Considering the breathless coverage GOP town halls across America are receiving, one would think they’re a great take on what American democracy looks like, right? Wrong. They look more like the food fight scene in ‘Animal House,’ and Republican members of Congress should stop holding them.
I know it sounds like I am some ogre, opposed to “what democracy looks like” but if that’s the case, count me in as the opposition. The only ones who seem to be a fan of these town halls are members of the media who like that Republicans are yelled at by people who know the more outrageous they behave, the more likely they’ll get on television. Democrats are enjoying it as well because the media chooses to spotlight the people in “danger” of “having their health care taken away.”
Town Hall events are supposed to be an opportunity when Senators and members of the House field questions from their constituents and have a conversation about issues. Instead, the events are are turning into useless protests with people chanting, “Do your job!” as if that’s supposed to be mean something and be productive.
Senator Rubio understands this. Here’s what he said:
“These are real people. They are real liberal activists, and I respect their right to do it. But it is not a productive exercise,” Rubio replied in the interview. “It’s all designed to have news coverage at night — look at all these angry people screaming at your senator.”
He is 100% right (Susan had more on this earlier). But if you turn on CNN or MSNBC, you’ll see Chris Cuomo or Joe Scarborough talking about the “responsibility” members of Congress have to meet and face their constituents. That’s hogwash. Senator Rubio faced his constituents at the ballot box last November, and they decided he should represent them for another six years.
I cannot recall who it was, but somebody said members of Congress are there to “do what their constituents want.” That is a misunderstanding of representative government. We elect people to represent us to their best of their ability, not to take a poll and then decide what to do. If that was the case, what would be the point of electing representatives? We elect them. They do their job (contrary to that of the screamers), and we decide if their performance merits another term. It’s simple. Isn’t our system, great?
Ask yourself these questions: What good has come from these town hall events? What have we learned that we didn’t already know? What value do they have in terms of a political debate over something like Obamacare?
So far it is all about the “anger.” The media is having a great time showing people yelling at Republican members of Congress. Outside of that, they serve little useful purpose and Republicans are right to reject doing them.