In my August 3 blog, I joined other conservative leaders in encouraging you to be sure to contact your congressmen during their August recess back home. I said, “. . . you have August to attend town hall meetings with your representative and senators, stop by their congressional offices, write letters to the editor of your local paper(s), and educate your friends and family members about the dangers of ObamaCare.” Apparently conservatives have heard the message. And, the initial effect has been dramatic and noticed by the national news media. And, more and more of us are politely, but firmly, letting our elected officials know of our concerns. And, we’re having an effect.
In the CBS Evening News lead story of August 12, Katie Couric) reported, “The scene was repeated in one community after another all across America” as “citizens concerned about healthcare reform confronted their senators and representatives in 27 town meetings in 12 states.
“One by one, they expressed fear and anger over legislation now making its way through Congress and they demanded answers. Some in the audience came well-prepared with details of what’s in the bill. But there is plenty of misinformation out there.”
The New York Times reports, “Lawmakers ran into fresh anger and skepticism on Wednesday as they fielded questions from constituents worried about changes in the healthcare system, and about a lot of other things having to do with government.”
The Politico similarly says “senators and members of Congress continued to get battered by constituents angry over President Barack Obama’s reform plan Wednesday.” The AP also covers the story.
Now, a survey suggests town-hall protests may be influencing some Americans’ views on health reform. USA Today reports that in “unwelcome news for President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders,” the “raucous protests at congressional town-hall-style meetings have succeeded in fueling opposition to proposed healthcare bills among some Americans, a USA Today/Gallup Poll finds,” especially “among the independents who tend to be at the center of political debates.”
Specifically, “in a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34 percent say demonstrations at the hometown sessions have made them more sympathetic to the protesters’ views; 21 percent say they are less sympathetic”; while “independents by 2-to-1, 35 percent-16 percent, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now.”
In any event, “the forums have grabbed public attention: Seven in 10 respondents are following the news closely.” Meanwhile, “a study by the non-partisan Pew Research Center concluded that 59 percent of the airtime last week on 13 cable TV and radio talk shows” was “devoted to the healthcare debate.”
As a result of all this, 2010 Republican challengers are organizing separate town hall meetings.
CQ HealthBeat reports that “some 2010 Republican House challengers are holding their own town hall meetings on healthcare,” and are organizing events this week in cities which have yet to announce any organized healthcare-related meetings with constituents.
Meanwhile, “in an effort to keep the pressure on, other candidates are inviting incumbents to join them at public forums on healthcare.”
The CQ notes that these Republican challengers “don’t have anything to lose at this point in the campaign process. Unlike the incumbents, they can’t be criticized for any votes that may take place this year or next on an overhaul. On the other hand, by providing an outlet for people to vent their healthcare concerns, the 2010 challengers may be helping to tamp down some of the rage that’s been directed at lawmakers who are trying to develop an acceptable plan.”
So, if you’ve not let your elected officials know your views about healthcare reform . . . now’s the time. I just recommend you do so politely and respectfully . . . but firmly.