In a season when Republican representatives face angry crowds, one man thinks he has found the perfect “safe space” to keep the liberals from asking him difficult questions about the responsibilities of governing.
Gary Palmer, a conservative think tank executive who was elected to represent Alabama’s 6th congressional district in 2014, will hold a public town hall meeting next Saturday — at a Birmingham gun store.
Hoover Tactical Firearms will host the event, which was announced on Palmer’s official website. Despite a bad review from Mike Vanderboegh, founder of the III-Percenter militia, the business has become a fixture in Republican politics. They hosted the state GOP “victory party” in 2012 and a US Senate debate in 2016, though funny story, the “Rainy Day Patriots” forgot to ask first.
The venue is a clever choice for Gary Palmer, who served as a founding board member of the State Policy Network in 1992. A clearinghouse for corporate-friendly legislation and lobbying, SPN has received tens of millions of dollars over the years from a list of the usual suspects, such as the Koch brothers and their Donors Trust network.
Palmer’s background in conservative think tanks explains why he staffed his Washington office with a Heritage Action Network flunky and the former chief counsel to Jeff Sessions, our new Attorney General. By the time he ran for office, Palmer was so respected and connected at every level in Republican politics that he was able to blow away his six primary contenders with superior financial and organizational firepower.
Palmer understands that Alabama voters love penny-pinching platitudes, so he makes a big display of sleeping on his office couch. All those years of think tanking made him very good at making disinformation sound like common sense. Palmer knows how the rubes love aw-shucks presentation, so he makes YouTube videos full of focus-grouped pabulum.
— Gary Palmer (@USRepGaryPalmer) February 4, 2017
So it would be great to see Rep. Palmer face a real town hall crowd — one armed with facts, rapid-firing them accurately at his heart and head. The confrontation might be very revealing, especially if members of the public express concerns about Republican plans to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
Palmer has said some patently untrue things about the ACA. How would he perform in a room where people actually boo his disingenuous think tank responses? He’s betting that by holding his town hall in a gun store, he won’t have to find out.
But given this strange political season and the strength of the Indivisible movement, Gary Palmer might just be in for a big surprise.