No Town Halls, No Problem

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 23 2011 10:59 AM

No Town Halls, No Problem

So this is the reason why we're seeing fewer outbursts at congressional town hall meetings than we did in 2009. There's as much anger as ever. There just aren't as many town halls. No Labels, which I'd rank as the Group Least Likely to Send Loud People to Events, ran down the schedules in 430 districts and found that only 40 percent of members are holding free, public town halls. Proportionately, more Democrats than Republicans are skipping the events. Not hugely surprising; after the 2009 debacle,* Democrats scaled back their town hall plans.

But it was Republicans who embraced the 2009 ragegasms. It's Republicans taking flak now for scaling back public events. In April, Rep. Lou Barletta's swing district was the site of well-reported, angry town halls. This summer?

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who ran for office in 2008 badgering his opponent for not holding town hall meetings, has abandoned the format in favor of roundtable discussions with pre-selected groups, he told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Penn.
Advertisement

Problem solved! Chip Cravaack, who unexpectedly won a Democratic-leaning seat anchored by Duluth, MN, has not held town halls in the city -- just events with limited access. Decisions like that limit the ugly videos and viral stories that can result if a crowd goes ape. Chris Bower's been collecting stories about the town halls gone wrong.**

*the lowlight of which being Nancy Pelosi's column in USA Today arguing that town hall disruptions were un-American.

**Or gone right!

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Propublica
Oct. 17 2014 4:21 PM Why the Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 1:54 PM Republican Midterm Debate Strategy: Be Pro-Life, But Not Anti-Abortion
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 19 2014 7:30 AM Persistence Pays Off: The Smoking Trail of a Shooting Star
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.