We’d like to talk to Warner and Webb, too

Let me make this clear – if I’m Jim Webb or Mark Warner, I’m not letting a tea-party guy set up a health-care town hall for me, because I’d know what was really being set up – an ambush.
That said, and I have a hard time believing that I’m going to agree with David Karaffa on anything other than that the sky is generally blue and the earth is round – and he might not be with me 100 percent on that last point, but I digress.
Ahem. I want to have a chance to hear our senators out on health care, and give them a piece of my mind on the same. Obviously for different reasons than the David Karaffas of the world, but still.

“It is unfortunate that not only have our senators refused to hear our voice, but also have not given us an alternative means to speak with them. This is what Valley residents are frustrated with,” Karaffa wrote in a news release that he sent out to the local media this morning providing an update on his planned Sunday, Sept. 6 town hall at Riverheads High School in Greenville.

Karaffa has invited Warner and Webb to take part in his town hall, but they have declined the invitations.

My side is just as frustrated at the lack of opportunity to address our two senators on health care as the tea-partiers. Warner and Webb both hold important cards in the high-stakes poker that the health-care debate has become as centrist Democrats with bargaining chips in the form of votes that could sway the final health-insurance reform package significantly one way or the other.

The tea-party set doesn’t get that. They’re in their own little self-marginalized worlds where all Democrats are socialists hellbent on destroying America from within. But our side gets that Warner and Webb are middle-of-the-aisle guys who can in their quest to seek bipartisan common ground be dragged to the periphery in the process.

And there’s no question that a public option needs to be a key component of whatever health-care reform we end up with at the end of the year.

We could use a town-hall setting, then, just as well as the tea-partiers, to get our point across the Warner and Webb.

Tele-town halls and scripted campaign-like visits to health centers aren’t real interactions with voters.

Looks like we’ll have to settle with bending Bob Goodlatte’s ear at his lone local town hall, on Saturday, Sept. 5, at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater. As if Goodlatte has any say in what’s going to happen.

Warner and Webb do. We’ll have to hope they read their letters and e-mails, because other than that, we won’t have a chance to get their attention.


– Column by Chris Graham

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