Things got a bit rowdy after that
In 2009, conservative tea party activists crashed Democratic congressional town halls protesting the Affordable Care Act. Now, the reverse is happening with liberal activists packing town halls in conservative districts to prevent the bill from being repealed. These confrontational events have led some Republicans senators such as Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Cory Gardner, R, Colo., to avoid them altogether. That’s why Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas was praised for holding a town hall this week … until he lost his cool.
During the town hall, one constituent asked Barton to join with Representative Jackie Speier to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. This piece of legislation “strengthens the abilities of the federal government, states, law enforcement, and service providers to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.” But Barton told the attendee he voted against the original version of the bill because it was a “states’ rights” issue.
Republicans have used “states’ rights” as an excuse for decades to avoid of passing legislation designed to protect minorities and women. Unhappy with the congressman’s excuse, an attendee shouted, “It’s violence against women, that’s a national issue. That is an issue that impacts everyone everywhere, not only in this country, but everywhere.” Barton’s reaction to the constituent, however, did not go over well.
Pointing at the man in the audience, Barton barked, “You, sir, shut up.”
The crowd was not pleased. A person on the tape can be heard yelling, “What is that? You don’t tell anybody to shut up!”
To nobody’s surprise, the incident was caught on video and has gone viral. Here are some of the more colorful responses from the Twitterverse.