Things got a little heated at the townhall forum held by Senator Arlen Specter (R er, D-PA) this morning after a curious decision not to allow people to ask questions live from the floor. One constituent had to initially be restrained when he found out that he couldn’t ask a live question, but Specter handled the incident well by giving the man his say — and admitting that his office needed to do better in adopting a process that allowed for live interaction in his meetings. He then angered the crowd all over again by reminding them how lucky they are to be in his presence at all, as this video clip by The College Politico shows at the end:
SPECTER: I’m encouraging constitutional rights. I’m encouraging constitutional rights by coming to Lebanon to talk to my constituents. I could be somewhere else. I don’t get any extra pay — I don’t have any requirement to be here. But for somebody —
CROWD: [Angry murmuring] You work for us! You report to us!
SPECTER: Okay, okay, number — well, I am reporting to you …
Putting aside the risible notion that holding townhalls are required for “encouraging constitutional rights,” lecturing Pennsylvanians on their good fortune to have an audience with their lordly Senator seems to be right in line with the Democratic approach to democracy these days. Specter doesn’t get any “extra pay”? He makes $174,000 a year for a job that requires him to be at the office four days a week when Congress is in session, which is only about 2/3rds of the year. He has a gold-plated medical and dental package that Specter certainly won’t surrender for the ObamaCare system he’s pushing. Thanks to his 30 years in the Senate, he’s eligible for a pension that will pay 80% of that salary and keep his benefits package in place until he dies.
How many of his constituents have that kind of job? How many do you think will be impressed that Specter deigned to receive his subjects without getting a bonus payment to do it? What a great example of Beltway arrogance — and what a great opportunity for Pat Toomey.