Streams

Town Halls

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Legislators across the country have been holding town hall meetings about health care reform--and it's been quite an experience. Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and the author of Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, and Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, president and founder of AmericaSpeaks, talk about the history of the town hall format.

Guests:

Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer and Julian Zelizer
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Comments [28]

GARY from QUEENS

If you want to read a responsible critique of the healthcare legislation, go here:

http://sweetness-light.com/archive/what-the-health-care-bill-actually-says

But if you want to see people shouting at legislators, continue to watch cable news and broadcast news networks.

It's that simple.

Aug. 12 2009 01:46 PM
the truth from bkny

It is an absolute that these things are organized to "shut down" the speaker...they are not merely just expressing themselves!

Led, like sheep to their own detriment...the organizers will be fine.

People need to use their head for more than a hatrack!

Aug. 12 2009 12:13 PM
andy from manhattan

i'm personally wondering if the townhalls were populated by randomly ticketed entrants only if the shouters would disappear...

to me it seems that this is likely to have been the reason why the president was treated with so much more respect than the senators have been.

perhaps the shouters are such a minority that they would not get a ticket if the dispensation of tix was statistically accurate. this seems to be the case to me.

it's hard to get plants in if only randomly selected people are let in.

Aug. 12 2009 12:09 PM
frank from long island

people are "passionate" because they are ginned up by lies from Elizabeth McCaughey about killing grandma. would they be as "passionate" if they didn't believe the lies?

Aug. 12 2009 12:00 PM
Rob from The Bronx

tax bleeder & Calls'em, the purpose of a townhall is an exchange of ideas and dissenters should not be excluded, but these townhall meetings that are taking place are staged events sponsored by people like Dick Armey etc. These people are not interested in having their views heard, they just say no and shout down the speaker.

Aug. 12 2009 11:59 AM
Rob from The Bronx

tax bleeder & Calls'em, the purpose of a townhall is an exchange of ideas and dissenters should not be excluded, but these townhall meetings that are taking place are stage events sponsored by people like Dick Armey etc. These people are not interested in having their views heard, they just say no and shout down the speaker.

Aug. 12 2009 11:59 AM
tax bleeder from The city of New York

Can the congressman make the trains run on time?

Aug. 12 2009 11:59 AM
Frank from long island

people are "passionate" because they are ginned up by lies from Elizabeth McCaughey about killing grandma. would they be as "passionate" if they didn't believe the lies?

Aug. 12 2009 11:59 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

RE: the conservative caller who wouldn't identify whose town meeting he attended

This is completely unacceptible. If he's going to call and speak his mind in a public forum then he should be open about where he went. Why ever not?

Aug. 12 2009 11:59 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

RE: the conservative caller who wouldn't identify whose town meeting he attended

This is completely unacceptible. If he's going to call and speak his mind in a public forum then he should be open about where he went. Why ever not?

Aug. 12 2009 11:59 AM
Benigno Veraz from Washington Heights

yes, like Rob from the Bronx points out... allow ONLY CONSTITUENTS, registered voter of that particular district.

Aug. 12 2009 11:52 AM
David

Dan, I was just thinking the same thing. Why aren't these people just being tazzed and taken outside. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Think the cops might be on their side a little bit?

Aug. 12 2009 11:51 AM
hjs from 11211

bleeder
what about sending the people who don't agree with u to gitmo!

Aug. 12 2009 11:51 AM
tax bleeder from The city of New York

How about limiting the meeting to people who agree with the speaker, similar to Cuba!

Aug. 12 2009 11:49 AM
Rob from The Bronx

How about limiting town hall attendees to people who actually live in the district that the congress person serves, so that it is not hijacked by outside agitators.

Aug. 12 2009 11:46 AM
hjs from 11211

Calls'em
we spend more and yet we die younger (so we get less)

do the math

Aug. 12 2009 11:46 AM
Dan from Fair Lawn NJ

For the last 40 years, left-wing protesters shouting out have been hauled off by the police. This doesn't happen to right-wingers, does it?

Aug. 12 2009 11:41 AM
tax bleeder from The city of New York

The town meeting is in New England dates back to colonial times. It predates the declaration of independence.

Aug. 12 2009 11:41 AM
David from New York

How does one find the nearest health care town hall meeting?

Is there an online map or calendar somewhere?

Thanks.

Aug. 12 2009 11:41 AM
hjs from 11211

it so clear that these racists are so upset that white people will soon not be the majority. they need a leader where is david duke?

Aug. 12 2009 11:39 AM
tax bleeder from The city of New York

The gentleman is just using the Democratic parties talking points. He is using the aged old adage, If they don't agree, insult them.

Aug. 12 2009 11:39 AM
the truth from bkny

Blind followers!

Aug. 12 2009 11:14 AM
the truth from bkny

Not so smart people attending these "town halls" and President Obama can talk to these rabble rouser until he is blue in the face, they are never going to agree with him because they are being led by hate and the main hate monger rush "pill popper" limbaugh.

They are so dumb until they are dirt poor with no insurance and would rather stay that way than to side with the Democrats, meanwhile the top dogs in their party go home at night and eat lobster and caviar.

Aug. 12 2009 11:13 AM
uos from queens

HEAR OUR VOICE HEAR OUT VOICE! WE HAVE NOTHING TO SAY! BUT HEAR OUR VOICE!

town halls use to be real. now it's all stagecraft. so sad. even the screamers are part of the stagecraft.

Aug. 12 2009 10:44 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

PS - we spend more for health care in this country because we care about people. Many people die in what we think of as progressive countries because of the intrinsic health rationing interconnected with socialized medicine.

Aug. 12 2009 10:27 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Thank God for the democracy of the Town Hall. It still works despite many Dems pols busing in out of district ACORN and union thugs to crowd out local citizens merely trying to speak to their own Congressman. The Facts: Obama has been committed to single payer health insurance for many years. Obama has told America what he wants to do to America. Obama’s plans will destroy America. Fortunately, Americans are finally waking up despite the cover-up by most of the main stream and liberal media. Obama is simply lying. He is on tape on many occasions endorsing single payer to SEIU and others. The health care bills are merely dense subterfuge. It is the theory of the big lie at work, again. Who uses the “big lie?” Historically, mostly dictators and want-a-be dictators.

Aug. 12 2009 10:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Gee, ummm, town halls and other participatory venues for speaking truth to power have always been fine when the shouters came from the "progressive" far left, AIDS activists, Cindy Sheehan or community organizers (oops, sorry, that's been declared a code for a hate word these days).

Now, they have become an annoying inconvenience. Sigh...oh, for the days when the "bad guys" were in power...we had more freedoms.

Aug. 12 2009 10:15 AM
gregb from NJ

The Obama administration, like so many democratic administrations before them, underestimates the power of a simple catch phrase to change the tenor of public discourse. And overestimates the public's tolerance for detailed (though thoughtful) arguments. Its hard to compete with the clarity and emotion of "government takeover of healthcare", or "death panels" or "right to life" in a town hall meeting. Even with accurate facts or thoughtful web sites.

So what should Obama do to focus his message and rally public support? I'd suggest something along the lines of "Equal Access to Private Practice". Equal access means every American will be insured, despite employment status or past medical conditions. Private Practice reminds America that the practice of medicine under the Obama plan is in the hands of your doctor and hospital. Hammer in this one message at every public meeting, and leave the details to Congress.

Aug. 12 2009 08:17 AM

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