Tuesday, August 11, 2009

NRO On "Virtual Town Halls"

Congressman John Yarmuth may have started a trend with his "tele-town halls." The phenomenon of Members of Congress hiding from their constituents by conducting "virtual town halls" is spreading. National Review Online deconstructs the concept:

Staffers can screen the callsand messages. If a tough question does get through, the staffers can supply their boss with facts, figures, and snappy comebacks. (When the virtual town hall employs video instead of text, the aides need only stay out of camera range in order to preserve the illusion that the member is performing without assistance.) With all this help, even the laziest pols can look like ├╝berwonks. Call them “virtual members.”

Obviously, the congressional workload requires lawmakers to delegate. But it’s reasonable for voters to expect them to know their stuff, especially on health care and other issues that affect people directly. In an old-fashioned town hall, the member’s body language and off-the-cuff answers help voters to tell whether he or she meets this standard.

Virtual town halls are a lot like Oz: The members are the little men and women behind the curtain. And they don’t even need a heart, a brain, or courage.

Don't forget Yarmuth's upcoming "tele-town halls" on Aug. 17, 24 and 25. The number is (502)582-5129.

1 comment:

Sandy Knauer said...

Shame on you! It is disingenuous to imply that, because Congressman Yarmuth didn’t jump through your hoop, he is dodging anything or anyone. Nothing could be farther from the truth and those who keep up every day instead of only when someone tells them where to go and what to say would know that. Congressman Yarmuth makes himself available in person, by mail, and by phone. In sharp contrast to his predecessor, he responds quickly and personally and when he is in Washington, his informed and courteous staff are available to everyone.

Some of his opponents call his office to see when he won’t be in town, and then stand outside his office, organize “protests” on those days, and then stand outside his office and shout that he won’t come out to meet them. A reliable media would put this out instead of giving these dishonest people positive attention (or any attention) but that’s another story.

Since you are “moderating” the comments here, I think it is safe to assume that you are not as open as you wish he would be. If my comment does not appear, in full, as written, I will consider it my duty to publish an article about your hypocrisy.