NYT: Congressional town-hall meetings on the decline after 2009 ObamaCare fight

posted at 10:41 am on August 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Not in safe districts, the New York Times reports, where town-hall meetings serve more as morale-boosters for Representatives and Senators than for serious political discussion and debate.  In more competitive districts, though, members of Congress learned that town-hall meetings hold a much higher risk-to-reward ratio after the town-hall meetings in 2009 that launched the Tea Party into the stratosphere.  Now, elected officials are eschewing the public meetings altogether or doing their best to keep them quiet:

Though Republicans in recent years have harnessed the political power of these open mic, face-the-music sessions, people from both parties say they are noticing a decline in the number of meetings. They also say they are seeing Congressional offices go to greater lengths to conceal when and where the meetings take place.

“The whole thing is very anti-democratic, and it’s classic behavior of entrenched insiders,” said Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, a Tea Party group that in 2009 helped send legions of demonstrators to town halls. Now, it is trying to draw out seemingly reluctant members by staging public events like mock meet-your-lawmaker meetings with empty chairs. “We’ve lost that Rockwell image of citizen participation in democracy.”

With memories of those angry protests still vivid, it seems that one of the unintended consequences of a movement that thrived on such open, often confrontational interactions with lawmakers is that there are fewer members of Congress now willing to face their constituents.

Members of Congress and their aides were reluctant to talk about the lack of town halls on the record, mindful of the pressure from liberal and conservative groups alike. “Ninety percent of the audience will be there interested in what you have to say,” one Senate Republican aide said. “It’s the other 5 or 10 percent who aren’t. They’re there to make a point and, frankly, to hijack the meeting.”

Indeed, many who attend the meetings now seem intent on replicating clashes like one in Pennsylvania in 2009, when Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican turned Democrat, was shouted down by an angry constituent, a scene captured on camera and played on an endless loop on cable news.

“The reason 2009 was so successful for the grass roots was because the politicians never saw it coming,” said Jennifer Stefano, the state director for the Pennsylvania chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party group. “Now they know. And they are terrified.”

It’s not so much the meetings themselves as it is the ability to produce viral video clips from them that create an overwhelming narrative that elected officials fear.  The aptly-named Baron Hill tried to put a stop to that by barring cameras from a 2009 townhall about ObamaCare, which went as well as you’d expect.  Here’s a reminder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-c2UULIgCQg

This is my town hall meeting, and I set the rules. I’ve had these rules — [booing] — Uh, let me repeat that one more time. This is my town-hall meeting for you. And you’re not going to tell me how to run my Congressional office. Now, the reason why I don’t allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.

Not coincidentally, Hill got retired by his subjects constituents, and Todd Young now represents IN-09.  The lesson from these confrontations has been learned well: conducting open-forum events means taking a risk without much chance of controlling the outcome.  While it might be frustrating to see the lessons adopted so easily, it’s not really a mystery about why we’re seeing fewer town halls, either.

One might think that Republican incumbents would be willing to take the risk, though.  It’s an off year for the House, and the town halls could be used to stoke public anger over the increasing breakdowns in the ObamaCare rollout.  While some of that anger might be directed at the GOP politicians for not doing the impossible in failing to repeal it, the larger story would be the anger over the program. (One answer may be that Republicans don’t want to have big public fights over immigration reform.)

However, Byron York reports that House Republicans are beginning to look at 2014 with more worry than before:

Republicans haven’t worried about losing the House because, first, having won by a landslide in 2010, they got to control the redistricting process, and they have used that power to draw districts that give them an advantage. Second, Barack Obama, having won re-election, is not particularly popular, and his ratings could slip further by November 2014. And third, history teaches that the presidential party just doesn’t gain seats in the mid-terms of a president’s second term. So, the thinking goes, Obama’s Democrats can’t win. The House will stay Republican.

Unless it doesn’t. Behind the scenes — in whispered asides, not for public consumption — some Republicans are now worried that keeping the House is not such a done deal after all. They look back to two elections, 1998 and 2006, in which Republicans seriously underperformed expectations, and they wonder if 2014 might be a little like those two unhappy years.

“The majority is at risk,” says one well-connected Republican strategist. “It should be a good year, but you need to run like you’re trying to win, and you need a good, solid strategy.”

In 1998, Republicans, with a narrow majority in the House, expected to pick up at least 20 seats. It was a weird year, with the Lewinsky scandal consuming Bill Clinton’s presidency. But Clinton wasn’t on the ballot — a fact that didn’t stop House Republicans from campaigning against him. “We were going to make the race all about Bill Clinton,” the strategist recalls.

It didn’t work. Instead of picking up 20 seats, the GOP lost five. (So much for the president’s party never picking up seats in the second term.) Republicans kept control of the House, but by a margin so small it made governing difficult.

Byron leaves out an important data point in that comparison.  House Republicans were in the middle of impeaching Clinton over his perjury and obstruction of justice in a civil lawsuit brought by Paula Jones, a move that voters didn’t exactly cheer.  While the impeachment happened after the election, the pursuit of the scandal didn’t win Republicans many votes in those midterm elections, when they should have gained seats.  Unless Republicans are considering a similarly suicidal strategy in 2014, the comparison probably isn’t all that apt.

That leaves us with August and the shrinking number of townhall events on the schedule.  If incumbents of either or both parties don’t want to meet with voters and make themselves accountable in public for their policies, why is Congress taking a recess at all?  An even better question will be why voters would plan to send them back for another session after having been snubbed in this one.


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Profiles in Courage

rob verdi on August 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM

I’ve twice tried to find out when my rep is having town halls only to be told by his “staff” that they haven’t completed his schedule yet.

earlgrey133 on August 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

They should all worry. We have had just about enough.

Bmore on August 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Anyone see a single house Republican turn down the exemption from ObamaCare? I didn’t think so. Screw them!

brewcrew67 on August 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

“Ninety percent of the audience will be there interested in what you have to say,” one Senate Republican aide said. “It’s the other 5 or 10 percent who aren’t. They’re there to make a point and, frankly, to hijack the meeting.”

Hmmm, I always thought these town halls were held so the representative could hear what the people have to say.

Kafir on August 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Why am I not surprised that Allah’s link to a suicidal action isn’t cramming amnesty down our throats. That is the one action that will cost the Republicans the house.

AmeriCuda on August 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

The lesson from these confrontations has been learned well: conducting open-forum events means taking a risk without much chance of controlling the outcome.

Hence we re-learn what we’ve known all along… politicians on both sides do not intend on representing their constituents… but controlling them.

dominigan on August 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

An even better question will be why voters would plan to send them back for another session after having been snubbed in this one.

Exactly. Challengers should hold their own town-hall meetings and make it clear that their opponents are dodging those they represent.

NotCoach on August 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I don’t know if my congressman even exists. I think he’s just a form letter.

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

If elections mattered, do you think they’d let us vote?

Akzed on August 13, 2013 at 10:55 AM

What is the point of a House, run by the Republican Party as it exists in 2013?

MNHawk on August 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

As Mr. Bill used to say about Sluggo – “He’s gonna be mean to me!”

RSbrewer on August 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Anyone see a single house Republican turn down the exemption from ObamaCare? I didn’t think so. Screw them!

brewcrew67 on August 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

This was the official “we are doomed” moment for me. #thirdparty.

hillsoftx on August 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM

I’ll never forget when John Dingell- Democrat, criminal, and the longest serving Congresscritter in the House- held a town hall in 2009. He expected the usual gushing admiration from the audience and was visibly shaken that there were angry people there who challenged him on health care. I bet the bastard hasn’t held a town hall meeting since.

But the concern about the soundbite is true. Claire McCaskill’s 2009 meeting where she asked “don’t you trust me” was met with a resounding “Hell NO” from the audience should have been enough to kill her ambitions for another term. Had not the GOP managed to nominate a stupid Huckabee Republican who couldn’t even answer “the rape question” without making an ass of himself.

Happy Nomad on August 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Despite all their internal bickering, if our Founding Fathers could see our government today, they would all weep.

Chris of Rights on August 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Quoting myself from Headlines:

Several years ago, I was working for a company that did a lot of business with state governments.

One of our clients was Alaska. Alaska, due to their size is very interested in “virtual government”, an environment where legislators would work most of the time out of their local offices, and participate in the legislative sessions via the magic of the internet.

They’d hold debates, vote, go to committee, etc., all virtually.

This would reduce their massive travel costs, and enable the legislators to actually be in a place to hear from their constituents.

My guess is that such an environment would limit the number of “cloakroom deals” as well. So, everyone wins.

I’d love it if the feds did this as well. It would give me such a warm feeling to know that I could go visit my Senators any time. :)

Chris of Rights on August 13, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Chris of Rights on August 13, 2013 at 11:02 AM

The Pubs could allay their fears in a day by shedding Establishment policies and returning to more Conservative ideals. And I don’t mean paying lip service. They have to DO something at long last, like vote to repeal Obamacare. A one-page bill ought to do it, being forced through committee without any input from Democrats. Take it up and send it to the floor before noon, vote on it by three o’clock. Use Democrat tactics on them, for once.

Forget any House version of amnesty, with Boehner refusing to bring to the floor the Senate version. Make it, the same way Tip O’Neill said of any Reagan budget, dead on arrival.

Immediately slash by 50% the budgets of NSA, IRS, M-O-U-S-E, and any other agency illegally spying on Americans (do 49% in the spirit of ‘compromise’ if Dems howl too loudly, then put them in the back yard). And totally de-fund those secret courts, too.

Subpoena Hillary gain, and really push her to talk. Issa also recalls everyone involved in the IRS scandal. Witnesses who don’t come clean or otherwise cooperate will have applicable charges filed in Federal court by the US House of Representatives. No deals, no mercy.

Toss in a few more goodies, too, that need fixing.

None of this will pass muster in the Senate, of course. But it’ll be a stink so big no one can ignore it, and maybe the Pubs can not only win back Conservatives like me who they lost, but maybe gain new supporters and pick up seats in Congress in 2014.

Also and of course, the Pubs will never even try any of this. If they did, and forcefully for once, they would need to fear losing or duck town-hall meetings.

Liam on August 13, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I see this from the side of the Congressmen. There are just too many people out there who want to make a spectacle out of themselves being indignant towards the Congressmen. The absence of politeness often leads to avoidance.

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

The lack of leadership, in the House, is going to kill the Republican party. The Democrats have the message already, what do the Republicans have to offer? So far, they’ve offered nothing.

Leadership would have passed a budget, told the Senate they would ONLY negotiate a budget and not sign a CR and then take control of government spending. Instead Boehner did the stupid thing, voting to repeal Obamacare 40 times, passing budgets he knew the Senate wouldn’t take up and telling the world he did his job. Pathetic.

bflat879 on August 13, 2013 at 11:06 AM

“would not need,” that is.

Liam on August 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Franks canceled his meeting with our group

cmsinaz on August 13, 2013 at 11:08 AM

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

You get that from years of lying. I say let the tar and feathering begin. Politicians use to politeness as a way to shut you up to spin their crap. We are losing our rights, politeness is over.

Oil Can on August 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Running on empty.

These jackwagons can ignore your calls, letters, and emails, they can’t ignore an audience waiting for an answer to a pointed question.

Just more separation between the emerging royal class and the rest of us; they run the country while we just live in it.

Bishop on August 13, 2013 at 11:10 AM

I called the office of my Congressman (Mike Rogers – MI-8) and was informed that he has no town hall meetings scheduled. He is a hardliner on supporting NSA and probably figured between that and amnesty it was more than he could handle.

bw222 on August 13, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Wait what? WE serve WHO?

Oxymoron on August 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Pfffft. The pols don’t fear us anymore because we’re expected to sit quietly and listen while they pontificate, and it’s come to the point that asking an “uncomfortable” question of these fuds earns a rebuke from them if not a huffy “Ok that’s it I’m outta here!”

How the hell are we supposed to let them know just how angry we are if we sit quietly like a bunch of sheep waiting for the slaughter. If anything the pols need to actually see the people they represent actually being angry, maybe then they will thank their gods that this isn’t yet the sort of nation where we drag them out and put them against a sandbagged wall.

Bishop on August 13, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Why am I not surprised that Allah’s link to a suicidal action isn’t cramming amnesty down our throats. That is the one action that will cost the Republicans the house.

AmeriCuda on August 13, 2013 at 10:54 AM

This is what troubles me… they seem intent on jumping off the amnesty cliff and then, they being the Stupid Party, wonder why they lost.

Ukiah on August 13, 2013 at 11:19 AM

We need more of these politcal Sh*tbags taking cell phone calls
during the Town Halls.

By God, they’ll show us Serfs how we rate!!

ToddPA on August 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Anyone see a single house Republican turn down the exemption from ObamaCare? I didn’t think so. Screw them!

brewcrew67 on August 13, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Congressman Fortenberry (R-NE 1st) got asked about that during a recent townhall back in Nebraska.

His response:
He mentioned one of his staffers in DC who does an excellent job and used to be a farmer in Nebraska. The staffer has a family that he needs to provide health insurance for. Without the exemption, his staffer had a larger incentive to find employment elsewhere because he couldn’t afford the insurance. So the Congressman was in favor of keeping their best and brightest staffers through this action. He also mentioned that “nothing is changing” for their staffers as far as insurance goes. They have the “same insurance they have always had”, so it is not a big deal.

It is absolutely a big deal. No one else gets this kind of treatment. No one else is getting to keep their current insurance situation “as-is”.

weaselyone on August 13, 2013 at 11:20 AM

If they are so worried about losing the house perhaps they shouldn’t lie to the base and treat us like garbage.

Jack_Burton on August 13, 2013 at 11:22 AM

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

man you’re a polar opposite from me, I have Al Green, the quiet version of SJL and I enjoyed busting up his Obamacare townhall.

And I did it by simply asking how in the heck our costs would go down by adding 35 million non-paying welfare and illegals to the mix (that was the number being used that would get health care back then)?

I also asked him if he could name a single government program that came in at the projected cost?

And my last question was where would we find the doctors to handle all these new patients at medicare rates?

He blew a gasket and began screaming like an east Texas Baptist preacher proclaiming “That’s why we can’t negotiate with these people! They will sacrifice the good because they can’t achieve perfect!!”

The purple shirts jumped up and began the “Yes we can” and that was the end of his Townhall. I asked questions, he got angry.

DanMan on August 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM

see this from the side of the Congressmen. There are just too many people out there who want to make a spectacle out of themselves being indignant towards the Congressmen. The absence of politeness often leads to avoidance.

The absence of “politeness” can happen when these big government congress critters trample you with their constant BS to your face. You want “politeness” then go to church you moron.

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.

Only the truly cowed would want that. These Congress critters are not such wise people, they are generally “step on you to step over you” thugs. I don’t want to hear them speak except to say, “yes sir, I hear you sir”

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

NOMOBO on August 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Nice post…..so you “want to go listen to him”. That
means you want to hear him or her Pontificate, and
Espouse their BullS*it. You DO NOT want to hold them
accountable for their votes? They don’t return our emails, they
don’t return calls to their offices….the Town Hall
is the original face to face in this country…

The only Fanatics that are appearing this Summer at a Town hall
near you, are Screaming Banshees from La Raza.

ToddPA on August 13, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Unless Republicans are considering a similarly suicidal strategy in 2014, the comparison probably isn’t all that apt.

Hm. Like “comprehensive immigration reform,” perhaps?

/s

cs89 on August 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Our townhall meetings in my little city in Texas are always in the middle of the day on a weekday. The common folk usually find out about it in the local rag the next day. Convenient for the pols as the only attendees are the local pols and a few retirees.

brtex on August 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Not in safe districts, the New York Times reports, where town-hall meetings serve more as morale-boosters for Representatives and Senators than for serious political discussion and debate.

When in recent history has there been any “serious political discussion and debate” at these things? They only serve as a launching point for the next Youtuber’s “career”.

They just aren’t productive. Neither side is interested in listening or learning. People just want to yell and blame the other guy for our problems. Enough.

You get the government you elect. Character matters. In everyone; not just our leaders.

simon on August 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

They should be, they sure as hell ain’t getting my vote anymore. Let it burn means turning out the worthless non adversary party and letting the Democrats finish off the country.
Then buy lots and lots of ammo.

astonerii on August 13, 2013 at 11:38 AM

You get the government you elect. Character matters.

simon on August 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Yes it does. And that means that someone who wants to be one of our leaders MUST have the character and fortitude to speak to us face to face That is unless you want a King Barack and all his Counts and Contessas.

NOMOBO on August 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM

That is unless you want a King Barack and all his Counts and Countesses.

NOMOBO on August 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Sound preferable to what we have today. At least then We The People would have an honest choice to make.

Today we have the fake choice of voting for the government we want. But our government no longer is restrained by things like the Constitution. Our courts are not even trying to argue their results are based on the constitution. We have no real ability to change our government, because our government is millions of bureaucrats and not elected representatives.

astonerii on August 13, 2013 at 11:47 AM

They only serve as a launching point for the next Youtuber’s “career”.

simon on August 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Link to the last You Tuber’s career please…

preallocated on August 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM

If the congress critters can’t use town halls as campaign props, they won’t do them. What–did you really think they want to hear anything voters have to say?!

Look, I became politically “aware” in 2000 while watching the second intifada develop. I became certain that we would be targeted in a serious attack soon, and 9/11 was not quite the surprise for me that it may have been to others. At least algore wasn’t President when it happened.

In any case, that makes me practically an newborn in politics. In those few short years GOP spinelessness has gifted us with TARP, Obamacare, porkulus, porkulus: the sequel, the auto bailout union payout, incompetent fiscal cliffsmanship, soon possibly another amnesty, and so much more. Given how jaded and cynical I’ve become through my short exposure, I’m genuinely curious how the old timers who’ve been disappointed, frustrated and stabbed in the back so often over so many years can find the will to keep going.

The illusion of representative government has become thinner than onionskin. Any half blind idiot can trace a picture of the ‘bread and circuses’ Imperium through it. While I’m going to keep voting, my motivation to participate has waned precipitously.

Eff them all. /rant

ElectricPhase on August 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I see this from the side of the Congressmen. There are just too many people out there who want to make a spectacle out of themselves being indignant towards the Congressmen. The absence of politeness often leads to avoidance.

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.

thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

In what world does an employer owe more respect to his employee than he receives? You wonder why people call you a fool? Why are they called “representatives?” They are supposed to listen to us, not the other way around. What you desire (and unforuntately have) is an aristocracy. They demand respect from the plebeians and have no obligation to return it.

A politician deserves no more respect than he gives to his constituents. Less, in fact.

Pattosensei on August 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Eff them all. /rant

ElectricPhase on August 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

+535

Pattosensei on August 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

When in recent history has there been any “serious political discussion and debate” at these things? They only serve as a launching point for the next Youtuber’s “career”.

They just aren’t productive. Neither side is interested in listening or learning. People just want to yell and blame the other guy for our problems. Enough.

You get the government you elect. Character matters. In everyone; not just our leaders.

simon on August 13, 2013 at 11:36 AM

So basically everyone should STFU and be good little Germans right? The problem with the govt is almost none of them have any character at all.

bbinfl on August 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

bbinfl on August 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Politicians do what is in their own best interest. So, explain to me what kind of people end up with politicians with no character? If the people presented politicians with the right carrots and sticks, then even the most vile human being if voted into power would be likely to do what the people want.

The only aspect to our government the people do not like in general seems to be paying for their demands from government. What do we call people who demand much and offer nothing in return? What do we call people who do not own their production?

astonerii on August 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Unless Republicans are considering a similarly suicidal strategy in 2014, the comparison probably isn’t all that apt.

I’m sorry, but shutting down the government in a futile attempt to de-fund Obamacare will be exactly such a suicidal strategy. It seems the “grassroots” are determined to lead the GOP right off a cliff.

Aside from that, though, there isn’t much chance of losing the majority. Dems would have to win back 4-5 seats in Pennsylvania and they could not even find first-tier candidates to run in any of those districts next year.

My Congressman is in a classic swing district, a bellwether in 2006 as well as 2010, and his predecessor got hammered in those 2009 and 2010 townhall meetings and lost. He is having plenty of townhalls this month and they have been well attended and well publicized. He does not seem to be afraid at all.

rockmom on August 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Republicans worried about the House in 2014?

If amnesty passes Pelosi will be speaker in 2015. You can buy lottery tickets based on this.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Politicians do what is in their own best interest. So, explain to me what kind of people end up with politicians with no character? If the people presented politicians with the right carrots and sticks, then even the most vile human being if voted into power would be likely to do what the people want.

The only aspect to our government the people do not like in general seems to be paying for their demands from government. What do we call people who demand much and offer nothing in return? What do we call people who do not own their production?

astonerii on August 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

F**k politicians they are not supposed to be there for their own best interests. What kind of people end up with politicians with no character, brain dead morons that call themselves Americans. I live in Wasserpig-Scuzz’s district and these idiots keep on re-electing her and she hasn’t done a stinking thing to deserve it. Why do they do it? Because they are idiots that have no clue as to what is going on around them nor do they care.

I guess it is simply too much to ask for people to extricate their craniums from their anuses and hold these scumbags accountable for what they do. Instead the fools mindlessly keep sending the same criminals back.

bbinfl on August 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Unless Republicans are considering a similarly suicidal strategy in 2014, the comparison probably isn’t all that apt- Ed.

But there is a comparison Ed, it is called Amnesty. And they are ramming with a Republican fist down our throats.

And in truth, if I go listen to a Congressmen speak, it’s because I want to go listen to him, and not because I want to hear the anger of some fanatic or another.
thuja on August 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

It is very important to hear the anger and it is even more important to witness the Congressman respond to the anger. DanMan shows why:

I also asked him if he could name a single government program that came in at the projected cost?

And my last question was where would we find the doctors to handle all these new patients at medicare rates?

He blew a gasket and began screaming like an east Texas Baptist preacher proclaiming “That’s why we can’t negotiate with these people! They will sacrifice the good because they can’t achieve perfect!!”

The purple shirts jumped up and began the “Yes we can” and that was the end of his Townhall. I asked questions, he got angry.

DanMan on August 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM

A man elected to serve the public should be able to answer worries about cost over run. He is obligated to answer such questions, if he is not fighting the new spending because … HE IS SPENDING OUR MONEY

He is even more obligated to answer a question about laws that curtail our liberties, if he is not fighting such curtailment because … HE IS TAKING OUR LIBERTY

If a politician lies to achieve such goals, like Rubio, people have a right to shout because … HE SWINDLED US

When the Congressman blew a gasket and began screaming about DanMan, instead of answering DanMan’s question, he revealed more about the way he is going to represent his constituents than any newsletter written by a propaganda master, or any no questions allowed lecture about pie in the sky and a chicken in every pot

We are delaying with big time crooks who no longer pretend to represent the voters. Bought and paid for power mongers.

There will be hell to pay for this game

The elitists in Congress have decided to ignore the peasants. They intend to pass restrictive laws as fast as possible to restrain the rabble and solidify their own power and privileges.

Who would have thought Congress would vote itself a exemption to their own law, so they the masters could have better health care than the jackasxe taxpayers paying their salaries?

Third world politics has hit the USA shore, ahead of amnesty.

entagor on August 13, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Third world politics has hit the USA shore, ahead of amnesty.

entagor on August 13, 2013 at 12:44 PM

The new “we are afraid of the Mexican cartels” loophole has effectively killed all border talk.

Imagine what the policies will be after amnety. The land will be killed off not by the Utopian Ds, but by the stupid and avaricious Rs.

entagor, so glad you still post. It’s always better when you do.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Town meetings should be held as common-sense; since they are not, they should be MANDATORY. Our representatives, who often spend the majority of their time sequestered in Washington, have an obligation to listen to and respond to their constituents concerns. Town meeting is their only opportunity to hear from the populace direct and unfiltered. If they’re concerned that they may catch holy hell then they should be more circumspect about the decisions they make on ‘our’ behalf.

CaptFlood on August 13, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Who would have thought Congress would vote itself a exemption to their own law, so they the masters could have better health care than the jackasxe taxpayers paying their salaries?

entagor on August 13, 2013 at 12:44 PM

A chef tells the restaurant patrons “our food is the best in the world…but we won’t eat any of it”.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Bob BS Corker, after voting for amnesty, blustered that he’s not afraid to,face his constituents back in Tennessee. He has NO town hall meetings scheduled. Nor does the senior Senator from TN, Lame Alexander who has voted with Obama 70% of the time. Cowardly RINOs.

devan95 on August 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM

The impotent Rs cant even sum up the courage to switch topics, distract the townies and blame the Dumbocrats for anything.
.
It works for the other team.

FlaMurph on August 13, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Declining Town hall meetings should come as no surprise to a party that has made it clear that the needs of the political class come before promises made to the constituency.

Colluding to pass AMNESTY for illegal aliens, eroding the rule of law, refusal to de-fund Obamacare, failure to rein in an imperialist president given to attempting to legislate from his desk who brags about ‘bypassing congress’, failure to investigate and prosecute wrong doing by officials of this administration, failure to defend that very constituency from attacks from the Left and predation by illegal aliens… the list is too long to post here.

So… is it any wonder that the electorate sees the GOP as merely part of one political class obsessed with remaining part of the political class and tending the goals of that political class, rather than as a group of dedicated public servants serving the needs of the constituents who elected them?

thatsafactjack on August 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Unless Republicans are considering a similarly suicidal strategy in 2014, the comparison probably isn’t all that apt.

You mean like pushing amnesty?

unseen on August 13, 2013 at 2:27 PM

the dange rof this strategy to distant themselves form the population is that at some point the people wake up and understand the government is no longer theirs and instead is controlled by a small elite group who’s desires, wishes and dreams do not have anything to do with them. At that point I would imagine the population will try to undo that damage at the ballot box and if the “leaders” do something to prevent that then the population has no choice but to revolt and that might morph into a full scale revo!ution. This is how republics die, this is how dictators are born and this is how the people are turned from freeman into slaves of the state.

I think we are far down that road and unless the Representatives start to listen to the people and respect our wishes I don’t see a good outcome. and the only way they can start to listen is to get out of the bubble and hold town hall events and other events with the people who elect them.

There is no third option. either hide and disregard the people or face the very real threat of armed revol!.

unseen on August 13, 2013 at 2:32 PM

“The majority is at risk,” says one well-connected Republican strategist. “It should be a good year, but you need to run like you’re trying to win, and you need a good, solid strategy.”

Worried? Blind panic would be the more appropriate response.

A good, solid strategy would be helpful. Unfortunately, Republicans are doing things like embracing Leftist/Libertarian isolationism and defeatism; gearing up for a government shutdown over Obamacare; impeding the implementation of Obamacare by every means possible when an idiot could tell you that the Democrats will not be blamed for any implementation problems; letting potentially helpful issues like Benghazi fade into the background and be forgotten by the electorate; trashing moderate figures like Christie who could be helpful in crucial swing states; and letting mouth breathers like Steve King make fools out of themselves in public.

Hey, I have an idea! Let’s get Santorum out on the trail. That’ll help!

We also need more photo ops where folks in NRA caps carrying serious weaponry show up at the Newtown Starbucks to show “solidarity”. Awesome!

Mr. Arkadin on August 13, 2013 at 2:35 PM

When you don’t put forth a coherent set of policies, when you just follow the Democrats in D.C. business as usual, when you are silent as the President changes laws by personal whim, conservative voters lose interest.

Meremortal on August 13, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Lead and we will follow. Do what you’re doing now, and we’ll just stay home.

SouthernGent on August 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM