I attended a Health Care Reform protest in front of a Travis Childers fundraiser in Oxford, MS this evening, and any thought that he might change the minds of any of the ex-supporters of his out there were quickly dispelled. Representative Childers refused to even come out and speak to us. A politician who doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to meet his constituents (especially those who voted for him) doesn't want to keep his job badly enough. At least State Representative Tommy Reynolds and Gubernatorial candidate Bill Luckett had enough sense to greet voters on the way in, even if we were holding signs.
I have to mention Rep. Childer's "greeter" or "hostess" or whoever she was, who was at the front door. I know she was doing her job, and I respect that, but her rudeness to those of us who tried to speak to her in a friendly and polite manner was hard to forgive. I greeted her with a "good evening, how are you?", only to be cut cold as though I were invisible, speechless and leperous. Had anyone been impolite to her it might have been understandable, but that was not the case.
At any rate, all that aside, if he wanted to rebuild any bridges with moderates and independents, not to mention progressives, he threw away a prime chance by totally stiffing the group of 20-30 ex-supporters of his standing in front of the Big Bad Breakfast building. It did not bode well for Childers that he had that many outside and not much more than twice that number inside, unless they sneaked in the back like he did.
Every activist out there, most of them Democrats, with some independents present, stated that they had voted for him and several said that they had contributed to his campaign fund last election. Most of the protestors had had his sign in their yard, some had actively worked to get him elected.
I think, as I've stated before, that Rep. Childers threw away his seat when he refused to vote for Health Care Reform, especially after the Stupak amendment was added to it. If he wouldn't vote for Health Reform even after he'd indicated that providing funds for abortions was one of the major problems, and that problem was removed, it doesn't look as if he ever intended to vote for it, no matter what he said when he was asking for our votes. Someone asked me why I voted for him in the first place, which surprised me. I know he's somewhat conservative, but I did think he was going to vote for health reform, and I hoped for one or two other reasonable votes, moderate votes, rather than conservative votes we've been getting. He's fairly consistently disappointed me so far, and I believe he's made the votes he has so far to gain conservative votes (and what a futile exercise that is - they will all vote for Nunnalee). Childers threw away what he had for what he'll never get. Count him out in 2010.
There were several newspapers taking notes and pictures there, I'll try to add in some links to any stories that become available online later.
Update: This is the Clarion-Ledger coverage. According to their reporter, Northern District U.S. Attorney hopeful Christi McCord said she would never protest even if she disagreed with a candidate because "It shows public discord within my party . . . [making Democrats] seem vulnerable."
Isn't that a strange comment to make about a protest of a Democrat who voted with the Republicans? There's your discord, Ms. McCord, and Rep. Childers is the perpetrator. I see that, and I'm not even a Democrat. He didn't get elected with just Democrats voting for him, because his district is majority Republican. He got where he is on a coalition of Democrats and independents (independents tend to be more moderate than anything else, unlike me).
I think a friend of mine sees what theory Childers is working on - that blacks will vote for him, because they will vote Democrat, no matter how that Democrat behaves in Washington. She may or may not be right, but people who vote for someone and feel betrayed by them tend to stay home or leave that part of their ballot blank next time around. Nunnalee has a lot of clout with conservatives; between those two facts sits Travis Childers, in a hole between a rock and a hard place. I'd like to see him climb out of that hole rather than just close his ears and stubbornly brace himself, but I don't see any signs of that happening. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.
Looks like he avoided the Tea Party protesters and got caught by his own supporters; and that's likely to be his experience in 2010.
There was a snarky sort of story in the Oxford Enterprise; I hate to say it, but the article written by the student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, was more mature and better researched.
Either Childers really lost his cool over the protest, referring to protesters (in the Oxford Enterprise interview) as "extremists" with something about how "they" were burning bridges behind "them." Maybe he was talking to the party loyals there, but personally, I'm an independent, irrespective of the fact that I usually vote Democratic (as the lesser or two evils). Or maybe he didn't lose his temper so much as display his creds as a dyed-in-the-wool politician, trying to dis his own people (some of whom actually worked for his campaign) to curry favor with the rightwingers in his district.
Face it, Rep. Childers, you're the one burning bridges, when you need to be repairing them.
Related blog post at Natchez Blog