Congressman Earl Pomeroy (photo) of North Dakota, a supposed Blue Dog Democrat fiscal hawk, demonstrated his peculiar brand of "hawkishness" this week when he quickly announced his support of Nancy Pelosi's health care bill. Perhaps worried about the appearance of his less than stellar reputation on fiscal responsibility, Pomeroy issued this invitation to the North Dakota media:
** MEDIA ADVISORY **
Pomeroy to Hold Press Conference Call on House Health Care Reform Bill
Washington, DC - Congressman Earl Pomeroy will hold a press availability in Grand Forks and then a press conference call for media statewide this afternoon to discuss the details of the health care reform bill that was unveiled yesterday.
All media are invited to participate.
WHO: Congressman Earl Pomeroy
WHAT: Press availability and conference call on House health care reform bill
WHEN: Today, Friday, October 30, 2009
Got that? All media were invited to participate. So Rob Port of the Say Anything blog who lives in Minot, ND and hosts a show on WZFG radio decided to participate in the conference call. Port explains what happened next:
Today a friendly member of the traditional North Dakota media, one who values alternative media, forwarded to me an email about a press teleconference Rep. Earl Pomeroy was going to be holding about his decision to support the Pelosi health care bill, complete with a public option. Since the issue is of great interest to me, and also my readers and listeners to my radio show, I decided to call in and listen. Perhaps ask a question too.
...At the appointed time I called in to the teleconference and put in the offered pass code. Then, when prompted by Pomeroy staffer Sandra Salstrom I identified myself as Rob Port from SayAnythingBlog.com. Other members of the media identified themselves as well, including an Associated Press reporter from Fargo, a reporter from KFYR, a reporter from a Carrington newspaper and one Adam Blomeke from the liberalNorth Dakota blog NorthDecoder.com.
I was pleased to learn of the presence of another blogger on the call as, whatever the ideological bent, I think alternative media is important.
Before Pomeroy came on Sandra Salstrom joked around with the AP reporter about his Porsche and also with Blomeke about his recent move from North Dakota to Chicago. It became apparent that Salstrom was familiar with Adam on a personal level and that he was certainly welcome on the call.
After the banter died down, Rep. Pomeroy joined the call. He gave a speech lasting a few minutes about his decision to support this health care bill, then was followed up with a speech from an Obama administration member in favor of the bill as well. Then he opened it up for questions. The first one came from the KFYR reporter, asking about how the government would negotiate “public option” rates with private insurers. Then Pomeroy asked for another question. There was a few seconds pause, so I decided to jump in.
And the Congressman was not at all pleased that I did. Here’s an audio recording of the exchange. I’m still working on the full audio copy of the entire call, but in this you can hear my question and the Congressman’s irate response at a member of thealternative media daring to question him:
You can hear the audio on Rob's blog. And now the angry reaction from the Duke of Earl over being questioned by a non-approved blogger peon:
The Congressman twice accused me of being an “arm of the North Dakota Republican party,” which comes as a bit of a surprise to me as I think I’m actually quite critical of North Dakota Republicans. I am perhaps Republican Governor John Hoeven’s biggest critic in the state. But I’ll admit that I am, certainly, a conservative political commentator.
But even so, as you can hear, my question was a fair one about how exactly forcing Americans to buy their health care through a government health care exchange was going to promote competition. Pomeroy didn’t have a good answer, and chose to attack the questioner instead.
The peasants are revolting...they stink on ice!
Finally a pertinent observation from Port:
What surprised me about the call almost as much as Pomeroys aggressive, agitated reaction to my question was how few questions the other reporters on the call asked. Aside from my question, there were only two other questions asked. Apparently the reporters on the call were satisfied with just taking down whatPomeroy told them.
Which is maybe why Pomeroy was so angry when I dared to ask a question.
It looks like Pomeroy doesn't like taking incisive questions from an independent media source. Only affirmative rubberstamping from the approved media list of his decision to burden the taxpayers with budget busting ObamaCare will do.
And does anybody else out there think that the Duke of Earl may be changing his domain after next year in large part because of independent minded North Dakotans like Rob Port?