January 30, 2013: Congressman Henry Waxman gave a townhall meeting at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse. The South Bay Democratic clubs sponsored the event. Would I be shut down in Hermosa Beach, just as Rabbi Yossi of the Jewish Community Center refused to let me speak two months ago? Despite the preliminary jitters, I decided to attend. If those Democrats shut me down, I would have something to write about (and perhaps take them to court, too.)
Arriving twenty minutes early, I spoke right away with a Pacific Palisades resident. She and I had some views in common, except that she was a major fan of Congressman Waxman. “I’m so glad that I do not have to smell cigarette smoke on airplanes!” A Manhattan Beach-Gardena resident approached us, going on and on about the environment. We did agree on school choice, an issue which Republicans and Democrats should advance.
Diane Wallace, the President of the Beach Cities Democratic Club, wanted me to sign in as a member of the press. I suspected a hint of intimidation, but refused since I am unaffiliated with any media conglomerate. As a private citizen, I share what I believe, holding Congressman Waxman accountable, and if possible, getting some Democrats to care about pressing issues, to “think Republican”.
Congressman Waxman walked down the aisle, then he furtively glanced at me. "Hello, Congressman Waxman," I said. He was not thrilled to see me, but meekly waved at me. Before the visiting Congressman took the podium, former Hermosa Beach mayor Jeff Duclos introduced Waxman with "gushing" admiration (I wanted to gush something else following his fulsome praise). Duclos delineated Waxman's record of “fighting and winning for everyone”. These Democrats practically worship Waxman. I wonder if their children or grandchildren will esteem him when they end up paying the huge national debt and fighting for rationed healthcare.
Waxman looked uncomfortable and shaky. I imagine that he was nervous because of me. The topic of "climate change" dominated the evening. Democrats were leaping out of their seats over this issue. The alarm which some people shared in that playhouse exposed to me how crucial this issue, and all other environmental issues, has become for the Democratic Party.
Waxman struck a slightly more conciliatory note, telling the audience that he wanted to work with Independents and Republicans. He has to because his districts is no longer majority Democratic. He then commented about the need for "adults" and "leadership" in Washington. Waxman has a history of interrupting colleagues, then claims “We’re not broke!” in open committee, while also admitting “I don’t know” about the GM bailouts, steroids , and his own Cap and Trade bill. When will Waxman start acting like an adult?
When Congressman Waxman took questions from the audience, almost everyone asked about the environment. Wallace allowed me to ask questions, too. I pressed Waxman about the “business climate”, including the taxes in ObamaCare. I then asked about the poor “climate” which homeless veterans are enduring, for which he is responsible. I finally hammered him about Indiana’s retired teachers and police officers, whose pension funds were raided to fund the immorally financed auto bailouts.
Praising the GM bailouts, Waxman shrugged off the Indiana pension fund. He then blamed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for trying to sell the Brentwood VA for debt reduction. Predictably, he left out his 38 years in office of doing nothing.
After the questions, the meeting offered me the chance to understand how Democrats think (or recycle suspicions from specious evidence). Most of the Democrats advertised a striking ignorance about economics. Two El Segundo residents really believe in “climate change” as a threat, although they acknowledged that I knew more about the issue than they. Another actually claimed that government creates jobs. We carried on an extended discussion about gender, identity, and sexuality ---three issues which Democrats tend to conflate constantly and inconsistently.
Wallace ignorantly asserted: “But we already have school choice!” when I brought up that issue. Later, she mocked me: “I can’t believe you asked a question about Indiana!” Two other Democratic leaders shared their reasons for being Democrats: the social issues. When they claimed that Republicans refuse to compromise, I fired back:
“If someone offered to buy your house for one dollar, you would slam the door in his face. The Democrats are doing something similar, refusing to offer real cuts. There’s good and bad compromise.”
Then Congressman Waxman came up the middle aisle.
"See, that wasn't so bad,” I said, shaking his hand.
“Well, you tell me,” he shrugged, at a loss for words.
“I’m here to keep you accountable. You need to start doing your job. Why don’t you set up ‘Occupy Brentwood’ to force the federal government to finish building shelters for the homeless veterans? Or else an independent or Republican will take your place.”
When I reminded him about the Indiana pensions, Waxman grew uncomfortable, refusing to do anything about it.
As Waxman left the theater, I realized that I was impacted him.
Imagine that: The former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, frightened of a private blogger!