“Constituent Briefing” Turned Gauging Meeting, Constituent Biopsy
Yesterday I attended a “constituent briefing” to which I was invited by an email from Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office. It was limited to thirty participants. About fifteen appeared. Traci Couture, CMR’s head of staff, officiated, but it was really a meeting held by the Washington Policy Center, the Koch donor network funded non-profit “think tank”. They were represented by Dr. Roger Stark, who did much of the talking, and Chris Cargill, who said not a word but sat dourly in a corner behind his Washington Policy Center stickered computer, probably recording the event. The second spokesperson was Megan Perez, CMR’s Legislative Director and Healthcare Policy Advisor who has worked “on the hill” for seven years for a variety of Congresspeople. I heard no mention of Alison White with Better Health Together, although she was advertised in the invitation.
A handout was provided with all the usual Republican talking points about freedom, choice, and the “failed” Affordable Care Act. Dr. Stark and Ms. Perez each made very brief presentations and then the floor was opened to questions and comments. They got the earful I’m sure they were counting on. When Dr. Stark asked for a show of hands of those who were in favor of a single payer system, every hand shot up. We had been carefully chosen…
I left feeling used. I and others suspect this meeting will be used to craft the Republican defense of their abominable AHCA. This was what some describe as a “gauging meeting”. The image I have is of Frank Luntz, the genius of Republican framing and messaging, carefully choosing the right buzzwords to prescribe for the Republican propaganda machine.
How much Cathy McMorris Rodgers functions as a mouthpiece for the policies of the Koch-funded Washington Policy Center and the mega-wealthy Libertarian Koch donors seemed glaringly obvious.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of course, was nowhere in evidence. We were told she was “meeting with constituents mostly in the southern part of the district”. Clearly, she isn’t holding town halls. Traci gamely encouraged everyone to sign up for a “Coffee with Cathy”.
Keep to the high ground,