A Democratic congressman should apologize for saying recent comments by citizens opposing health care proposals at local meetings across the country are similar to language that drove Timothy McVeigh to blow up an Oklahoma City federal building, the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party says.
U.S. Rep Brian Baird, D-Wash., said last week Republican leaders were “egging on” a “coordinated national effort” to disrupt public meetings with shouts and demonstrations, reminiscent of the kinds of things that drove McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
“Mr. Baird owes the people of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and the families of those who lost loved ones a sincere apology for comparing concerned, angry Americans with a cold-blooded killer like Timothy McVeigh,” said Gary Jones, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.
A Democratic proposal to nationalize the country’s health system is a main topic at town hall meetings by members of Congress during their August break.
Protesters disrupted town hall meetings Thursday in Tampa, Fla., with cries of “tyranny,” and police made arrests at a similar meeting near St. Louis. In both instances, Democratic House members hosted both meetings.
At the Tampa meeting, hundreds of people outside screamed, chanted and argued for and against President Barack Obama’s proposed health care plan. Aside from the issues, people were angry for getting locked out of the meeting because the room could accommodate 200 people and was full, according to news reports. In Mehlville, Mo., St. Louis police arrested six people, some on assault charges, outside another forum that was billed as a meeting on aging but was attended by activists on both sides of the health care debate.
In Oklahoma City last month, people on both sides of the issue showed up at and outside the district offices of U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, and U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee.
I’m sure the issue will attract many to show up at town hall meetings scheduled the next couple weeks across the state.
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, has a meeting scheduled for noon Tuesday at the Moore public library.
Fallin is meeting with constituents from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Oklahoma City at the Francis Tuttle Portland campus, 3500 NW 150.
Coburn has meetings mostly in the eastern part of the state the next two weeks. On Thursday, he will be in Muskogee, Sallisaw and Webbers Falls. He has an Oklahoma City meeting scheduled for noon Aug. 24 in the lobby of the Chase Bank building downtown.
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau