Sunday, September 20, 2009

Was Marion Berry even awake during the August recess?

Originally posted on Boot Berry!

Apparently he wasn't awake enough to hear the tremendous uproar that emanated from virtually every town hall meeting across the nation, including those held in Arkansas.

Of course, he never held any town halls to listen to 1st District constituents. Not one time throughout the entire month of August was he present at one of the numerous events held across the state to give voice to concerned Arkansans who wanted to be heard. When we contacted his office to ask when the Congressman would give his constituents their say, we were told he had no town halls scheduled.

On August 22, Recess Rallies were held outside Berry's Jonesboro, Mountain Home, and Cabot offices in an effort to get across just how outraged his constituents are at the prospect of turning over our health care system to the federal government. The Congressman was invited to attend the Cabot rally, but declined. Hundreds of Arkansans gave up a beautiful Saturday to make their unresponsive, almost reclusive Representative understand just how deep the roots of their opposition to Obamacare run.

Other Arkansas elected officials began the month with no intention of listening to their constituents, but were convinced to change their tune by the rising level of opposition to socialized medicine in America. Representatives Vic Snyder and Mike Ross, along with Senator Blanche Lincoln changed their tunes to stand before some of their constituents at the very least. Though some of their town halls were tightly controlled, Berry's legislative branch colleagues did hear their constituents' concerns.

No one really knows where Blanche Lincoln stands at the moment (one day she said she wouldn't vote for a plan that included a government option, then the next day recanted), but Mike Ross admitted his constituents had convinced him they were overwhelmingly opposed to a government takeover and he unequivocally stated he would vote against any plan that contained such an option. Even Vic Snyder, who represents what is arguably the most liberal district in the state, was forced to concede that a public option wasn't essential to the bill. From the Arkansas News, "Snyder said he would not vote against a plan simply because it contained a public option, but he differs with those who see a public option as a necessity."

Berry's unwillingness to listen to his constituents apparently shielded him from the smelling salts that opened the eyes of his colleagues. According to Rick Crawford, the only announced Republican candidate for Berry's seat in 2010, "Just this last week, Congressman Berry said publicly that he is supportive of a public option on health care and it is not a deal breaker for him."

In response to President Obama's lie-laden address to Congress last week, Berry sent out a press release that demonstrates his inability to understand the concerns of his constituency. He attacks the free market system now in place. You know, the one that draws citizens of countries that have government-run systems when their nanny-state systems fail them. He fails to comprehend that Americans don't trust Congress to "fix" the system when he states, "We must have health insurance reform but we must work to find a fiscally responsible solution that preserves what works, fixes what doesn’t, and makes health care better and more affordable for all Americans."

When's the last time government interference made anything more affordable? When's the last time government intervention fixed anything? Government can take a good situation and make it bad, and it can take a bad situation and make it worse. The net cost of any government program always outweighs its benefits, and 1st District Arkansans understand this.

But Berry obviously has no plans to listen to those of us he supposedly works for, a strong majority of whom don't want Obama's government-run system determining our fate.

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