Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Questioning the ‘Outpouring’ of Opposition to Health Care Reform

Republicans in Congress have been quick to point to the sometimes-riotous town-hall forums of recent weeks as indication that Americans en masse believe the

Alberto Thompson
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Sep 03, 2009

Republicans in Congress have been quick to point to the sometimes-riotous town-hall forums of recent weeks as indication that Americans en masse believe the Democrats’ plans for health care reform to be atrocious. Indeed, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is claiming this morning that President Obama’s decision to address a joint session of Congress on the topic next week is “clearly a direct response to the outpouring of opposition this past month from the American people.”

While the other side wanted to dismiss these folks as an un-American fringe or political terrorists, the truth is that citizens across this nation do not want Washington taking over our health care system.

It’s a curious argument, if only because the thousands of people coming out to these events, while they represent larger crowds than lawmakers are accustomed to seeing, still make up a tiny fraction of the voting public. Political columnist E.J. Dionne tackles the issue in today’s Washington Post, arguing that the town halls have seemed much more raucous than most have actually been for the simple reason that outbursts about death panels and socialized medicine make for better TV than quiet discussions about health care policy. The media, Dionne says, are complicit.

“There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television’s point of view “boring”) encounters between elected representatives and their constituents,” Dionne writes, before pointing out what’s been ignored in the process.

Over the past week, I’ve spoken with Democratic House members, most from highly contested districts, about what happened in their town halls. None would deny polls showing that the health-reform cause lost ground last month, but little of the probing civility that characterized so many of their forums was ever seen on television.m[…]

The most disturbing account came from Rep. David Price of North Carolina, who spoke with a stringer for one of the television networks at a large town-hall meeting he held in Durham. The stringer said he was one of 10 people around the country assigned to watch such encounters. Price said he was told flatly: “Your meeting doesn’t get covered unless it blows up.” As it happens, the Durham audience was broadly sympathetic to reform efforts. No “news” there.

Dionne doesn’t offer any solutions to the timeless trouble of the major media outlets, being businesses, having to cater to the often mindless tastes of television viewers. But as a political strategy, Democrats might tap the logic of Donald Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary, who dismissed those enormous, high-profile protest rallies against the Iraq War by reasoning that more people didn’t march than did. The same, of course, can be said for the town halls.

Alberto Thompson | I live in Vancouver, Canada, and work as a web developer and graphic designer. Back end programming (PHP, Django/Python, Ruby on Rails) to front end engineering (HTML, CSS, and jQuery/Javascript), digital usability, user interface, and graphic design are all areas of web development where I spend my days. I'm a huge fan of web creation and design in all of its forms, as well as assisting small businesses and artisans with their online presence.


Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole

John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,

MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals

BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks

MA-Sen: Brown Wins

BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie

MA-Sen: 66 to 19

BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary

MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown

BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to

MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown

BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,

MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’

Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of

Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation

Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of

Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket

Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.

No Experience Necessary

Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |

Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.