Ryan's Greenfield Audience had Mixed Reactions

The congressmen was met with large ovations as well as boos and jeers.

A capacity crowd of more than 550 people packed the Whitnall High School auditorium for Congressman Paul Ryan’s third of three scheduled listening sessions in Southeastern Wisconsin on Thursday.

And from the outset, the congressman from Janesville had to bob and weave around heckles and jeers.

Ryan received a standing ovation from a majority of the crowd when he took the stage a few minutes after 3 p.m., but was also met with a chorus of boos.

“There’s a lot of media here today,” Ryan said. “Let’s show them that we’re Wisconsinites and that we can have a civil debate, even if we disagree.”

Ryan’s comments on lifting what he called the moratorium on drilling for oil and gas in the United States, to lessen the country’s dependency on foreign energy supplies drew two large ovations, perhaps the largest of the afternoon.

But drilling was not popular among all those in attendance. One man booed Ryan loudly when he discussed the topic early on.

“I guess that guy doesn’t like it,” Ryan said, to which a woman responded, “He’s not alone.”

The back-and-forth continued throughout the session, which began with a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation. Ryan was interrupted often and others shouted over each other to try to be heard by the congressman.

“Screaming doesn’t work,” Ryan said. “Didn’t we just say we’re Wisconsinites? Be civil with one another. … Are you going to be polite, or are you going to yell? You’re bigger than that.”

Steve Jozefczyk, who attended an earlier session in Waterford and posed a question to Ryan there as well, drew boos from some when he admitted to changing clothes so he could ask another question about Ryan’s much publicized budget plan.

“We have different opinions on how to grow the economy, that’s totally legitimate and cool,” Ryan responded before moving on.

Ryan often tried to deal with the hecklers with comedy. When one person shouted, “Draft dodger,” Ryan laughed and said, “I’ve heard it all before.”

When another man said the government was run by corrupt, unintelligent and unqualified people, Ryan said, “I really don’t have an argument for that.”

The crowd was made up of mostly people 55 and above, with few attendees in their 20s or even 30s.

“I think he was listening to concerns. I liked his presentation. I liked the graphics he provided and that he presented information in ways we could understand,” said Bill Dickinson of Bay View.

Dickinson added he was not surprised with the reaction of the crowd despite Ryan’s pleas.

“He said, let’s talk to each other, let’s be civil and let’s cover all the bases,” Dickinson said. “I’ll give you my take on it and I’ll present my plans. If you have something to say, tell me about it.”

There was mild police presence as two members of the Greenfield Police Department stood near the entrances and a few police cars patrolled the parking lot.

J. B. Schmidt April 29, 2011 at 01:50 PM
True, but if supply goes up, price comes down. Can you please show me where Ryan's plan screws the middle class? Also, when you factor in that taxing "the rich" at 100% won't close Obama's predicted budget deficit, who will he tax next? Obama's plan calls for rationing Medicare based on need and medical success, Ryan's plan tries to prevent rationing.
Mary W April 29, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Jon, you need to find some numbers that are not from the Heritage Foundation. They received over a million dollars from the Koch brothers last year. Mr. Ryan's projections were all furnished by the Heritage Foundation.
Harold April 29, 2011 at 06:55 PM
I'm proud to have US Senator Ryan representing Wisconsin. Wisconsin Senators should borrow a page from his book. Not only does he show up for work, but he's actually DOING it! Let's hope the other Senators don't stomp out of the room if his ideas find purchase across the US!
tja April 29, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Mary and Oliver, I would like to know what your plan is to save this country for our kids and grandkids. The plan that Mr. Ryan put forward my not be perfect but it is still a plan to reduce our budget deficits and debt problems. We as a country muist stop looking at it from a "me" position and should look at it from a "us" position.
JR Hayslett April 29, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Very slick. Although the event was billed as a "listening session," Ryan did the vast majority of the talking. Even when he finally permitted a few people in the audience, whom he selected, to ask questions (which made me wonder if they were plants as most certain provided a platform for him to expound even further, Ryan chimed in. That was especially true with the couple of people with negative comments/questions he called on. I became even more suspicious when Ryan said he recognized a critic from an earlier session. If he did, why pick him, given that so many other people had their hands up to be called on, and that he knew the guy was antigonistic and just wanted to bait him rather than ask a serious question? My sense was that Ryan knew the guy would be snarky and sarcastic, thus would boost Ryan's cred and taint all of his critics with that one bad, uncivil example. (Continued...)
JR Hayslett April 30, 2011 at 12:02 AM
That the questioners were Ryan plants became even more evident when the last person he called on -- whom he said would be the last person allowed to ask a question -- asked Ryan a question that he had addressed repeatedly in his presentation and other comments. That was, would his budget proposal affect people over 55 years old. The man had to already know the answer -- or to have been brain dead during the entire session. The ploy was to have that question be the last one so it would give Ryan the opportunity to not only repeat his answer one more time (which was, no, it won't), but so that would be the last and most lasting thing his audience, which he had already confirmed by a show of hands was about 80 percent older than 55, would hear.
UudyJa April 30, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Paul Ryan does a very nice job talking to an audience. If I had the opportunity to ask a question, it would have been "What, specifically, is being done to hold insurance costs down?" He might have danced around the answer and said (again) something about structuring it so the insurance companies become more competitive (which, come on, how does that work???!!) Insurance costs are what is driving so much of this issue-and those companies just keep racking in the dough. As for the question what will we leave to our children and their children. here's what I don't want to leave them: polluted land and skies, water which is tainted (check out frakking those of you who are so excited to have us go after the gas in the rocks as Exxon commercial tells us we can so easily do-investigate and see what happens to the water supply in areas where this has been done), soldiers who return home traumatized by and the generations of ill-will around the world from wars & occupations we have no business being in (while Haliburton and others grow richer), the list could go on and on.... What ever happened to anti-trust laws? And I don't want a small business owner taxed to the degree they can't make a go of it. I do want to very richest taxed at a higher rate though. And I want politicians to stop using fear as a motivator...something one party is quite adept at and the other seems to snooze through.
Paul Ollenburg April 30, 2011 at 04:40 PM
The average price of regular was $1.84 the day Obama was sworn in. The national average price of regular today is $4.03 and rising. Bush announced an end to the moratorium on drilling which he inherited from Clinton as one of his first official acts as President in 2001. The price at the pump began coming down immediately. If the argument that "it'll take years & etc." was anything other than Lefty bunk, that WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED in 2001. But the price DID come down dramatically and immediately. As it will again once Obama's dimwitted current moratorium is lifted. Abundant supply of any commodity brings the price of that commodity down. Scarce supply drives the price up. The usual conspiracy theories of some of the above "contributors" notwithstanding, the only question left to ask here is, "How do you feel about $5.00+ per gallon gasoline?" And how much longer are Obama's current idiotic energy policies going to be allowed to cost us billions unnecessarily? Windmills, anyone?
R Sayas May 01, 2011 at 12:37 AM
Paul, your ideaology is completely idiotic. You claim that the gas started to come down immediately when Bush was in office. Gas was at $1.53 average when bush took office. The gas prices did come down somewhat, but they were never that high to begin with. The highest gas prices under Clinton was $1.66 per gallon, but under Clinton's administration during his entire presidency, gas averaged $1.15 per gallon. Under Bush's presidency, gas peaked at $4.05 per gallon in July of 2008. The only reason that the gas prices started coming down was because of the recession that started under his watch. Actually, gas prices were $1.59 in December of 2008 and at $1.83 and rising when Obama took office in January 2009. Gas prices averaged $2.10 per gallon under the Bush presidency, a 37% increase during his tenure. Gas prices averaged $2.65 per gallon under the Obama presidency, a 44.% increase during his tenure. Not bad for a president that took over for one that put us in a recession to beging with. One last tidbit for you. Gas prices have under Obama have gone up 26% over the Bush average. The gas price average under Bush from Clinton went up 82%. How's that for an increase. Fact. Bush nor Obama control the gas prices. OPEC does and certainly giving 20 Billion dollar tax breaks to oil companies doesn't help either. Nuf said.
Paul Ollenburg May 01, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Dear Comrade Sayas: Average price for regular the day Obama took office : $1.84. Average price for regular on Friday: $4.03. We are now paying 214% for a gallon of regular gas as compared to what we were paying the day your idiot took office. National unemployment rate the day Obama took office: 9+%. National unemployment rate after your idiot poured some 2 TRILLION DOLLARS worth of "stimulus" God knows where--STILL 9+%. Doesn't look like THAT did much good, does it, comrade? The housing market is still falling like a rock. Gee, shouldn't that 2 TRILLION DOLLARS have somehow helped THAT one out somehow? Nope, doesn't seem to have had any difference there either. And no, the numbers you dredged up from the Huffington Post or the Daily "Cost" aren't very convincing I'm afraid. 100% of nothing is STILL 100% of nothing and NOTHING IS ALL WE HAVE GOTTEN FROM IDIOT OBAMA from day one. Sure he's played something like 80 rounds of golf since he got in. Held a bunch of swanky parties at the White House featuring Stevie Wonder and a certain former Beetle. Which we taxpayers all paid for. But the price of gasoline is still 114% higher than the day your clown took office, and the unemployment rate hasn't improved one little bit. And one more thing: When your idiot shut down the Gulf oil industry last year, his genius move knocked 100,000 people out of their jobs and dried up a quarter of our daily domestic oil supply. Which now has to come from OVERSEAS. Allahu Akbar!
Bren May 02, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Paul, calling R Sayas "Comrade" for pointing out facts is inappropriate. Your comments indicate you have forgotten Pres. Obama took office during the economic free fall. Have you also forgotten that Pres. George W. Bush handed out the first wave of stimulus funding? The difference, you'll remember, between his and Pres. Obama's is that Bush's was just a handout (remember the AIG bonus shocker?). A lot has been done to slow the recession and jobs are slooowly returning. A big continuing problem is outsourcing-how do we get those jobs back and at good pay? And your remarks about golf-have you forgotten that by 9/11/2001, having been in office less than 2 years, George had already taken more vacation time than any other president in U.S. history (and that included 2-term presidents)? And yes, we bankrolled all of that, too. Oil production is at peak and that's a problem. The solution is to hold on to what we have and find alternative energy solutions, not bleed out our reserves and be at the mercy of other nations. And you do remember that there is a design flaw in the valve system on a number of oil platforms that still hasn't been fixed. People died in the BP oil disaster (which included an explosion)! Perhaps you also have forgotten that the U.S. Gov. began re-issuing permits for Gulf drilling some time ago (although the valve issue still exists). Your "100,000" were probably glad to wait until safety improved before returning to the platforms.
Bren May 02, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Mr. Bahls, I'm glad the WI-14 stopped the "budget repair" bill until we had a chance to see what was in it. No budget "repair," a false meme that the state emp. pension fund (actually one of the most solvent in the U.S.) was costing taxpayers money, new crony appointments, etc. The senators were telecommuting the entire time they were out of state, at a time when other reps like Sen. Alberta Darling were hiding from their constituents, or embarrassing themselves on national television like Reps. Fitzwater and Grothman. Republican congressfolk are also finding that their rubber stamp votes on the "Path to Prosperity" made them no friends in their districts. That's why Republicans had to have a conference call recently to discuss how to handle their angry constituents. I was very glad to see that Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner didn't vote for this budget. The good news is that Ryan's plan will never make it through the U.S. Senate. The bad news is that we taxpayers have to foot the bill for Ryan's folly.
Paul Ollenburg May 03, 2011 at 04:23 PM
Dear Bren: And here I thought that "comrade" was a term of endearment among you people! Just trying to be neighborly, you know. And get off the lame contention that poor Obama "inherited" all those BADS from the evil George Bush. You seem to conveniently forget that when Barack The Magnificent was running for president 30 months ago, he was being portrayed as THE MAGIC MAN, THE APOTHEOSIS OF DEMOCRACY COME DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS! The guy with ALL THE ANSWERS! Why, with just a flick of his wrist and a few glib words, the sky would open, the global-warming ravaged seas would recede, all our enemies would love us, Kum Ba Yah all around! BUT UNEMPLOYMENT IS JUST AS BAD AS IT WAS THE DAY HE SWORE IN. THE MIDDLE EAST IS BURNING DOWN AND GOVERNMENT AFTER GOVERNMENT THERE THAT USED TO BE FAVORABLY DISPOSED TO US ARE GETTING KNOCKED OFF ONE AFTER THE OTHER (to be replaced by government by Mullah, Sharia despotism, and a return to the 12th Century). GASOLINE COSTING 214% OF WHAT IT DID 2 YEARS AGO. AND NOW WE'RE 2 TRILLION DOLLARS IN THE HOLE FOR A WHOLE LOT OF OBAMA "STIMULUS" THAT HAS DISAPPEARED WITHOUT A TRACE (putting us still further in debt to Red China which has conducted military studies in recent years on how to defeat our navy and land forces in the Pacific). So your Magic Answer Man hasn't exactly lived up to your expectations, has he? Now call me a RACIST, honey! That's the usual response from dullards like you when you're getting it with some truths about...
Roger May 03, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Paul I agree with you a 100 percent!
Mary W May 04, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Adjust the tax code for millionaires. Give those billionaires at the top a heftier tax. They will never miss it. How about taxing some of their forms of revenue not taxed now, too (Jon Schmidt). How about a windfall profits tax on those oil companies that made record profits this quarter? How about the inheritance tax being upped a little?Our founding fathers never intended any of us to sit back and live it up as beneficiaries from rich relatives. They left their homes to escape the pressures from oppressive royalty. In this country, the richest can buy their own palace, in their own gated community or on the penthouse floor (sans drawbridge). How about a tax on playing the stock market. (Can't remember what it is called. Never had the money to invest, esp. now that I am one of those in the % of unemployed since the crash.) What is your vision of America? I look at it this way. It is a revenue problem, not a spending problem. America has never had a spending problem within the last 50 years. Look at the 1950s. Happy Days! The tax rate for the top earners was 90%! And they paid it without cheating the American people with loop holes and the like. Those taxes brought in money to keep our standard of living higher than any other nation. There is plenty of money out their. I's just not in our pockets.
the tree May 05, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Since we're talking about raising taxes because it's a "revenue problem, not a spending problem", why not a "Teacher Tax"? An increase of 10% for all teachers. And a additional 5% on all teacher salaries over $100K. Consider it a windfall tax. Since we never had a spending problem, compare government spending from 1950 or 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 to 2010. Then rethink your premise.
Mary W May 05, 2011 at 04:48 PM
a teacher tax. I apologize to any teachers who may read this. You are not the enemy. You are Scott Walker's scapegoat. I will not argue with "the tree." It would be like talking to a tree. Teachers, I wish you well with the rest of your school year. Many of you will be employed by your districts to help with summer school. And those who must take summer jobs to "make ends meet," I wish you well in the job market. To those who have been terminated due to the budget, we will continue to support your cause. Many of us know how important your work is to our children. We know that you do more than spout facts and give tests. As we were growing up, many of us were taught to talk to a teacher if something was bothering us. You are the mom or dad that we did not talk to. You are so much more than I will write here. Thank you.
Harold May 05, 2011 at 05:11 PM
And teachers, thank you for not taking taxpayer money for you're unscheduled day off for "solidarity". We know you had our kids best interest at heart and don't wish to work any more days than you have too.
Paul Ollenburg May 05, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Damn right, Mary W! Let's tax George Soros out of existence! And Warren Buffet! After all, didn't he say he wouldn't mind paying a little extra? Let's take ALL of it! And his kid who lives on Lake Drive here in Milwaukee! Wipe him out too! And all those Goldman Sachs millionaires and billionaires who gave all that money to get Obama elected! Destroy them all! Pauperize them all! And all those Hollywood liberal types! George Clooney, Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandin! Squeeze 'em till they scream! Take everything they got! Throw 'em out into the street pennyless! Arrrrgghhh! NOW, AFTER ALL THAT VENTING AND GETTING EVEN, ARE YOU FEELING ANY BETTER NOW, MARY W? Just asking....
Mary W May 07, 2011 at 02:40 PM
to Paul Ollenburg You must really be loaded to respond like that. Dinner at the Ollenburg's everybody! Why are you against taxing the top 2%? Why do you defend those who are legally robbing you blind? Will you be feeling better when you have to choose between food and medicine? We have a moral obligation to help those in need. I usually don't thump the bible but, "whatever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me." Matt 25:40. When you are asked, are you putting ANYTHING in the collection plate, or are you a CINO (Christian in name only)? What would you like me to say about your comment, Paul? Better them than me? Just askin...
Bren May 07, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Paul, "comrade" is a Socialist term (one voice, one party-no thanks!). It's not neighborly, it's unpatriotic. And correct me please. Wasn't the economy already falling apart under George W. Bush? Why was that happening? And I never heard that Barack Obama was "Magic Man," "All the Answers," et al. I believe people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh were mocking him in this way, but they are paid entertainers who make a living by pandering to people who like to point fingers. Glenn made $30 million/year, but that might go down-he just lost his tv show. Look it up. At one point the U.S. was losing 800,000 jobs/month. We are now just slowly starting to see some recovery. You have no evidence to support your claims about revolutionaries in the ME. This is wild, pointless conjecture. Gasoline prices going up? Obama wasn't in office during all of the deregulation. Look it up. And no. It was GWB's "stimulus" that was corporate welfare. Obama's stimulus money contained controls, and is being paid back, slowly (we are still in recession). The Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts put us dangerously into debt with "Red" China (they are actually a Socialist country). The only good thing is that now their economy is tied up with ours-if we fall, so do they. And yes, my "Magic Answer Man" is living up to my expectations. He recognizes that health insurance costs are killing this country, and we have to improve jobs. Are you a racist? Only you would know.
Bren May 07, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Mary, I have contact with a number of MPS schools-every one is losing teachers in 2011-2012. It's a tragedy that our children, the future of our country, are being punished for the short-sightedness of our current state leadership. Without a complete education, how will children learn about other cultures and be prepared for the global economy? Thank you for your good wishes toward teachers, which I share. They are very special. Who else would work 70 hours/week, having their heartstrings torn out by the tragic stories that children in high poverty Milwaukee schools share every day? Gunfights, crack houses, prostitution, gangs in their neighborhoods making it difficult to concentrate on homework, little food to eat at home, parents unable to find work and unemployment run out. Teachers have to help kids who deal with this every day. At one MPS school, teachers find donations of hats, mittens, and coats-on their own time-because parents can't afford them-and I know this isn't the only school doing that. They pay for supplies themselves all the time. When we talk to teachers, all they care about is how they can help "their kids." Who else with a master's degree would willingly go through this for a 5-figure salary? Teachers are my heroes.
the tree May 08, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Bren, I'll pass your kind words on to my sister, and brother and sister-in-laws. They all retired from MPS at 55 and are enjoying their retirements. They are getting by on their modest pensions and free health care for life. My sister's pension is $58k and my in-laws have a combined pension of $124K. It would have been larger, but my sister-in-law worked less than 20 years in MPS. They are thankful that with a full life expectancy, they will make more in retirement than in all the years they spent working. They are also thankful that they didn't have to contribute any money to their retirements. They too, are my heroes.
Bren May 08, 2011 at 05:25 AM
Tree, what is your point, other than you appear to begrudge your family members for having pensions? Would you really take your sister and brother's pensions away if you could?
the tree May 08, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Bren, your reply was very judgmental. I was just pointing out how thankful they are for the system that allowed them those blessings. Oh, and when they retired, they moved out of Milwaukee and supplement their pensions by working part time in different educational systems. Since you asked, I wouldn't take away their pensions, but I do think the system should be changed to raise the retirement age from 55, require a modest contribution toward their pensions, and a partial payment toward their heath insurance after retirement. Do you think that is too draconian?
Mary W May 08, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Instead of us arguing about who gets what, look at it this way, we should all be enjoying better retirements, pensions and health care. Just look at senators and congressmen. Public employees are the last income-earners to enjoy these benefits. America is the last industrialized nation to address the need for "benefits" of this kind. What kind of value do we have for our older citizens? What kind of vision do we have for America (the other 98%)? Happy Mother's Day to my mom, who is 90 years old. She has lived below the poverty level since 1983. Things have gotten much worse for her lately, so my sisters and I help out even more. And the thing that Mom is most concerned about is her donation to the church. The widow's mite.
Paul Ollenburg May 08, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Regarding your comments of May 7th, a "Christian" like yourself should remember a few things, the next time you want to throw your "Christianity" in other people's faces: Try reviewing the 10th Commandment, the essence of which is covet NOTHING that is your neighbor's. Not his wealth, nor his property, not ONE THING that is your neighbor's. The riches some people have, and how they acquired them, will be the weight that DRAGS THEM STRAIGHT TO HELL. But that the Lord will decide that, NOT YOU. That happens to be none of YOUR concern. Don't overreach yourself by PRESUMING to do God's work here on earth for Him. And remember somthing else: Absent from the body, present with the Lord. When you die you're not going to lay in the ground for a thousand years waiting. Nor are you going to go to Purgatory. There is no Purgatory in the Bible. The moment you leave the body, you'll be standing before the Lord and His Father. And since you seem to have nothing going for you except PRIDEFUL, SMALL-MINDED COVETOUSNESS, that prospect should give you much to worry about. Once you leave the flesh, at that point it's too late to say you're SORRY or do anything to CORRECT the way you've LIVED THAT LIFE, ALL YOUR LIFE. And if the Lord says, "I know ye not," GUESS WHERE YOU'RE HEADED!
Paul Ollenburg May 08, 2011 at 07:41 PM
So, Mary, it's now time for you to BECOME the Christian that you're presenting yourself as being. Nowhere in the Bible are you given the divine right to go sticking your hand into other people's pockets. Your self-righteous covetousness is PROHIBITED by the 10th Commandment. And no amount of Biblical quotataion from yourself can hide what's really motivating you. The Lord distributes the bounty of His world as He sees fit. Argue with Him if you want, but that's a trapdoor leading straight downward to you know where. Reflect on these truths as you will. And happy Mothers Day.
Allyson S. Harris August 11, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Wow! Didn't anybody ever teach you that "name calling" and nasty snarky sarcasm doesn't even work on the bully elementary school playground let alone in a "civil discussion? Let's see..."Comrade"; and "Allahu Akbar!". So you are accusing R. Sayas of being...hmmm...let's see, a Russian and an Arab? And calling the President of the Country an "idiot" can get you shot in some countries. Since you seem to know SO much about "Comrades" and the phrase "Allahu Akbar!" perhaps you should go live in one of THOSE countries for a while. It might at the very lease clean up your mouth!
Allyson S. Harris August 11, 2012 at 07:41 PM
There are some amazingly nasty arrogant people on this forum! The bottom line is, MOST of us middle class folks (or those of us who used to be middle class now that the class itself is becoming almost extinct) have worked darn hard for 30 and 40 years for the bit that we have - homes that have lost value since 2008 (you know, before our current President even took office), children we couldn't put through college that are now amassing huge "college loan" debt and can't find jobs in their fields, etc. Now, the wealthiest 2% of the population - MOST but not all, have inherited monies that they invested (many investing in overseas investment opportunities). They are not taxed on that wealth because it is not considered income. Perhaps any monies that people have to live on should be considered income and taxed accordingly! I'd like to see THAT put into our draconian tax code! At 55 I found I had to dip into my retirement IRA to help my husband, who works hard but doesn't make a lot. That's money I earned and saved and was forced to invest in the stock market (and which tumbled drastically from well over $150,000 to just over $80,000 during the "crash" of 2008). That, however, is considered income because I am not 59 1/2 - so I pay a whopping 10% at the outset, and it is still considered income so I will pay additional tax at the end of this year. These investors do not pay ANYTHING on their dividends. There is something drastically wrong with that.


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