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Dems Skip Town Halls – To Avoid ‘Rage’

From the DNC’s own flagship, the New York Times:

Political Memo – Democrats Skip Town Halls to Avoid Voter Rage


June 6, 2010

BEL AIR, Md. — … If the time-honored tradition of the political meeting is not quite dead, it seems to be teetering closer to extinction. Of the 255 Democrats who make up the majority in the House, only a handful held town-hall-style forums as legislators spent last week at home in their districts.

So much for having a representative government.

Still, we thought all the anger was at ‘incumbents.’ What do Democrats have to fear?

It was no scheduling accident.

With images of overheated, finger-waving crowds still seared into their minds from the discontent of last August, many Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions. The recommendations were clear: hold events in controlled settings — a bank or credit union, for example — or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects.

And to reach thousands of constituents at a time, without the worry of being snared in an angry confrontation with voters, more lawmakers are also taking part in a fast-growing trend: the telephone town meeting, where chances are remote that a testy exchange will wind up on YouTube.

Notice that this is a “political memo.” That is, The Times is telling Democrats to avoid these dangerous town halls, and what to do instead.

For incumbents of both parties facing challenging re-election bids, few things receive more scrutiny than how, when and where they interact with voters. Many members of Congress err on the side of being visible, but not too visible, and make only a few public appearances while they are back in their districts…

An examination of public schedules for dozens of members of Congress last week showed that more House Republicans held open meetings, including several in a series of forums called America Speaking Out, which is intended to help write the party’s agenda if it wins control of Congress in November.

The anger that erupted at meetings last summer — focused, particularly, on the health care legislation — helped draw attention to Tea Party activists. A year later, some of the images are resurfacing once again and will almost certainly be used against lawmakers in television advertisements over the next five months…

You see, “images” will be used against lawmakers. Not their record of voting against the expressed will of their constituents.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 7th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Dems Skip Town Halls – To Avoid ‘Rage’”

  1. Chinnubie says:

    Images have always been used against lawmakers, but I hope the outrage from last year continues into November regardless of how they represent themselves. The big thing I hope lawmakers know & understand is to get the Obamacare legislation repealed if they do nothing else. This monstrosity of a law is destructive to our way of life and needs to be reversed. When the Republicans take over Congress I sincerely hope they realize that most people are still hot under the collar about this crappy law. Another reason I want to see this repealed would be to show Obama he is not in charge “we the people” are.

  2. David says:

    Define Irony: Democrats regularly claiming to want a more populist, democratic country who are too scared to actually listen to “the voice of the people”.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The mechanisms for why the American people are really PO’ed are quite easy to understand. Washington has become the “intellectual” center of our government where they are disconnected from the people.

    The limos, the special treatment and everyone taking care of their every whim is intoxicating and completely AGAINST the intent of what our government was intended to be. When I read what the secret service authors write about state functions, homes that belong to elected officials and the like, I am simply and immediately reminded of how royalty past and present is treated.

    It’s unbelievable and apparently very intoxicating. Elected officials get used to it very quickly and their personality quirks start coming out. They are surrounded by people who never question their behavior, thus implying permission and acceptance.

    Then the brain says, “Well, I can now be lazy and I don’t have to think anymore and just worry about things that get me re-elected”.

    Over-simplified, of course but at the basis are spoiled little children in adult bodies who gravitate to self-gratification (Kennedy and Dodd) and actually end up thinking they are smart (Pelosi and Reid) and the longer they stay, the worse it gets. They love the life of royalty and truly do not understand those of us who wash our own clothes, go to the grocery store, pay bills.

    Term limits should’ve been set in place long ago. It was done for the POTUS; Why not senators and congressmen? In some cases, that bloated old fart of a fish, Kennedy had more power than a sitting president simply because he’d been in Washington so long and had a deeply entrenched network of dealmaking. That’s not right. No one should have more power than anyone.

    I say…cap some spending on them, curtail their budgets and examine how they spend the taxpayer’s money very carefully every quarter. Hey, if the military can do it, so can congress and the senate.

    The central accounting office should and MUST provide a quarterly spending spreadsheet, to be published in the papers or separately.

    Then we can see who the silk-pillow types are and get rid of them, along with their voting records an so on. No need to claim transparency as they should be transparent by law.

    • Right of the People says:

      “Then the brain says, “Well, I can now be lazy and I don’t have to think anymore and just worry about things that get me re-elected”.

      Not really, it’s right on the money and you don’t need a more complicated answer.

      As far as term limits, yes they are desperately needed but the Catch-22 of that situation is Congress would have to vote them in. The only other way would be an amendment to the Constitution but once again Congress controls that process. Now if we could have a Constitutional Convention we could do it without them but I’m not sure how you convene one of those.

      You state that Teddy the Lush had more power than a sitting president, once again right on the money. The president can only be around for 8 years at most, a senator forever. Back in ’60 Johnson didn’t want to run as Kennedy’s VP because of the enormous loss of power. He ruled the Senate whereas the VP is pretty much a political eunuch. Of course depending on who you believe, he rectified that little problem if you know what I mean.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Thanks RotP. For me, I always have to bring things down to a simple mechanism. I have often found that people usually function on a more primal level, even “intellectuals” who don’t seem to realize they’re doing it.

      However, I also have to be aware of the fact that sometimes there are mitigating things like environment, upbringing, even brain-damage that cause politicians to behave the way they do.

      Or anyone, for that matter.

      But I still feel that term limits is a must. Maybe Uncle Teddy had a lot of clout, but to me he was no more important than the janitor on “Scrubs”. And, far less savvy and fun to be around. And he got there and stayed there due to a huge undertow of guilt for his brothers getting killed. That may work for giving someone a puppy, but not for letting them usurp the Constitution at every opportunity.

      I always wanted to ask a representative that if they had a contract for a house to be built and the contractors didn’t follow the blueprint, wouldn’ they be just a little miffed? Even if they wanted a Dutch Colonial and got, instead, a Swiss Chalet? However, we know the truth…that the American people want a nice ranch-style house but the government throws the blueprint away, then has all sorts of people pour concrete, throw up wall studs, install plumbing with absolutely no rhyme or reason other than to say, “Well, shucks, yes it expensive…but you’ll pay it”. At the end we have a house you cannot live in, that will crumble to the ground in a light breeze and looks like crap.

      The rest of the neighborhood looks at it, points and laughs. “Ha ha ha…you were going to build that Ranch-style house….hahaha…Looks like crap. And you’re paying HOW MUCH? Holy crap! You really are stupider than you look!”

      So somehow from the 50’s we’ve become a laughing stock. Is it all simply driven by hippies who are now approaching senior-citizen status who are FINALLY trying to impress upon their Bourgeois buddies in Yurp that they are….after all….just as cool as them? Is it that simple? I often think it is.

      I watched child behavior when I WAS a child and noted the desire to go along…to fit in rather than be ridiculed. I found, early on…that if I went along, I would get ridiculed anyway. It stung then, but it made me acutely aware of populist attitudes and what going along can do to people. Millions of Jews, Christians, the infirm/elderly, mentally handicapped died because people “went along”.

      Now I ask you….what group is currently more likely to “reason” that the elderly should die to “make way for the young”… The current administration and its hippies or solid, independently minded Americans who are trying to live a decent life?

      Seems academic to me.

  4. heykev says:

    “many Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions.”

    Not all of them are fortunate to have a teleprompter to use at EVERY occasion. Maybe the DNC will now begin providing them for use at all meetings – providing they will still have meetings with their constituents.

  5. proreason says:

    Vote out any legislator who refuses to have an open-forum town hall.

    That alone is enough.

    If they didn’t have something to hide, they wouldn’t be hiding.

  6. NoNeoCommies says:

    I keep hearing how courageous these Solons are when they stand up to conservatism or support Liberalism.
    Maybe facing those whose Children and Grandchildren you betrayed was a little too much for them.

  7. U NO HOO says:

    I caught part of Kevin McCarthy’s townhall meeting on CSPAN recently. No yelling, no screaming, no disgusting signs, competent rational answers, etc.

    It can be done.

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