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Profile in congressional cowardice

By Michelle Malkin  •  August 18, 2009 11:24 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I noted that Florida Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson was taking sanctuary in a union hall for his hastily scheduled town hall meeting.

How did it go?

The Orlando Sentinel was there and profiled the craven and cowardly performance:

Grayson’s hastily called meeting took place in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall, which limited attendance to about 120 members of the public. It also was scheduled just after a regular meeting of local Democrats, some of whom stayed behind for the town hall in the scarce seats.

Outside the building, hundreds of frustrated people who could not get inside waved signs and chanted for and against the proposals.

Police cars blocked off the streets in an attempt to calm protesters. Overall, the event was peaceful, but police said one man was arrested. Witnesses said he pushed another person trying to record the event on a camcorder. By the time it was over about 10 p.m., police nearly outnumbered those outside.

So many people were chanting early on that what they said was often unintelligible. At one point, Andy Showen, 49, of Orlando, angry he couldn’t get in, pulled on a side door until police officers stopped him.

“You’re a real hero,” he told an officer. “You just stopped me from talking to my congressman.”

He put up his wrists, asking officers to arrest him. They walked him away instead.

Despite the shouting, some voters actually talked to one another. Earlier, Showen, who described himself as a “libertarian capitalist,” talked with a woman who said capitalism was immoral, he said. They never agreed on health care but shared similar views on executive pay.

Others were annoyed and unmoved.

“I’ve given up,” said Carmen Simeone, who opted to protest outside. “I understand what’s going on. He’s stacked the deck.”

PJ Gladnick has more at Newsbusters.

Rachel Pereira was there.

Reader Lawrence e-mails: “Alan Grayson (D-FL) falsely claimed the Town Hall at Union Hall was announced 72 hours in advance and promoted by multiple media outlets. We contacted FOX 35 News in Orlando who stated they were notified “last night” and said they have been contacting Grayson’s office as well as Suzanne Kosmas’ daily. Grayson only announced this last night after having arranged it with OFA and HCAN and the IBEW with their publicity march on Friday.”

You won’t be surprised to learn that Grayson employed the human kiddie shield strategy by bringing his own three children to the meeting and repeatedly invoking them when things got heated.

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