What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 22, 2017

I Guess It All Depends On How You Define "Town Hall" (Sen Toomey's So-Called "Town Hall" in Harrisburg)

Let's start here:
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania explained why Republicans are having such trouble with health care. Speaking at a town hall during the July 4 recess, Toomey said, ‘I didn't expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn't. So we didn't expect to be in this situation.' [Emphasis added.]
Actually if you read the entire piece, it's not only about health care. In fact very little of it is.  It's about how even the GOP got Trump wrong and now the party establishment has a problem on its hands.

From the piece:
No kidding. I too can report that, from June 16, 2015, to November 8, 2016, the feeling among the elected officials, party functionaries, consultants, strategists, and journalists in our nation's capital was that Donald J. Trump stood no chance of becoming president of the United States. And because the political elite held this view with such self-assurance, with all the egotism and snobbery and moral puffery and snarkiness that distinguishes itself as a class, it did not spend more than a second, if that, thinking through the possible consequences of a Trump victory.

Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they've made to voters over the last eight years.
Among these promises: Obamacare.

But I want to get back to my start. Was it a "town hall"? I guess it all depends on how you define "town hall."

If you read Time (and there's hardly a less mainstream news source than Time), it was certainly called that:
Speaking at a town hall Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senator said that Republicans were having difficulty crafting a law to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act because they hadn't planned for it to happen this year.
 But what were the parameters of this so-called "town hall"?

From Pennlive:
Sen. Pat Toomey next week will appear in a televised town hall hosted by ABC27 News.

The event, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the news outlet's Harrisburg station, will be broadcast by other ABC affiliate stations in Altoona, Wilkes-Barre and Erie.

Viewers will be connected with the Republican senator during the live event via social media. ABC27 will take questions for Toomey on its Facebook page.

Because of capacity limitations at the station, admittance to the town hall is by invitation only.
There it is: "by invitation only" with questions streaming in over the TV station's Facebook page .

What sort of town hall is that? 

It's a pretty safe guess that the protesters outside this so-called "town hall" were not among the invited:
[The protesters] then jeered Toomey as his vehicle arrived at the station on the other side of a barricade and row of police officers.
It was "by invitation only" AND protected by a "row of police officers" AND a barricade?

What sort of town hall is that? And I have a question: who chose which questions the Senator would hear? Was it Toomey's office or the TV station, if it's the latter, were there any parameters set up beforehand as to what Toomey would hear?

I only ask because in a real town hall meeting, citizens can walk up to any microphone and be heard by their elected official.

That's obviously not what happened in Harrisburgh over the July 4th weekend. We should stop calling it a "town hall."

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