Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
MOP

Town Halls Gone Wild - "congressmen Fearful For Their Safety"

Recommended Posts

Town halls gone wild

Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:21am EDT

POLITICO (Washington) -Screaming constituents, protesters dragged out by the cops, congressmen fearful for their safety — welcome to the new town-hall-style meeting, the once-staid forum that is rapidly turning into a house of horrors for members of Congress.

On the eve of the August recess, members are reporting meetings that have gone terribly awry, marked by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior. In at least one case, a congressman has stopped holding town hall events because the situation has spiraled so far out of control.

"I had felt they would be pointless," Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) told POLITICO, referring to his recent decision to suspend the events in his Long Island district. "There is no point in meeting with my constituents and listen to them and have them listen to you if what is basically an unruly mob prevents you from having an intelligent conversation."

In Bishop's case, his decision came on the heels of a June 22 event he held in Setauket, N.Y., in which protesters dominated the meeting by shouting criticisms at the congressman for his positions on energy policy, health care and the bailout of the auto industry.

Within an hour of the disruption, police were called in to escort the 59-year-old Democrat — who has held more than 100 town hall meetings since he was elected in 2002 — to his car safely.

"I have no problem with someone disagreeing with positions I hold," Bishop said, noting that, for the time being, he was using other platforms to communicate with his constituents. "But I also believe no one is served if you can't talk through differences."

Bishop isn't the only one confronted by boiling anger and rising incivility. At a health care town hall event in Syracuse, N.Y., earlier this month, police were called in to restore order, and at least one heckler was taken away by local police. Close to 100 sign-carrying protesters greeted Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL) at a late June community college small-business development forum in Panama City, Fla. Last week, Danville, Va., anti-tax tea party activists claimed they were "refused an opportunity" to ask Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-VA) a question at a town hall event and instructed by a plainclothes police officer to leave the property after they attempted to hold up protest signs.

The targets in most cases are House Democrats, who over the past few months have tackled controversial legislation including a $787 billion economic stimulus package, a landmark energy proposal and an overhaul of the nation's health care system.

Democrats, acknowledging the increasing unruliness of the town-hall-style events, say the hot-button issues they are taking on have a lot to do with it.

"I think it's just the fact that we are dealing with some of the most important public policy issues in a generation," said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), who was confronted by a protester angry about his position on health care reform at a town hall event several weeks ago.

"I think in general what is going on is we are tackling issues that have been ignored for a long time, and I think that is disruptive to a lot of people," said Bishop, a four-term congressman. "We are trying, one by one, to deal with a set of issues that can't be ignored, and I think that's unsettling to a lot of people."

Freshman Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY), whose event at a Syracuse middle school was disrupted, said that he still planned to hold additional town halls but that he was also thinking about other options.

"I think you've got to communicate through a variety of different ways. You should do the telephone town hall meetings. You should do the town hall meetings. You should do the smaller group meetings," said Maffei. "It's important to do things in a variety of ways, so you don't have one mode of communication."

"You're going to have people of varying views, and in this case, you've got the two extremes who were the most vocal," Maffei said of the flare-up at his July 12 event.

On Tuesday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who handles incumbent retention duties for House Democrats in addition to chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, met with freshman members to discuss their plans for the monthlong August recess. While the specific issue of town hall protesters never came up, according to sources familiar with the meeting, he urged them not to back away from opponents.

"He said, ‘Go on offense. Stay on the offense. It's really important that your constituents hear directly from you. You shouldn't let a day go by your constituents don't hear from you,'" said one House Democratic leadership aide familiar with the meeting.

Some members profess to enjoy the give-and-take of the town halls, even if lately it's become more take than give.

"Town halls are a favorite part of my job," said Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO), a third-term congressman from St. Louis who noted that a "handful" of disruptions had taken place at his meetings. "It's what I do. It's what I will continue to do."

"People have gotten fired up and all that, but I think that's what makes town halls fun," said Perriello, a freshman who is among the most vulnerable Democrats in 2010. "I think that most of the time when we get out there, it's a good chance for people to vent and offer their thoughts. It's been good."

"I enjoy it, and people have a chance to speak their mind," he said.

Both Carnahan and Perriello said they were plunging forward with plans to hold more town hall meetings.

Republicans, with an eye toward 2010, are keeping close track of the climate at Democratic events.

"We've seen Russ Carnahan, we've seen Tim Bishop, we've seen some other people face some very different crowds back home," said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). "The days of you having a town hall meeting where maybe 15 or 20 of your friends show up — they're over. You've now got real people who are showing up — and that's going to be a factor."

Asked later how or whether the GOP would use the confrontations against Democrats, Sessions responded: "Wait till next year."

But Democrats are quick to point out they're not the only ones facing hostile audiences. They single out Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who found himself in a confrontation earlier this month with a "birther" protester, and insist that Republicans face a backlash of their own if it appears the party is too closely aligned with tea party activists or other conservative-oriented protesters.

"It's a risk that they align themselves with such a small minority in the party," said Brian Smoot, who served as political director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the past election cycle. "They risk alienating moderates."

© Capitol News Company, LLC 2009

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idU...lBrandChannel=0

The people are starting to wake up. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anger building as the unemployment rate rockets upwards, and people are not able to find new jobs. Also while they are unemployed they have time to get involved in politics, while when they are busy with work usually not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anger building as the unemployment rate rockets upwards, and people are not able to find new jobs. Also while they are unemployed they have time to get involved in politics, while when they are busy with work usually not.

I'm afraid it's not just unemployed people. :rolleyes:

The people are starting to figure out the mass looting that's been going on and they don't like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and so the fun begins........

no wonder they their congress+senate are trying to push through as much gun control legislation as they can.

I wouldn't put it past the powers that be to have "manufactured" a couple of these shootings like columbine to try and get their way....order out of chaos if you will.

subtle...but I have a feeling the reverse-psychology tactic is wearing a bit thin with joe public.

the american public have spoken in no uncertain terms regarding their rights...and astronomical rise in ammunition sales.

they won't put up with it.

which president said "speak softly,but carry a big stick"

...uncle sam says "stop right now or I'm ready to give you a bit of a kicking....the choice is yours."

I have no doubt whatsoever that when this kicks off it will be open warfare between the people and the state,and whatever overseas troops have been brought in are going to get on the receiving end of several million tooled-up yanks.

I think we might get off lightly because we are on fairly friendly terms.

there's probably a few die-hards that hate our guts,but we speak the same language for the most part.I'm pretty sure most of our brethren across the pond can see what distress we are in with regard to the sovietisation of our country.

I think they'd help us out in times of need,more than can be said for some of our other EU "allies"

Edited by oracle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm afraid it's not just unemployed people. :rolleyes:

The people are starting to figure out the mass looting that's been going on and they don't like it.

This is all very encouraging...

torches_and_pitchforks.jpg

post-12677-1249158950_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wondered if V for Vendetta on tonght was a subtle hint. :lol:

That film make me want to b uy a hundred copies, don a similar costume, and just hand them out to all who will take them --- perhaps we should organise an event like this - its peaceful, and surely i cant get done for handing out free dvd's ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wondered if V for Vendetta on tonght was a subtle hint. :lol:

BBC3 seem to be constantly repeating this film (hidden message?) as I've caught the end of it several times (just before Family Guy).

This is the one where the Houses of Parliament blow up spectacularly at the end? Must try and watch it all the way through.

Edited by HostPaul TAFKA Rover2000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"The days of you having a town hall meeting where maybe 15 or 20 of your friends show up — they're over. You've now got real people who are showing up — and that's going to be a factor."

This has to be the quote of the day surely.

So previously you had meetings and your mates turned up to tell you how wonderful you are, now the real voters are turning up you don't like it. Perhaps banning democracy would help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People are starting to video these town hall meetings:

Crowd Explodes When Senator Arlen Specter Urges That We "Do This Fast" At Town Hall

Rep. Lloyd Dogget chased away from town hall meeting by crowds

US Soldier Demands Apology From Senator Claire McCaskill at Town Hall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y98HxYbsdBM

Congressman Russ Carnahan getting heckled during a town hall

Obama Booed at All-Star Game In St. Louis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI6aPwCESUY...feature=related

Edited by MOP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest UK Debt Slave
People are starting to video these town hall meetings:

Crowd Explodes When Senator Arlen Specter Urges That We "Do This Fast" At Town Hall

Rep. Lloyd Dogget chased away from town hall meeting by crowds

US Soldier Demands Apology From Senator Claire McCaskill at Town Hall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y98HxYbsdBM

Congressman Russ Carnahan getting heckled during a town hall

Obama Booed at All-Star Game In St. Louis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI6aPwCESUY...feature=related

Quality links MOP

Now just sit back and ask yourself why the British people are incapable of doing the same

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
People are starting to video these town hall meetings:

Crowd Explodes When Senator Arlen Specter Urges That We "Do This Fast" At Town Hall

Rep. Lloyd Dogget chased away from town hall meeting by crowds

US Soldier Demands Apology From Senator Claire McCaskill at Town Hall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y98HxYbsdBM

Congressman Russ Carnahan getting heckled during a town hall

Obama Booed at All-Star Game In St. Louis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI6aPwCESUY...feature=related

I went to a town hall meeting the other week and one fella did get a bit irate that his bin wasn't emptied on time.

Well its a start. :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quality links MOP

Now just sit back and ask yourself why the British people are incapable of doing the same

Too many lazy chickenshits I suspect.

Edited by MOP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And how many of the above posters have been on the front line involved in direct action in the past???

armchair revolutionaries :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More town hall revolt:

Doug at Town Hall meeting on FOX NEWS - Spending Like Loose Hookers!

Town Hall with Rep. Pete Sessions

Edited by MOP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe, but this is the US debate about health care. The constitutional right to ensure poor people are not allowed into hospitals.

The shout em down fraternity come from the same loopy roots as the birthers. They are the equivalent of militant tendency in Liverpool in the 70's & 80's? (Theoretically from the opposite end of the political spectrum - but in practice that spectrum joins at the extremes).

IMO we can do with that kind of minority (from either extreme) staying asleep while the majority get on with living through the economic consequences of the past years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe, but this is the US debate about health care. The constitutional right to ensure poor people are not allowed into hospitals.

The shout em down fraternity come from the same loopy roots as the birthers. They are the equivalent of militant tendency in Liverpool in the 70's & 80's? (Theoretically from the opposite end of the political spectrum - but in practice that spectrum joins at the extremes).

IMO we can do with that kind of minority (from either extreme) staying asleep while the majority get on with living through the economic consequences of the past years.

It's a culmination of everything.

obama_total_approval_august_6_2009.jpg

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_con...l_tracking_poll

The healthcare bill looks it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back though.

Edited by MOP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a culmination of everything. The healthcare bill looks it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back though.

Last.

Minute.

Looting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quality links MOP

Now just sit back and ask yourself why the British people are incapable of doing the same

Because an awful lot are pacified by the teat of the wefare state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it proves Yanks are complete morons, violent morons, violent fascist morons.......with guns. Boy this is gonna be good, they thought they has a civil war 150 years ago.

What do we want, "no health care", when do we want it, "now". Bearing in mind the entire US economy is centrally planned, and state subsidised I find it illuminating that they would rather be taxed up to the eyeballs so that they can have lot's of nuclear powered submarines, and cheap gasoline, but don't want any health care. I mean, why would anyone want that?

There banks have just stolen trillions of dollars and yet they want to fight for the right to pay $100 for aspirin. They are truly a strange and violent people, always have been, always will be. A bit like the Golgafrinchan B Ark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • The Prime Minister stated that there were three Brexit options available to the UK:   295 members have voted

    1. 1. Which of the Prime Minister's options would you choose?


      • Leave with the negotiated deal
      • Remain
      • Leave with no deal

    Please sign in or register to vote in this poll. View topic


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.