Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Unpaid taxes may be the Lord working in mysterious ways"

It was a packed house at today's town hall meeting with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and State Representative Bill Kramer. There were 90 people there (not including staff), three times the normal amount according to Congressman Sensenbrenner. Among the notables: former Waukesha mayoral candidate Jim Young, blogger M.E. from Stand in the Trenches, Alexander from A Little Off Main, Waukesha County Treasurer Pam Reeves, former Waukesha County Supervisor Alicia Silva. The Spring City Chronicle also reported Lynn Gaffey, owner of the Almont Gallery, was there. Token liberal Waukesha Mayor Larry Nelson was there but did not speak or ask any questions.

I say "token liberal" because this was clearly a conservative crowd. The most critical questions were those wishing the Republicans would fight harder against President Obama and Governor Doyle.

Sensenbrenner replied that "elections have consequences" and that he and Kramer are "out of the legislating business." The agenda is being set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan. However, he pointed with some hope to the House Republican unity in voting against the "non-stimulus stimulus bill." In response to a question about universal health care, he also pointed out Democrats had a bigger majority when Hillarycare was shot down in the House.

When asked about alternative fuels, Sensenbrenner explained some of the problems with ethanol, noted that biomass fuel is still a ways off, and then declared his support for nuclear power to applause from the room.

To the amusement of the room, one woman asked who is it in Washington that determines they don't have to pay a fine when they don't pay taxes. "Why, the secretary of the treasury," replied Sensenbrenner. He then explained that he did not think Treasury Secretary Geithner made an innocent mistake, and he praised Feingold for voting against Geithner.

Along the same lines, in response to another question about universal health care, he pointed out that the President hoped to have an easier time pushing it through because former senator Tom Daschle is a former majority leader and something of a policy wonk on the issue. "Unpaid taxes may be the Lord working in mysterious ways."

One person asked about the federal stimulus bill, noting that the $13/week we'll be giving back next year in taxes. Sensenbrenner told her, "Your calculator works better than the one in Washington."

On the subject of global warming, Sensenbrenner called the proposed "cap and trade" carbon tax "cap and tax." He said global warming sceptics were being subject to "scientific fascism" in the way they are ridiculed and personally attacked.

"What is clear," he told the audience, "is the economic devastation of cap and tax."

But the repeated question was what could the members of the audience do to help fight the Democrats? Both Sensenbrenner and Kramer answered the best thing people could do is stay informed and tell their friends and neighbors. To one member of the audience with a brother-in-law in Wausau, Kramer and Sensenbrenner listed the Democrats representing the city and told him to tell his brother-in-law to call those Democrats. Sensenbrenner also suggested they all show up the next time Feingold had a meeting in Waukesha and express their concerns to him.

As for Senator Kohl, Sensenbrenner noted dryly that the only way any of the audience would see him is to "purchase $110 seats at a Bucks game. You might see him there."

It's too bad neither Kramer nor Sensenbrenner said, "Join the Republican Party."