Monday, October 8, 2007

Answer and Walk Away

I was thinking this morning about these two guys who showed up at the Mitt Romney event on Saturday morning. One of them I've seen at about a dozen events around New Hampshire the past few months, and every opportunity he gets he asks a question about arresting dying people who are using medical marijuana. John McCain. Mike Huckabee. It seems every Republican has been nagged by this guy.

Honestly, the prospect of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes doesn't scare me too much, so I have nothing against a question about the topic being asked. My main complaint is the way these medical marijuana people are trying to get attention.


It seems that Granite Staters in wheelchairs are the new ticket to asking the medical marijuana question. In the middle of Romney's speech it was just such a person that quietly wheeled his way to the side of the stage and waited for Romney to finish speaking before stating that he had tried every prescription medicine with no success and wanted to know if Mitt would "arrest me and my doctors."

Sigh.

I wouldn't criticize this kind of setup if the guy asking the question wasn't being filmed by the medical marijuana man, was actually worried about having his dogs taken away, and had no access to any basic form of communications that would easily inform him that Romney and the other top Republicans will NEVER advocate the legalization of marijuana--it's like asking Pat Robertson if he supports abortion.

Romney listened intently to the man in the wheelchair's question, but he realized quickly what situation he was finding himself in with the question. After a short while Romney stood up to walk away and restated to the man that no matter what story he had or what case he would make for medical marijuana that he would not support it. With that, the man with the video camera pointed his lens straight at Romney, raised his voice, and asked why he wouldn't answer the question from a GUY IN A WHEELCHAIR!! "I believe I just spoke with him," was Romney's response.

Because god forbid a candidate not let himself be continually trashed by medical marijuana activists at the expense of seeming rude to a disabled person!


The guy with the camera quickly marched off to the back of the room (but not outside to his car--why actually stomp out in anger if you could linger around and try to get at Romney on the way out?) and muttered "asshole!" loud enough for everyone to hear him.

Decide for yourself, but I like the way other interest groups are getting their issues out there way more than this medical marijuana thing. PrioritiesNH drives their busses around and is greeted with curious smiles wherever they go, the "I'm a Healthcare Voter" people ask insightful questions and prepare creative presentations for the candidates (ex. health care invoices), and the SEIU just wants candidates to see what it's like to work like one of their union members for a day. Those groups are smart because they know when to stop being pushy and understand that voters come to campaign events in New Hampshire for the honest and intimate atmosphere, not for the spectacles of annoyance that video cameras and excessive bird-dogging cause.


(all photos: © 2007 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Horrible account of the same event that I witnessed. Romney walked away and gave a political non-answer at a "ask mitt anything" rally. Rather than say, "Yes, I will have medical marijuana patients and there doctors arrested", Mitt just deflected the question and moved on. If he is unwilling to actually answer the question with the truth, then he should be pushed around a little. He is an asshole, and thats why the video was viewed by millions on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, E!, CurrentTV, youtube, aol video, MSNBC, yahoo videos, myspace videos, etc. Obviously if millions saw the same thing you did and thought it was note worthy, then it must have been an unacceptable response made by Romney. As for priorities NH and other interest groups...they weren't called "the most active interest group in the primary" by The Note, Campaigns and Elections magazine, PR Weekly, and the Boston Globe...like Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana.

Luke N. Vargas said...

Though I wish you'd identify yourself, Anonymous, I disagree with your belief that simply because millions watched the video clip on the multitude of websites you list and thought the clip was "worthy," perhaps those online viewers weren't able to pick up on a vibe present at the event from their computer screens.

Given your comments I have a feeling you are in some way affiliated with the GSMM campaign, and your opinion of the event seems bias in that way.

Video clips of candidates answering questions and being allowed time to reason through their answers is valuable to the voting public, but interest groups like Granite States for Medical Marijuana made their case to Romney in what I perceived as a very brash manner, and I have every right to comment on that.