To Avoid Voter Rage, Democrats Skip Town Halls

BEL AIR, Md. — The reception that Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, received here one night last week as he faced a small group of constituents was far more pleasant than his encounters during a Congressional recess last summer.

Then, he was hanged in effigy by protesters. This time, a round of applause was followed by a glass of chilled wine, a plate of crackers and crudités as he mingled with an invitation-only audience at the Point Breeze Credit Union, a vastly different scene than last year’s wide-open televised free-for-alls.

The sentiment that fueled the rage during those Congressional forums is still alive in the electorate. But the opportunities for voters to openly express their displeasure, or angrily vent as video cameras roll, have been harder to come by in this election year.

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.
It was no scheduling accident.

nytimes.com/2010/06/07/us/politics/07townhall.html?hp

At least they'll keep their campaign budget down!;)

The voter rage is still strong whether Democrats hold town halls in person, by telephone or not at all.
The Democrats stopped listening to their constituents last year and are now suffering because of that choice. Better they be voted out than allowed to continue the path to destruction of this country.

Politicians of both parties are always more comfortable when they rubbing elbows with friendly crowds. Neither side like confrontations that can turn ugly and embarrassing rather quickly. They like their stops and public appearances to be scripted, tightly controlled and over quickly. Although, Democrats took the most heat at the various townhall meetings, the Republicans certainly weren't immune either.

For many representatives "listening" to their constituents seems limited to finding out from their staffers how the calls to the office are trending or having a few selected letters handed to them.

While I could do without the more raucous behavior from the townhalls I think it's a good thing to make politicians squirm a little bit and have to listen to people like you and me occasionally. I think it would be a good idea if the President were dragged in front of Congress every now and then and made to answer questions like the British PM has to.

I think our democracy would benefit greatly from a little more contact between the people voted into office and the people that voted them in.

ChadS

Those holding public office have become unbelievably arrogant, smug and immune to the cries of their constituents. Actually this worries me quite a bit as they don't seem to be afraid of losing their jobs.

I'm very suspicious and imagine we will see more unprecedented nastiness in the form of unwanted and controlling legislation before November, and in its weakened state, even more harm to the Constitution.

I found the same situation to be true with my Republican representative. Phone town hall meetings are fewer and fewer.

If YOU were a radical socialist Congressman who ignored or defied the Constitution at every beckon of Barack, Harry and Nancy, would you want to meet with educated, patriotic constituents? Be serious. :cool: Rob

[quote="gilliam, post:1, topic:200971"]
BEL AIR, Md. — The reception that Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democrat, received here one night last week as he faced a small group of constituents was far more pleasant than his encounters during a Congressional recess last summer....The sentiment that fueled the rage during those Congressional forums is still alive in the electorate. But the opportunities for voters to openly express their displeasure, or angrily vent as video cameras roll, have been harder to come by in this election year. 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.
It was no scheduling accident.

[/quote]

I don't equate the Tea Party thugs who shouted down elected representatives at town hall meetings last summer with "voters" as if they represented the larger electorate from the representatives' home districts. They managed to prevent politicians and those who they represent from listening and talking with each other, demanding that the only voice that could be heard was their own. They completely shut down one of the best ways that voters can express their views to their representatives, then complained that politicians weren't listening to voters. Hypocrites! The real tyrants were the know-nothings driving from meeting to meeting in order to prevent democracy from working and their instigators like Dick Armey, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. They can wrap themselves in the flag, and shout and stamp their feet about their precious freedoms, but in truth the Tea Party movement intended to stifle true freedom and democracy.

[quote="Alan55, post:7, topic:200971"]
They can wrap themselves in the flag, and shout and stamp their feet about their precious freedoms, but in truth the Tea Party movement intended to stifle true freedom and democracy.

[/quote]

Spoken as a true liberal.
The Tea Party is freedom of speech just as much as any other gathering, yet the left wishes to silence the voices of the Tea Party. That is the left stifling their true freedom and democracy.

It's always US vs Them. Why is it only bad for the Tea Party to exercise their freedom, and only good for the Liberals to express *their *voices?

[quote="SVP, post:8, topic:200971"]
Spoken as a true liberal.
The Tea Party is freedom of speech just as much as any other gathering, yet the left wishes to silence the voices of the Tea Party. That is the left stifling their true freedom and democracy.

It's always US vs Them. Why is it only bad for the Tea Party to exercise their freedom, and only good for the Liberals to express *their *voices?

[/quote]

I wouldn't dismiss Alan's comments out of hand like that. He has a point, at the Town Hall meetings it was the people who were the most opposed to any sort of healthcare reform that were the loudest and most disruptive at these meetings. Perhaps they didn't all self-identify as belonging to the Tea Party, but a good many of them did. These people weren't just heckling their representatives either. In some instances when people tried to voice support for a healthcare reform bill they were shouted down and jeered at also. It was all quite ugly and nasty and the Town Halls were a total waste of everybody's time, except for the various protesters because they succeeded in not allowing anybody's voice, except theirs, be heard.

ChadS

[quote="Alan55, post:7, topic:200971"]
I don't equate the Tea Party thugs who shouted down elected representatives at town hall meetings last summer with "voters" as if they represented the larger electorate from the representatives' home districts. They managed to prevent politicians and those who they represent from listening and talking with each other, demanding that the only voice that could be heard was their own. They completely shut down one of the best ways that voters can express their views to their representatives, then complained that politicians weren't listening to voters. Hypocrites! The real tyrants were the know-nothings driving from meeting to meeting in order to prevent democracy from working and their instigators like Dick Armey, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. They can wrap themselves in the flag, and shout and stamp their feet about their precious freedoms, but in truth the Tea Party movement intended to stifle true freedom and democracy.

[/quote]

You certainly have a different view of things than I do. Constituents, for whom the represeentatives are SUPPOSED to work, went to meetings and many that I saw asked respectful questions--for which they got no answers. The public at large made it known that they did not want the health care plan that was passed, but it was passed anyway. It is freedom in this country to be able to say what you wish whether liberals like it or not, just as liberals have a right to say what they wish whether conservatives like it or not. And to say that anyone is instigating tea party gatherings is to show a total lack of understanding about people who obviously disagree with you. There are always a few crazies among any group, but to label all tea partyers with your broad brush is just silly.

[quote="mary_bobo, post:10, topic:200971"]
You certainly have a different view of things than I do. Constituents, for whom the represeentatives are SUPPOSED to work, went to meetings and many that I saw asked respectful questions--for which they got no answers. The public at large made it known that they did not want the health care plan that was passed, but it was passed anyway. It is freedom in this country to be able to say what you wish whether liberals like it or not, just as liberals have a right to say what they wish whether conservatives like it or not. And to say that anyone is instigating tea party gatherings is to show a total lack of understanding about people who obviously disagree with you. There are always a few crazies among any group, but to label all tea partyers with your broad brush is just silly.

[/quote]

People who identified themselves as Tea Party activists were bussed from meeting to meeting by well-funded groups, including Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, shouted down politicians and participants alike, and were incited by Fox News and such personalities as Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. These are all well documented facts -- not liberal facts, but facts. You, not I, characterized these people as crazies. I take it that you don't think that they were fringe participants in the Tea Party and didn't represent the "true" Tea Pary. OK. Let's just call them right-wing crazies and not call them Tea Party activists. Fact is, those right-wing crazies were anti-democratic, attempting to stifle dialogue and debate, thereby limiting the freedom of expression of anyone who disagreed with their point of view. Are we now in agreement?

[quote="Alan55, post:11, topic:200971"]
People who identified themselves as Tea Party activists were bussed from meeting to meeting by well-funded groups, including Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, shouted down politicians and participants alike, and were incited by Fox News and such personalities as Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. These are all well documented facts -- not liberal facts, but facts. You, not I, characterized these people as crazies. I take it that you don't think that they were fringe participants in the Tea Party and didn't represent the "true" Tea Pary. OK. Let's just call them right-wing crazies and not call them Tea Party activists. Fact is, those right-wing crazies were anti-democratic, attempting to stifle dialogue and debate, thereby limiting the freedom of expression of anyone who disagreed with their point of view. Are we now in agreement?

[/quote]

Puhleeze……liberal groups have been doing the same thing on the other side of the debate. The thugs from the SEIU and ACORN have been filmed getting off those buses, (they are easy to spot because of their shirts) not only at town hall meetings, but more recently here:

investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/535018/201005241913/Mob-Rule-From-SEIU.aspx

There are dozens of reports of the mob rule of these groups which makes the shouting at the town hall meetings look calm in comparison. Let's face it......the politicians have neither the courage nor the character to face an angry electorate whom they are supposed to be representing. I see the potential for real violence erupting in this country.

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