Rep. Baron Hill is another Indiana Democrat who is ducking town hall meetings because of all those mean, nasty constiuents who really want to turn them into, you know, town hall meetings in which there is a boisterous exchange of opinion. Instead, he is having "unannounced meetings," and he is getting some grief for his explanation:
"I'm trying to control the event," Hill said, shortly before an informal discussion with a dozen business people at the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. "What I don't want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions."
Hill can't be given any points for originality, since he stole the "political terrorists" line from Washington Post's Daniel Pearlstein. But his frustration is understandable, since he is a "Blue Dog" being pressured both by liberals who want Big Government health care and conservatives who want to kill all current bills. His response is, in fact, as much a part of the American tradition as the oppostion itself -- remember Gov. Mitch Daniels' frustration with Indiana House Democrats?
Daniels hasn't always handled the criticism well. He once called House Democrats car bombers and said their leader, Rep. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, was "beyond embarrassment."
But all this "Americans love our health care plan, and they're just being misled by an organized bunch of Republican yahoos trying to disrupt our peaceful town meetings" crap is just a circus sideshow. Let's keep our eye on the ball:
One of the bewildering ironies of the health-care debate is that President Obama claims to be attacking the status quo when he's actually embracing it. Ever since Congress created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health politics has followed a simple logic: Expand benefits and talk about controlling costs. That's the status quo, and Obama faithfully adheres to it. While denouncing skyrocketing health spending, he would increase it by extending government health insurance to millions more Americans.