I went to a town hall meeting yesterday for local Congressman Tom Reed. The audience was moderately hostile but Reed handled himself well. Some Congressional representatives get rattled by heckling, and if they do, you should heckle. Getting in your opponents’ head is half the battle. For others, like Reed, it’s better to be polite but persistent. You might think a Congressional representative like Reed “wins” in this case, but that’s not necessarily the right way to look at it, because reps who handle town hall crowds well also tend to say the kinds of reasonable, honest things that can be used against their caucus when their caucus is trying to pass truly horrible legislation like TrumpCare. Maybe you could argue that the rep still “wins” this way if the legislation fails, but there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s in the service of killing terrible legislation.
Reed was less than enthusiastic about TrumpCare. He said he wouldn’t vote for it before there was a a CBO score, and that he might conceivably vote against it if he didn’t like the CBO score. He also implied that he didn’t see the current bill as a final product but just a starting point.
In fact, a lot of Republican members of Congress are expressing reservations about TrumpCare at town hall meetings. Dean Heller’s comments were somewhat similar to Reed’s though more pointed and more supportive of ACA.