On Friday, I noted that the entire New Hampshire Congressional delegation had gone into hiding rather than hold themselves accountable for their support of ObamaCare. Today, the New Hampshire media has finally discovered the same thing. The two leading newspapers in the Granite State — one liberal, the other conservative — blast these elected officials for avoiding their constituents (via Now Hampshire and Instapundit).
The left-leaning Portsmouth Herald scoffs at the notion that telephone conference calls can replace face-to-face accountability:
The whole concept of a telephone town hall meeting is flawed. We live in New England, where the town meeting form of government originated and where it still thrives. We know how a town meeting is supposed to work, and it certainly isn’t by telephone. It is neighbors meeting face-to-face to discuss the issues. …
The conclusion has to be that [Rep. Carol Shea-Porter] doesn’t want to face questions from people who disagree with her positions, particularly on health care. We find this curious and regrettable, especially given her history of challenging her predecessor, Jeb Bradley, for nearly two years during his town hall meetings. Some might say she hounded him. (In the meantime, she was scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Friday for a liberal bloggers’ convention, where she was to take part in a session titled ‘Making Change Happen’.)
The more conservative New Hampshire Union-Leader questions the intestinal fortitude of the politicians-turned-fugitives:
As of this writing, however, U.S. Reps. Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter have scheduled no open public forums to discuss either the healthcare legislation or any other matters. (Hodes has met with residents of a single retirement home in Hanover.)
Are they reluctant to hear unfiltered, unscreened questions and feedback on this important bill from their constituents in a forum in which other constituents can also hear and participate?
Well … yes. In fact, as this video from New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR shows, the entire Congressional delegation has no trouble appearing in public, as long as they can hide behind Barack Obama in a crowd of his supporters. WMUR reports that Rep. Paul Hodes, who wants to run for the US Senate next year, plans to attend a meeting on health care — that will only allow AARP members to attend. Click the image to watch: