Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quick Reaction to Yarmuth's Town Hall

Congressman John Yarmuth has to be commended for entering the lion's den that was 1,400 people at Central High School -- roughly 70 percent of whom oppose the Democrats' plan to nationalize health care.

He had a few gaffes (more on that in the a.m.), but all in all, Yarmuth handled himself with humor, humility and patience with a crowd that I really wish had not booed (seriously, can't we show our displeasure with stony silence or something other than booing?) With the exception of a few hecklers (on both sides) and the booing (again, on both sides) the crowd was generally courteous.

Francene Cucinello did a superb job as moderator. She kept the pace moving, which allowed more people to ask questions, and she followed up when Yarmuth failed to answer.

The biggest story for Republicans was the reaction to a question about the need for the federal government to obey the Constitution. The point, in essence, is that we are a government of enumerated and hence limited powers. The crowd's reaction shows that there is a growing demand for limited government that obeys the Constitution as written, rather than as fantasized by those who see it as a "living document." The implication is the candidacy of Dr. Rand Paul and his ideological compatriots is no fluke. Establishment Republicans need to understand that there is a burgeoning segment of voters who will no longer tolerate using the Commerce Clause and the like as a jumping off point for all sorts of legislation.

Yarmuth is still wrong on health care and many other issues; more on that later. But I do commend him for showing up. It's too bad that Yarmuth's initial fear of town halls kept him from hosting one earlier. And it's too bad that he was worried enough about how it would all turn out that he wouldn't let ordinary citizens video tape the event -- just fancy media types.

No comments: