In Lake Elmo, Minnesota yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann held a “raucous” town hall meeting to discuss health care reform that was filled with “deafening cheers and a few jeers.” Though some of her constituents called on her to stop “distorting the president’s plan” and “stretching the truth to the point of lies,” others pushed the kind of paranoid criticisms of reform that Bachmann has put forward. One attendee, a member of the St. Francis city council, worried that his Social Security would be overtaken by “socialism” defended Social Security:
At times tempers flared at the forum, with constituents shouting at one another.
LeRoy Schaffer, a St. Francis city council member, dressed in a tuxedo and top hat for the occasion. Shaffer got visibly emotional asking Bachmann about the future of health care and the role of special interests in Washington.
“I’ll be danged if I am going to give up my Social Security because of socialism,” Schaffer said, before being booed by the crowd.
Schaffer’s concern about Social Security is similar to the people at town halls who tell their members of Congress to keep their “government hands off of Medicare.” As MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell argued earlier this month when challenging a constituent of Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-PA), Social Security is a form of “smart, practical socialism” since it redistributes wealth.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune quoted more of Schaffer’s words and it turns out he was defending Social Security. “I’m on Social Security and I’ve got Medicare,” said Schaffer, 70, before entering the auditorium. “I have socialized medicine. I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.”