall had the capacity to fit 400 people. 

That gave me hope that this was going to be a good meeting. But, literally no one asked Klobuchar anything hard. No one even shamed her for being slow to agree to filibuster or her shameful vote on Pompeo, nothing.  It was all "thank you for you hard work!" and "how can we help you do your job?"  

Seriously, if I didn't know better, I would have thought some of these question askers were plants. 

But, it was clear from her opening remarks that Senator Klobuchar was expecting hostility.  She painted a very clear picture of herself as someone who gets things done and who answers to The People.  She used strong words against Gorsuch and Trump--even though she's lagged behind Franken (and in some cases the rest of the Democratic Party) on every turn.  She kept telling us that 'the movement' (apparently she couldn't quite commit to calling us the resistance) was the driving force behind any of the wins, no matter how small, that have been happening in Washington, D.C.  

She was a good politician, reading the room.

What I found most interesting was her clear rivalry with Franken. She brought him up several times and poked subtle digs at his ego and showmanship.  She even told a story talking about how they both like to say they inherited Hubert Humphrey's seat (apparently, they both did, since he was both senior and junior senator at different points in his career), but, we should know, she actually has Humphrey's DESK. 

I was weirdly pleased to hear this bitterness because it's been my biggest leverage point when I talk to her staff or write letters (or faxes). I always, ALWAYS point out that Franken has taken a stance, etc., and then I needle her about being the senior senator who really should be out front.  Because I'm evil like that. (While I might be a Gryffindor, I play a Slytherin on TV.)  

Even though I was disappointed by all the softball questions, it was still interesting to go. I was surprised to hear one question asker identify as a Republican.  (It should be noted, no one booed him or mocked him.  Everyone was very respectful in general.)  But, even he asked an easy question--particularly for her--about what she's done to work with Republicans.  Answer: tons.  She's always making legislation that requires co-signers, etc., from the other side of the aisle.  (I personally think this is why she's so reluctant to make a stand in this time of need. She still thinks it's business as usual, and so she wants to keep her Republican allies sweet.)

So not what this constituent wants.  Yes, I know, governance equals compromise.  IN NORMAL TIMES.  These are not those times.  Clearly, the Republicans will nuke their own future ability to filibuster in order to shove their Supreme Court pick down America's throat.  This is not the time to play nice, and I was really hoping someone in the audience would tell Klobuchar that.

Ah well.  I suppose next time that "someone" will have to be me.

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