NY Times: "To Avoid Voter Rage, Democrats Skip Town Halls"

Democrats skip town halls? You don’t say!

Remember back during the healthcare debate, when New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand held all those town halls? Me neither.

Town halls don’t matter. Schumer and Gillibrand knew which way they were going to vote. It doesn’t matter if 50% or 60% or 70% of the public didn’t agree with Schumer and Gillibrand. They’re Democrats–they’ll get re-elected in New York, anyway. What right does the public have to speak with their elected representatives?

From the Monday New York Times:

Political Memo
To Avoid Voter Rage, Democrats Skip Town Halls
Published: June 6, 2010
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.
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.

How about a political ad showing that Democrats are ducking the public? Democrat “party leaders” advised this strategy?

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.

Republicans are meeting with the people!

The New York Times readers love the new Democrat strategy. From a comment:

Rochester, NYJune 6th, 2010 10:59 pm
Good. The Teabaggers took great advantage of town-hall style meetings to execute choreographed shoutdowns. This isn’t honest discourse at all. Completely disingenuous. Best to simply not give them the option. Thumbs up, Dems!
Recommended by 33 Readers

“Teabaggers.” How classy. Let’s “not give them the option” of seeing their elected representatives, ever.

Another comment:

Upstate New YorkJune 6th, 2010 10:59 pm
This was inevitable. An organized vocal minority had taken advantage of the town hall meeting format, drowning out other voices, and turning them into circuses. I expect some will be claiming in these comments that not holding town halls is a running away from the constituency. But, in reality, given this unfortunate situation, representatives have to turn to formats less easily exploited in this way, *in order to* talk to a more representative cross section of the constituency.
Recommended by 32 Readers

Vocal minority? The Americans who opposed Obamacare were the majority! Yes, I do claim that the Democrats are “running away from the constituency.”

Another comment called the Tea Partiers “neanderthals.” Another comment said the Democrat strategy is ‘Profiles in Courage.”

Publicize this! The Democrats don’t give a damn about you.