U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, didn’t join the six other members of the Colorado delegation at a health care town hall on Saturday in Aurora. The starting point of the discussion in Aurora was that the health care system needs fixing. Lamborn, though, doesn’t believe it needs fixing, which perhaps explains his absence. Monday, he hosted his own town hall at Stargazers Theatre in the Springs, where he repeated his opinion that the U.S. health care system is the best in the world and that reform legislation would just increase the federal deficit and cost too much and burden families.
He was heckled by a vocal minority in the audience. Then he trotted out some cherry-picked data to back up these claims. He was heckled again. After the gathering Lamborn told the Springs Gazette that he was “disappointed” with the members of the audience who did “not have the civility to allow other people to be heard.” What he meant, of course, was that he was happy that Americans at his town hall, like Americans at town halls across the country this August, were exercising their freedoms and engaging in healthy political debate!
Lamborn had to deliver much of his message over a cascade of shouts of “you lie,” borrowed from a Republican congressman’s heckling of President Barack Obama. …
At several points, the shouting got so intense that Lamborn could not be heard, even with the advantage of a microphone and loudspeakers. He kept his composure but interrupted his presentation occasionally to ask for courtesy.
Nearly every time Lamborn offered a statistic or cited a report, the hecklers challenged it as false or misleading.
For example, a chart Lamborn circulated Monday and at previous town hall events, backed his assertion that the U.S. system is superior by showing that Americans have higher survival rates for prostate and breast cancer.
As the critics pointed out, he did not mention that broader public health surveys place the U.S. in the middle of the pack among developed nations. It leads in only two major categories, neither of them good — the rate of obesity and the cost of health care.
Lamborn later said the hecklers “did not do their cause any good,” but what he surely meant was that he was proud of the vocal minority with the better data for not being meek in the cause of freedom and that he was energized by watching “democracy in action” and so on.