Like fellowrepresentative Doug Lamborn, whose healthcare town hall was frenzy-free
(because pretty much everyone agreed that ObamaCare is awful), Betsy Markey, who represents Colorado's 4th District, managed to keep her own get-together about reform from deteriorating into a remake ofMad Max Beyond Thunderdome
. However, she had to work a little harder than Lamborn, who faced a crowd that would have joined voices in a rendition of "Kumbaya" if the song had been about the evils of government-sponsored insurance. Before the sessions got underway,she promoted "Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation," a list of decorum do's and don'ts beloved by George Washington
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. Then, as pointed out inthe Fort Collins Coloradoan's article about the event
, she broke the sessions into smaller groups, the better to prevent a mob mentality from building. Finally, she kept folks on either side of the ideological divide off-balance by simultaneously citing the need for meaningful reform and declaring that because the House version of the bill is so ungodly expensive, she would have voted against it in its current form.
This approach should prevent future Markey sessions (and she's got nine events scheduled during the August recess) from turning chaotic. But the fence-straddling she engaged in yesterday won't work in the long run. Eventually, she'll have to come down on one side or the other.