Dave Reichert came to the people Tuesday night to talk about Social Security, and they talked back.
Reichert, three months into 8th District in Congress, held a town hall-style meeting at Bellevue High School in which the 300-strong crowd demonstrated the strength of their opinions, at times shouting over Reichert or the other people sharing the stage with him.
The event was structured as a question-and-answer session, but with the audience’s questions submitted in writing, to be asked by moderator Jim Vesely, editorial page editor of the Seattle Times.
A three-member panel then debated the answers, with Reichert occasionally chiming in.
The audience clearly disagreed with the panelists on their endorsement — which Reichert shares — of a part of President Bush’s plan to introduce privately managed investment accounts as part of a Social Security reform program.
As it happens, at least three of those three hundred were TPM Readers who sent in detailed reports of all the bamboozling that took place. One nice moment, according the Journal article, came when an audience member asked about raising the payroll tax cap. Paul Guppy, the think tank ‘winger and former Ernie Istook staffer on the panel, whom we discussed last night, responded: “You could raise the cap to $1 million if you want to, I don’t think it would help.” So you can see what a straight shooter he must be.
We’ll try to bring you more on this train wreck later in the day.