by John Dankosky – Monday morning, Where We Live is on the road – back in the cozy studios of WVOF “The Beast” at Fairfield University. We’re welcoming back freshman Congressman Jim Himes, fresh off a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan. Since returning, he’s been on a “town-hall” tour, which finds him listening to a wide range of concerns and criticisms. Judging from the various accounts I’ve read about these meetings, I have a few observations:
1. Himes is hearing from many liberal, progressive voices, who want him to reject President Obama’s planned buildup and begin to withdraw troops now. According to an account in the Connecticut Post, Himes told an angry Stamford resident “I’m not an expert on the tribes of Afghanistan,” but he does seem to genuinely want to listen to residents’ views on the war. He also clearly hasn’t made up his own mind on the issue.
2. While looking for information about Himes’ views since returning, I was struck at just how much this story has been covered by local bloggers and small papers, and how little it’s been covered by the region’s bigger papers. The intense interest that I’m seeing here is starting to look an awful lot like the grass-roots anger over Iraq about four years ago. I’m hearing from people who don’t trust that Afghans will ever be able to take control of their country and that the cost is escalating beyond our ability to pay. It all sounds so familiar.
3. No matter how much we might want to focus on the war, we will also have to spend time talking about health care reform. Himes has faced heat on this issue, too – especially from so-called “tea party” activists.
I’ve already heard from some people with their questions for Himes – add yours in the comments below, email email@example.com or call us at 860-275-7266. Or, if you’re on or near Fairfield’s campus, you can join us live. We’ll have chairs set up to watch, “through the glass.” It’s kinda like our version of the Today Show set at 30 Rock.