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    Del. Greason to constituent: How ‘intellectually lazy’ are you?

    State Del. Tag Greason, a leading Republican lawmaker and state budget negotiator, shot off a testy email to a disagreeable constituent March 28, calling the Leisure World parent community resident “the problem,” saying she was wasting his time and questioning “how intellectually lazy” she is.

    When asked Monday about the exchange, Greason apologized and said he should have “handled it differently.”

    Susan Merk, an elderly resident at Leisure World in eastern Loudoun County, initiated the noted email exchange with her delegate March 24 by voicing her support of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. “It's imperative that federal Medicaid aid is passing the [Virginia] budget,” Merk wrote.

    Greason, an outspoken opponent of expanding Medicaid in Virginia, responded first by thanking Merk for contacting him. He went on to explain his position against expansion, reasoning that “ObamaCare has already proven to be inefficient, costly, and an utter disaster,” and that “Medicaid is one of the largest and fastest-growing parts” of the budget even without expansion.

    Merk responded by saying, “This reply is pitiful – it's nothing but partisan rhetoric, false accusations and invalid excuses.”

    “I will be sure to vote you out the next time you're up for election,” she said.

    Greason's second response to the constituent, in full, is as follows:

    “Pitiful because I am willing to enter a dialogue with you? All you liberals are the same. As soon as someone doesn't agree with you, you shut down communication, call the other side names, take your ball and go home. I understand and am saddened by this approach at the federal level … but your reaction below is THE problem. I did not have to write you back … but I did. I think discussing differences is the only way to solve problems … you would rather leap right to the insults. How intellectually lazy are you? You are the problem. Good luck to you. You can not insult your way to 'victory.' If you are not willing to have a civil discussion, please do not write me again. It is a waste of my time. Thanks, Tag.”

    The third-term GOP delegate is among a select group of House budget negotiators, or conferees, tapped to work on a budget deal between the House and Senate. The Senate has its own slate of conferees who negotiate with Greason and his House colleagues.

    Merk characterized Greason's response as “almost unreal” and “unprofessional.”

    “I shouldn't write to him again because I am wasting his time?” Merk said. “How many emails do you think he gets per day from people who disagree with him just like I did? It's his job to listen to the people he represents.”

    Greason walked back his remarks Monday.

    “I must have been having a very bad day,” Greason told the Times-Mirror. “When one is passionate about his or her role, he can get carried away. Clearly I overstepped with Ms. Merk and for that I am truly sorry. I should have known better than to shoot back at Ms. Merk, it was wrong and I apologize for that."


    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Comments

    Tag does not even know what he talking about he is just repeating what ALEC told him to say. His “facts” are made up and incorrect to actual facts.


    Tag Greason needs to grow a thicker skin instead of that dirty looking beard.


    Sorry, I don’t buy it.  Her intent was to insult Tag and his stance - you can conjugate it anyway you like, she attacked him.


    westLOUDouner, “Your reply is pitiful” is not a personal attack because the word “pitiful” is an adjective referring to the noun “reply.”  Had she written “You are pitiful,” you and Tag would be correct in calling it a personal attack because in that instance, the adjective “pitiful” describes the noun “you.”


    1A in question?  ““Your reply is pitiful” -sounds like a personal attack to me.”

    Merk didn’t say “you are pitiful” - that would be attack.


    “Your reply is pitiful” -sounds like a personal attack to me.


    thank you “more cowbell” for your kind remarks - I hope you have a good day also.


    I did not attack Tag Greason *personally*.  I said his reply was pitiful and contained nothing but partisan rhetoric, false accusations and invalid excuses.  No one can call the ACA a disaster since it has only been active for a few months.  I’m sure Mr. Greason got much worse comments than mine - he should stick with “canned” responses.  He has no idea (nor does anyone who has posted here) what my political leanings are.  Several GOP states have accepted the Medicaid expansion because they feel it is their duty to help their residents.


    Can’t say I blame Tag for telling the irritating lady to basically stuff it, but he shouldn’t have replied they way he did. All too often constituents think just because someone is their elected official it gives them the right to be rude in ways they would not normally. Perhaps this particular constituent can admit this wasn’t her finest hour either.


    It’s funny to see left wingers do the exact same thing with the same old tag lines.


    @fedupdude, even sadder that most pick a party and stand by them no matter how corrupt they are…Both parties are ruining this country.


    Its funny to see right wingers complaining about tactics their own party uses and they supported in the past to hold something they didn’t like up. Smell the hypocrisy.


    @sbmerk, you’re senile if you feel it’s a good idea to hold up an entire state budget for only 400K people. By the way, how much tax do you pay living in Loudoun? Another tax loophole that should be modified. You should have had to live here over 10 years before not paying property taxes. Oh, and I can’t stand Tag, just using common sense something many lack on this topic.


    Since when is Greason a “leading Republican lawmaker”?  It seems like he is more of a back bencher who flipflops whichever way ALEC or leadership tells him to go. 

    And you are not required to have auto insurance.  In Virginia, you can pay a $500 “Uninsured Motorist Fee” and drive with nothing, legally.


    ArtMoFo you are so right. How unfortunate that this well thought out healthcare plan carries a black man’s name.

    I honestly can’t think of another reason why the GOP would be against it.


    Tag was dumb to crack foul on a voter from Leisure World where the residents are politically sophisticated, worldly-wise, and smart. They know the issues better than most elected officials and they VOTE. That precinct with the long lines during the snow storm on special election day in January was Leisure World’s. Maybe Tag isn’t running again next year, because at present he hasn’t made a dent in Richmond. On HB791, a horrendous bill that affects everyone living in an HOA—meaning Tag’s entire constituency—he voted for it the first time, did not vote the second time, and voted for it the third time. Funny that Dels. Ramadan and LaRock found time during the session to discuss it with people who aren’t even their constituents, but Greason was too scared to vote. Right now, in LW’s precinct, Tag is considered “forgotten but not gone.”


    The letter doesn’t seem anything to apologize about.  So the entirety of this story is that an ‘elderly’ woman writes back a nasty reply and is shocked that the favor is returned in kind? Then she’s suddenly shocked and pretends to be the Church Lady, and puts on the ‘poor little old me’ routine for the media?  Not buying it.


    Please people - I’m not a “little old lady” nor do I consider myself “elderly”, which has a decrepit connotation.  And I’m not “disagreeable” - I merely “disagreed” with Greason’s vote on a program which will help 400,000 Virginians and which other Republican states have had the good sense to accept.


    CHIII must not be aware that in the US, one is already required to have auto insurance.


    Not only did Republicans and Democrats draft the ACA, but it was modeled after Romneycare, the Massachussets program that was based on ideas espoused by Newt Gingrich as long ago as the early 1990s. None other than the Heritage Foundation threw a party after its enactment, and trumpeted it as a model for a federal system. Mitt Romney himself in the 2008 GOP primaries race used it as part of his credientials for the nomination.

    Conservatives philosophically loved the idea of an individual mandate back then, because it emphasizes personal responsibility. But they HATED the fact that the Obama administration took their idea and ran with it—it became something that HAD to be opposed simply for that reason. They could NOT allow Obama such a political victory.

    So then—and this is the important part—those same conservatives flip-flopped on their own program. They began informing the uneducated, uncovered poor schmucks who were too dumb to think for themselves that the federal government was FORCING you to buy healthcare, and that was ANTI-FREEDOM. And that next, they would be forcing people to eat broccoli.

    It was the ultimate in political cynicism. And sadly, Del. Greason apparently can’t see that. Which doesn’t say a lot for him.


    This lost money has been debunked so many times I am surprised anyone would try and use it as a argument. The money to pay for this will come from the national debt increase as the shell game with taxpayer dollars continues. In Virginia alone it would be the same as giving 1.8 billion to the insurance companies and hospitals then getting 25% back and calling it a swell deal, not!


    @more cowbell You obviously don’t even understand the Medicaid Expansion one bit…you did pay taxes for what was rightfully due BACK to the state for expansion $5M a day and we have lost $455M todate screwing around with the budget—not politics Mr BELL, facts. And the corrupt elected officials sling, your 1950’s McCarthy “blame big” to intimidate, dogma, sorry old enough to know how his LIES finally hug his game…either get your facts straight like not understanding how the ACA was drafted by bipartisan (you know what that word means, right?)—oh whoops, this anti-Medicaid for your neighbors who are the working poor and disabled and older,  is really about OBAMA BASHING, it is so loud and clear every time. What do you do in your own community to help others? Working poor, disabled, and aging (not old enough yet for medicare with preexisting conditions) individuals, DESERVE the same health care as you. Human beings sir, human beings, not animals.


    Rude and oblivious. Perhaps he’s a little too representative of his district.


    @clejeun, if you’re interested in the 400K that aren’t covered why don’t you pay more taxes to assist in paying for this to pass. The corrupt politicians spend more money on their campaigns then what it would cost to cover these people, yet you don’t see a single one offering to pay more in taxes. I feel I pay enough and don’t feel this is worth holding up a budget. If you feel this is good for Va, then pay up.


    Interesting,  my delegate, Barbara Comstock, failed to repky in any way to my sililar request that she support expanded Medicaid. Maybe she just didn’t want to address any difference of opinion.


    Del. Greason is an elected, and therefore public, official. Essential to his job is the ability to address criticism and opposition, no matter the tone, by defending his position on all issues and not resorting to personal attacks. Much savvier and experienced elected officials deal with far worse everyday with tact and professionalism. Ms. Merk did not attack him personally, she called his response pathetic. Yet he unleashed this attack on her and all “liberals”.  Calls into question how he can fairly represent all of his constituents when he thinks some of them are not worthy of his time. And this wasn’t just a bad day - he gave an intellectually dishonest apology, in my opinion.


    Please don’t take Greason’s response too personally, Ms. Merk.  He sent the EXACT SAME response to me.  Glad you took it to the LTM. His true colors absolutely should be exposed to the public.  Speaking of colors, Loudoun and Virginia are becoming more “blue” every day.  Demographics is destiny, so just bide your time until these greedy creeps are all voted OUT!!!


    Ms. Merk took the “out” by forwarding this to the news rather than having an appropriate discussion.  I’m certain that she is happy with her 5 minutes of fame.

    Kuddos to Tag for caring enough to let his guard down and genuinely responding to an issue that he cares about.  It’s refreshing to have a politician available to exchange views with who is more concerned about the truth than the “politically correct” response.


    BAD DAY?  Nope that doesn’t work. STOP CALLING IT OBAMACARE for the ACA was a RESULT OF BIPARTISAN COMMITTEE WORK that drafted and held non-stop meetings to CRAFT the final bill. Note particularly June-Nov 2009 in SENATE FINANCE ARCHIVES.

    Delegate Greason Medicaid Expansion is bringing tax dollars we gave rightfully BACK TO VIRGINIA, where they belong..There are 68 of you stonewalling for political spite from your Washington Republican puppeteers, so take those 400,000 uninsured folks and divide leaving each one of you with 5,882 individuals to be responsible personally for their healthcare…their future as their LIVES,  is in YOUR HANDS. Chew on that for a while, then vote the right way.


    Bad grade in “how to win friends & influence people 101?”


    Yikes….Tag…..you have to be prepared for these types of exchanges with your constituents.  It would appear from the exchange above that Tag didn’t exactly lay out his reasons with supporting facts when he responded to the woman…so he’s mad that she didn’t like his answer?  Unless there’s more of an explanation that it is incomplete.  Now on to more important things, like….please shave that beard…you’re looking scary


    I fail to see anything wrong with his reply and he has nothing to apologize for.  He was will to discuss the issue; however, she shut the door.  He responded in the same tone she set.  What difference does it make what her age is or where she lives.  She’s no different standing than an 18 year old voter.


    Not a TAG fan and not a obamacare fan. I highly doubt this Seizure world lady even voted for Tag so shocked LTM even printed this. I guess all the good reports are in Fairfax…


    Yea Tag.  Your response was right on.  Her comments were typical of today’s liberals.  I’m glad you had the guts to say what needed to be said.


    This shouldn’t be about liberals versus conservatives. I’m sure conservatives would be up in arms if the same happened to them.  I am a bit concerned about TAG’s half hearted apology, however.  It is hard to fathom someone calling another person intellectually lazy if they don’t even know if they’ve had a bad day.

    Regardless of political leanings, this woman is a constituent and a citizen and should be treated with respect.


    He barely won reelection, I would think he would be on better behavior. He only won by 500 votes in 2013.


    Stiflersmom, a couple of points:

    1) The story you want the LTM to do is the kind you can expect to see in the Washington Post or New York Times, or one of Virginia’s “major” papers. The LTM is a community weekly. It’s a good one but it hardly has the resources to do the story you envision. Your request is akin to having a little leaguer pinch hit in the World Series. In that respect it’s out of the bounds of reasonableness.

    2) I agree with you that it would have been more interesting had the paper published both sides of the exchange in full. But (and perhaps I’m wrong) it appears your only interest in that appears to be to see if Del. Greason was “legitimately” provoked by the little old lady. In that respect, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between your criticism of the story as unworthy of publication and your desire for more of it.


    Guy walks around in a beard saying he won’t shave until somebody passes a bill that he likes.  And he can call others intellectually lazy?  Tag….you’re it.


    Making him aware of the fact that she will not be voting for him in the upcoming election is not an insult. It’s not a personal vendetta against him and he’s acting & taking a fake offended stand against something, claiming that she called him names and ended the discussion. HE ended the discussion and called her names. He just made the claim preemptively and before she could, discounting her credibility. He should have asked what he could do to win her vote and help her, not alienate someone to send her to the other side and possibly himself packing back home (don’t forget the LIFETIME pensions for congressmen!) He is the elected official and owes it to her and each one of us to be accountable for his decisions.


    I love how all the regular GOPers on these board are attacking the writer of the letter…. who happens to be a little old lady from Leisure World.

    Stay classy Tag.


    Art, with all due respect, Tag’s on his 3rd term and has a strong track record of constituent service. Tag acknowledged his response was wrong and issued an apology. He’s offered a true act of contrition and stated remorse. So what’s the point in beating a dead horse, other than to perpetuate hyper- partisan dysfunction?

    On a side note the LTM should have posted the entirety of the email exchange, so their readers could have the benefit of the entire exchange and context.  I suspect Ms. Merk’s initial and subsequent emails contained aggressive and disparaging.

    I’ve known Tag for several years, he is not a hot head. Nor is he the type to fly off the handle. Tag has always been willing to debate the merits of his decisions. I’ve personally ribbed him for a few of his votes, but Tag explain the who, why, what and when…and he has earned my respect for educating me on his reasoning.

    I still stand behind my original comment that this story isn’t worthy of a tabloid/blog much less this newspaper’s website.  If the LTM reporter or Editors want to do a service (and arguably their job), why not do the research on the federal funds, budget overruns of state funded Medicare and the fiscal impact on expanding or not expanding funding? Now that’s what journalism is…this story is more like yellow journalism.


    This man is a public servant, attacking a constituent who, if she lives in LeisureWorld, is obviously NOT on Medcaid, IF that is the problem (which it is not).

    It’s good that Del. Tag Greason apologized. That was the right thing to do. But unlike stiflersmom, I don’t think that gives him some sort of “immunity” to having an article done on this subject. Communications with constituents are part of the public record, under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. And the 1st Amendment to the constitution allows the newspaper to decide what is news and what is not.

    Both of Greason’s response were canned stuff from the Club of Growth/Koch Bros/Tea Party/Sean Hannity/Rush Limbaugh crowd. And in that sense, they were UNTHINKING. And Virginians deserve better than to have unthinking lawmakers representing him.

    Wake up, people! You want to know why EVERY statewide office-holder is a Democrat, and why the last two presidential elections went to Democrats, after GOP presidential candidates took the previous 10 in a row? It’s because the brains of the commonwealth’s Republicans have been infected with the idiotic, Tea Party rot like Greason wrote in his responses to Merk.


    Give’m the whole 9 yards Tag.. These foolish liberals don’t get it and they never will. Any letters and emails you get from Liberals should be thrown in the trash.


    Tag!  You’re it.


    “As soon as someone doesn’t agree with you, you shut down communication, call the other side names, take your ball and go home. I understand and am saddened by this approach at the federal level … but your reaction below is THE problem. I did not have to write you back … but I did. I think discussing differences is the only way to solve problems … you would rather leap right to the insults.”

    That’s EXACTLY the problem with liberals and the Left.


    I’m not defending Tag. He and I have disagreed more than we have agreed…but (yes there’s always a but)...He clearly apologized, took responsibility for his response yet the LTM writes an article about this? Come on…there are far more pressing matters, this story translates to a reporter who is so obviously biased that he’s willing to write about anything that makes a GOP member look bad. What would be far more valuable is a story on the Cost, Revenue and impact on the budget…not this gossip story that doesn’t deserve to be on a blog, yet alone a “credible” newspaper’s website.


    I guess links aren’t allowed in comments as my last post didn’t include it.  Anyway my referenced source for the ACA can be found by googling “reddit” and “what exactly is obamacare”.

    Excellent article.


    And “handled it differently” is code for “I never thought the LTM would publish that.


    Tag (and his beard) proves to be another partisan that repeats the GOP company line about Obamacare.

    What they fear most is that it works… and its working already.

    Kentucky uninsured just dropped 40% bc of Obamacare.  Explain that Taggy.

    If this is who is negotiating, then Tag is the problem.


    7 million is a far cry from a success story. There are 310 million in the U.S. We really need to improve our education system in America, we have people in government who cant do simple math.


    CHH, as I am sure you know the ACA is extremely politically charged.  Hard to tell what is true and not true.

    What is your best source?


    I’m definitely on the opposite side of the political spectrum from Mr. Greason, but I am mystified as to why Ms. Merk expects anything other than a rude response to her own rudeness. Or does she expect that “the customer is always right?”


    This is a disaster of a law that was surreptitiously passed and forced on the American public. What next? They will force you to buy life insurance, car insurance, flood insurance, etc. Do we really want the government running our lives? They can’t even run this program.


    The number of deaths attributable to the lack of Medicaid expansion in Virginia is between 266 and 987 persons per year. This is a moral issue.


    If this is an example of how TAG deals with an opposing opinion I don’t have much confidence in his selection as one of the committee members to derive compromise.  Is this the best the GOP has?


    Too bad Greason is the one on the wrong side of the facts. The CBO has already said Obamacare is working for the common person, saving households money while expanding coverage.


    About time someone (Tag) stood up to the liberals.

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