The Campaign Spot

Invitation-Only Town Halls: Preaching to the Converted?

Tonight, in my neck of the woods, Rep. Jim Moran (D., Va.) will host a town hall with special guest Howard Dean. I’ll be in attendance and have a full report on any fireworks; organizers are emphasizing it’s for constituents only.

I had a decent turnout of folks for my chat last Thursday night, including a few NRO readers, so thanks to all who attended. One of the points I made was that opponents of health-care reform shouldn’t be too frustrated by lawmakers who refuse to engage their constituents face-to-face. Remember, congressional proponents of Obamacare were supposed to be using this August to build support for the plan, not spending it playing hide-and-seek with angry seniors. When lawmakers hold invitation-only events or use other methods to control who they interact with, it ensures that they will reach very few undecided, doubters, skeptics or otherwise persuadable folks. When you limit yourself to the choir, you’re preaching to the converted. That’s probably a more satisfying experience for the lawmakers, but won’t do much to move the numbers in public support.

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