By Peter Bearse
Where are you Rep. Carol Shea-Porter? In hiding from the so-called “unruly mob.” At home? Dialing for dollars? Whatever. To an outside observe, it looks as if you’re AWOL (Absent Without Leave) from your constituents even while they have many questions about healthcare and want to be part of the debate on this most critical issue. So, what became of your “town meetings”? You managed to have a whole slew of them in the run-up to your re-election last fall. Some would call that electioneering on the taxpayers dollar. Now that you have to serve the taxpayers rather than yourself, you are nowhere to be seen -- except in the audience of President Osama’s “town hall” on healthcare recently in Portsmouth. The latest edition of your self-advertising newsletter makes no mention of any town meetings convened by you.
And what if they were? You seem to have made a habit of providing relatively late notice of them to the public at-large, presumably to give your staff time to invite your supporters. And so, like President Obama, you end up with an audience dominated by supporters throwing mostly “soft ball” questions in your direction. Even so, you manage to ill-serve some, by...
Lecturing them, as if you were their teacher and they your students;
Otherwise condescending to them;
Standing on your high horse as a federal official, refusing to deal with issues that do not conform with your high position; and...
Rambling on in ways that seem self-serving rather than enabling more interactions with and among constituents.
Dr. Bearse remarked: “These features show we need a better model of town hall democracy -- to involve and empower a greater number and diversity of voters. See peterbearseforcongress.com for an example.
None of the above features, observed during your past town hall meetings, would help people participate in the debate on healthcare reform.
Released by Supporters of Peter Bearse on August 14, 2009