Years and years ago, I covered Washington for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as part of a small Washington wire service. This meant chatting regularly with Rep. Jim McGovern, probably once of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, as well as one of the House’s most liberal members, from a heavily Democratic district.
I cringe when I hear he was compared to Josef Mengele at a recent constituent meeting, but it appears he and Rep. Richard Neal got an earful:
U.S. Reps. James P. McGovern and Richard E. Neal were heckled and booed after trying to rally support today for President Barack Obama’s plan for a comprehensive national health insurance program.
The two Worcester-area Democratic lawmakers were shouted down several times by people attending a packed “town hall” meeting at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
When there’s skepticism and criticism in McGovern’s district, it’s well beyond a right-wing Republican phenomenon. The UMass Med School doesn’t strike me as hotbed of small-government libertarianism. It sounds like McGovern came through without any hard feelings: “This is still the United States of America and people have the right to be heard . . . The meeting wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t always polite but I got the opportunity to express my view on the subject.”
UPDATE: A Massachusetts reader writes in, “It wasn’t McGovern that was compared to Mengele. It was the Doctor who was the MC for the event, when he was making a point about doctors and end of life care. The T & G just said it was McGovern. Not a very on-point or useful comparison, but the person was mad at the doctor, not McGovern.”