(Obviously started in August)
In the age of Glenn Beck, the town hall meeting paradigm is just the anonymous web forum with no moderator. The people interested in genuine discussion won’t go near it, and “socialist!” is the new “yr gay”. To this extent the tea party folks have certainly been successful at churning out viral YouTube clips, but for better or for worse, no one should get the impression that public meeting attendees are necessarily representative of a constituency.
I see a lot of conservative bloggers and commenters making the mistake of watching these clips and pronouncing that it’s evidence of a silent majority that will surely stand up and “throw the bums out” in 2010. HotAirPundit highlighted a Houston area meeting featuring an obnoxious birther and an angry crowd awaiting outside and concludes, “Something tells me he will get voted out.” Gene Green, the Democrat representative, took office with almost 75% of the vote, but I guess he could always wind up in some scandal and be replaced (probably with another Democrat).
This isn’t to say I’m necessarily behind the proposed reforms; reading McArdle hasn’t given me a lot of confidence in us being able to cut costs using similar actions at the state level, but I feel some brand of insurance reform is inevitable at this point and hope there are people behind this acting in good faith. Democrats are basically putting themselves on the chopping block with this so they may have more persuasive information than I have access to.