07.31.2009 0

Operation Private Option Day 1: The Arkansas Blues

  • On: 08/03/2009 11:03:00
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    ALG Editor’s Note: As even some of the mainstream media are beginning to notice, a grassroots rebellion against the Obama agenda is sweeping the nation. This is the first of a series of articles on the highly vociferous movement that is shaking the politicians to their boots in the roots.

    Congressman Mike Ross (AR-CD4) may need a vacation after his August recess, which officially begins today. Just ask Glen Gallas and John Wilson, two tea party leaders who intend on giving Representative Ross an earful for voting in favor of ObamaCare on Friday in the Energy and Commerce committee, sending the bill to the floor of the House to be reconciled with two other equally odious versions of the legislation.

    “We cannot afford this,” said Wilson, head of the El Dorado Tea Party outfit. “It’s unsustainable. Everybody in Washington knows it. We cannot keep spending this kind of money. Just look at California—the way California is going the U.S. is going to go.”

    Gallas agrees: “If we continue along this path our country will be but a shadow of its former self. We must stop this trend before it is too late.” He started his efforts, like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, because he was concerned about the direction his country was going in, and saw a “blurring of party lines. No longer could I tell the difference between the various political parties particularly in the things that mattered to me most. The first being Liberty.”

    Gallas believes liberty “can only be had when a government is restrained and our government has been acting like a bull in a china shop.” His choice was clear: “I decided to express my frustration through the tea party movement. It was an incredible experience as so many people came together with one voice to express their dissatisfaction with their government as well as their love for their country. I am a small business owner and own a plumbing and electrical services company.”

    For Wilson’s part, he is a disabled veteran who was working as a medical laboratory technician—where, appropriately enough, he drew blood. However, it was getting to be too much for his knees, and he asked for modifications to make it easier for him to complete his work. Two weeks later he was fired, and he is highly motivated to take his former employer to task. He said he was discriminated against on account of his disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Unfortunately for Mike Ross, Wilson is taking this same dogged determination to convincing Ross to vote against what Kaiser Health News estimates will be at least a $1.5 trillion government-run socialized medicine program and what the director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Douglas Elmendorf, testified would not include “the fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”

    “On the contrary,” Elmendorf said, “the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care.” Elmendorf testified that the cost curve of government spending on health care is being raised above its current levels instead of cut.

    “We’ll keep pressure on him,” said Wilson. His group has members in Ross’ home town, Prescott, who will be putting up signs that say, “Stop ObamaCare,” handing out fliers depicting Barack Obama in doctor scrubs with a large needle labeled “ObamaCare” stating, “This is going to hurt,” and otherwise “informing the public of what’s going on.”

    In El Dorado, Wilson’s group has been demonstrating in front of the court house for months. They have previously thanked Ross for voting against the controversial energy tax passed in June out of the House, and they expect him to continue to listen to his constituents. Wilson has even galvanized local business leaders: “They’re with us, they’re behind us, and they’ll stand up and speak.” Wilson has been very pleased with their enthusiasm, saying the business leaders have “given all the support we can ask for.”

    Gallas was unsurprised that Ross had recently changed his views on the legislation: “Mike Ross is exactly what is wrong with politicians today. They just don’t get it.” Previously, Ross had been leading a rebellion of some 40 Blue Dog Democrats, promising not to support legislation that was not “deficit-neutral.” But after reaching a compromise with Energy and Commerce chairman Henry Waxman, Ross touted that $100 billion had been cut from the bill.

    Then, more liberal members of the caucus balked, and the cuts were whittled down to $50 billion. Wilson was angry. “Who do you represent? Since you’re not representing your constituents?” he asked of Ross. When asked who he thought they were representing, he said, “As far as I’m concerned, they’re lap dogs, not Blue Dogs. They’ll do whatever Nancy Pelosi tells them to do, regardless of what the folks of Arkansas want.”

    Both citizen leaders intend to meet with Ross. “I would love to meet with Mike and discuss with him why he thinks this is good for our country and why he thinks it is good for Arkansas,” said Gallas.

    “I am going to talk to him, one way or another, and we’ll let him know just how displeased the constituents here in southern Arkansas are with him,” said Wilson.

    Gallas said that the strength of his movement is growing, and they intend on having a greater political impact in the region: “Each event we have had has grown. The tea party was 452, the Freedom rally was 696. We have a solid group committed to reducing the size of government, controlling spending, and the restoration of the Constitution as the fundamental legal document strictly interpreted and resolutely followed.”

    Wilson was impressed by the tea party rally he attended on April 15th. “There were some loud folks. They were really fired up,” he said.

    With a $11.4 trillion-and-rising national debt, a $1.8 trillion projected deficit that is expected to exceed expectations, neither of these leaders said they believed the government was reducing in size or scope.

    Said Gallas, “The Bible says that the borrower is servant to the lender. Who is America’s lender? China! Debt is never good and excessive debt is deadly.” He doesn’t believe members of Congress intend on rolling back that trend: “Our problems are caused by out of controlling spending and the solution is exactly the opposite—controlled spending. And the only want to reduce debt is to make more than you spend and the only way that can happen is for our economy to grow. We must stop the shell game and expand America’s awareness to what is going on. I love my country but I hate the direction it is heading.”

    Wilson agreed. “I am deathly afraid for the future. The way I see things now, we’re moving towards a communist regime. We’re going to wind up in a place we were never supposed to be.”

    Perhaps after hearing from constituents like Gallas and Wilson, Mike Ross may see things a little differently. Or perhaps he’ll consider it a vacation when Congress comes back into session in September, and he can put the summer blues behind him.

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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