Much has been made of how Republicans, writ large (not universally, but a very large share) have been avoiding face-to-face encounters with their constituents — their massively frustrated, angry, scared constituents. In many places in the country, including in Virginia, billboards have gone up questioning whether their Representative will ever show up to have an honest engagement with their constituents.
— Dump Comstock (@dumpcomstock) April 10, 2017
Missing members of Congress are even showing up up milk cartons … again, including in Virginia.
A large share (a majority) of Americans
- fear that @TeamTrump will cause damage to their lives — whether due to undermining health insurance, removing governmental services, hurting the economy …
- believe that there is reasonable cause to believe that members of @TeamTrump (if not @RealDonaldTrump himself) conspired with Russian intelligence during the election …
- accept climate science and see @RealDonaldTrump’s, @TeamTrump’s, GOP, @HouseGOP, and @HouseScience rejection of climate science as damaging to American prosperity, security, and future prospects.
Those few Republican Representatives showing up to speak in front of (semi-)unscripted town halls open to all citizens (rather than limited to core supporters) are being confronted with demands for truthful engagement on issues like these.
Jason Chaffetz had, several months ago, a very contentious town hall — not surprising considering that the GOP House Government Oversight Committee Chair is steadfast in his refusal to guide actual oversight of and investigation into the myriad of almost certain Constitutional and ethical violations by Donald Trump and all-too-many members of Team Trump. One of those moments, when a young girl questioned Chaffetz’s science denial. Her simple — evasively (at best) responded to — questions:
“What are you doing to help protect our water and air for our generations and my kids’ generations?
“Do you believe in science? I do.”
Chaffetz isn’t alone in being ridiculed and roundly booed for his recklessly dangerous climate-science denial.
Arizona’s Randy Biggs just suffered the Chaffetz treatment. When Biggs doubled down on his climate-science denial, his constituents made it clear their disdain for a Congressman showing less understanding of science than what might be expected from a middle-school student.
Chaffetz and Biggs aren’t alone,
Rep. Mike Coffman faced angry liberals from his suburban district right outside of Denver on Wednesday night, asking about everything from climate change to single-payer health care.
On at least two occasions, [NJ Republican Leonard Lance] was drowned out by standing ovations for speakers urging Lance to fight climate change and GOP healthcare plans.
Going back to that representative (and, well, Representative) billboard and milk carton, VA-10’s Barbara Comstock has to fear that she will receive a similar reception from constituents in a town hall environment across a robust set of issues, including science and climate change.
- Comstock is a member of the House Science committee chaired by Lamar Smith. Smith, if you are not aware, is on a jihad against science and scientists notable in its vehemence, questionable ethics and legality, and ignorance. Search for Comstock’s vocal defense of science and scientists against this jihad, her strident efforts to reign in Smith’s crusade and damaging impacts on American science … Found anything? Neither have I.
- While once making noise about moving toward climate action, Comstock embraces might be termed vehement soft denial. Soft denial, in short, is playing games as to ‘recognizing that climate change exists but, well, we can’t afford to do anything.’ Or, as ‘sure the climate is changing and we’re (at least partially causing it), but fossil fuels are too important and we can’t do anything that might damage the environment.’ Comstock has failed to join up even the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus which is working toward consideration of ‘all’ policy options.
If Comstock does show up for a true town hall, she is very likely to have an impassioned engagement by frustrated, angry, and scared constituents — including reactions to her soft climate science denial and failure to defend science/scientists — as Jason Chaffetz, Randy Biggs, and other Republicans have.
Comstock’s soft denial during the 2016 election campaign:
Comstock said she supports an “all-of-the-above energy policy.” She questioned how the energy transition underway is imposing unnecessary regulations that would hurt the region’s technology businesses.
“That’s why we’ve gone to court to stop them,” Comstock said, referring to allies opposed to the President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments for and against the plan; a decision is expected next Spring.
“We tried to stop (the Clean Power Plan) in Congress while still trying for a cleaner and healthier environment,” Comstock said.
After Bennett labeled Comstock as a climate denier, the Congresswoman replied: “We do understand the earth is warming. But we can’t destroy our economy while we’re at it. We need affordable energy.”