Democrats, Thy Name is Chicken

Excerpts from Jeff Zeleny, “Democrats Skip Town Halls to Avoid Voter Rage,” NYT, June 6, 2010: 
 
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.
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.
[…] In New Hampshire, where open political meetings are deeply ingrained in the state’s traditions, Representative Carol Shea-Porter’s campaign Web site had this message for visitors: “No upcoming events scheduled. Please visit us again soon!” Ms. Shea-Porter, a Democrat, attended a state convention of letter carriers on Saturday, but she did not hold a town-hall-style meeting during the Congressional recess. In 2006, when she was an underdog candidate for the House, she often showed up at the meetings of her Republican rival, Representative Jeb Bradley, to question him about Iraq.
In Iowa, where voters also are accustomed to coming face to face with elected officials, Representative Leonard L. Boswell, a Democrat, provided few opportunities for voters to see him last week. His itinerary included a groundbreaking for a new law enforcement center and a renaming ceremony for a Des Moines post office.
In Maryland, where Mr. Kratovil endured considerable heckling last year over the health care legislation, which he ultimately opposed, he did not hold any large gatherings with voters. After returning from a visit to Afghanistan, he held two events with veterans before arriving at an evening discussion here at the credit union in Bel Air, north of Baltimore.
[…] 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.
[…] Representative Rick Boucher, a Democrat who has represented a wide part of southwestern Virginia for 28 years, has often encountered fierce criticism during his sessions with voters. But he said it was worth listening to the critiques, which often sound nearly identical as he travels across the 23 counties of his district. “Obviously the town meetings are magnets for people who have a political agenda, but it’s worth putting up with the talking-point-induced political dialogue to get good ideas,” said Mr. Boucher, who was one of the few Democrats last week who did hold a wide-open meeting, which took place Saturday at the high school in Floyd, Va.
“I guess I’m old-fashioned,” said Mr. Boucher, adding that he preferred visiting with voters in person, rather than communicating with them through “tele-town-hall” meetings, a sort of conference call that can include thousands of homes that has been on the rise since the technology was first used in 2006. “I have no plans of changing my approach to this.”
Representative Tom Perriello, a first-term Virginia Democrat, held 21 open meetings last August during the heat of the health care debate. He said that each of the sessions lasted an average of five hours, often ending well after midnight. “We thought that the best strategy was to let people talk,” Mr. Perriello said. “It was important to stay until people had everything off of their minds.”

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0 responses to “Democrats, Thy Name is Chicken

  1. In case folk forget about healthcare “reform” and repealing it:
    “‘Excessive Burden’: Girl Expelled from Canada,” Yahoo News, 8 JUN 10
    http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749633/20224457#video=20225110

     
  2. The forum is simple — do not make yourself available for comment until things cool down. We must never let them forget.

     
  3. “putting up with the talking-point-induced political dialogue to get good ideas”….
    Give him credit for holding in-person meetings but sounds like he doesn’t give a rats arse as to what is good…they all still vote for the socialist agenda.

     

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