Koch Group Gets Hostile Reception in Montana Over Medicaid Expansion

The Koch brothers have made stopping Medicaid expansion under Obamacare a top priority for their state efforts. It worked last week in Tennessee. Their allies did it in Wyoming, too. But not all states are as receptive to their interference. Take Montana, where a Koch road-show against Medicaid expansion was greeted by some well-informed and angry Montanans.

Seems that Americans for Prosperity has been having "Healthcare Town Hall" meetings around the state, trying to relive the glory days of August recess 2009 when they terrorized politicians and citizens alike with stories about death panels and the evils of affordable health insurance. They decided to have one in Kalispell targeting Rep. Frank Garner, a Republican who has refused to sign their pledge to vote against Medicaid expansion. They did, though, without inviting Garner to appear as well.

Garner, who made the eight-hour round trip from Helena to attend the meeting, took umbrage with the postcards and said the group never told him about the meeting, which he learned about from a reporter on the House floor at the Capitol. […]

Garner's mere presence had a chilling effect on the AFP presentation, which was frequently derailed by laughter, booing and shouting from audience members who overwhelmingly expressed support for Garner. […]

"I promised the people here when I ran that I would listen to you and not out-of-town special interests," Garner said to raucous applause. "If every time they want me to sign a pledge card and I don't do it they are going to rent a room and have a meeting, then this is going to get real expensive. Cause I’m not signing the pledge card." […]

Any sense of order the meeting maintained at the beginning broke down toward its end, with audience members shouting questions and accusations, interrupting [AFP State Director Zach] Lahn and defending Garner.

"You have pissed me off," one man told Lahn. "Character assassination does not go down well in Montana. If he has to take a pledge then I want it to be the Pledge of Allegiance, because they don't represent you, they represent me."

Daily Kos generally isn't in the habit of offering honest advice to Republicans, but emulating Rep. Garner might be something more Republicans should think about doing. There isn't any other way they're going to keep their party the GOP instead of the Koch's Own Party.


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