Paul Ryan’s fed up with being held accountable for TrumpCare, and doesn’t want to do town hall meetings with his constituents any more. Heaven forbid he should have to face the people his party’s working so hard to inflict all manner of miseries upon.
CBS News reported they’ve been trying to chase him down. But Paul Ryan’s gotten highly adept at avoiding any events that may put him in contact with the people he’s hurting.
But the now-House-speaker’s events these days are more like the two employee town halls he held Thursday, where the questions were easy, the general public was barred and there was no followup from reporters.
CBS’ Dean Reynolds tried to buttonhole the slippery rep from Janesville at one of these events on Thursday, but he dodged while muttering, “I gotta go.” Finally, on Friday, Paul Ryan held a tightly scripted press conference in Madison, Wisc.
But when the news correspondent tried to pin him down on when he’d schedule the next town hall — and only the traditional town halls that are open to the public count — the House speaker from Slytherin answered:
“Let me respond. Aside from the obvious security concerns, what we find is that there are people who are trying to come in from out of the district to disrupt town hall meetings. I don’t want to have a situation where we have a screaming fest, a shouting fest where people are being bused in from out of the district to get on TV.”
According to Business Insider, he explained that he prefers “telephone town hall meetings” (which just happen to make it easy to disconnect unruly callers while attracting less attention from the media).
“That’s why I have done a number of telephone town hall meetings, which I find very effective as people don’t have to travel. I do office hours. I just did them this morning in Janesville. In addition, I am doing a lot of business ones.”
That’s right. Paul Ryan pushed through a bill that will leave 22 million of us uninsured, according to the June 26 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. And now he’s running scared from his constituents.
The congressman and his staff won’t even answer their phones. Wisconsin resident Ann Jamison told Reynolds she’s been “not successful at all” in her attempts to reach them. She adds that although she’s not actually from his district, he’s Speaker of the House and has a responsibility to all Americans.
To add insult to injury, she can’t even leave a voice mail message.
“The voicemail ends with saying that the voice box is full and you are not able to leave a message,”
Paul Ryan used to get standing ovations at his town hall meetings, as the conservative magazine, The Standard crowed back in 2011. Now, he and his fellow Republicans are avoiding them like the plague.
Vox reports Republicans have been avoiding town hall meetings like the plague in recent months. As for the July 4 recess, Vox adds only Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) scheduled town hall meetings with the people who voted for them.
The Town Hall Project further notes on Twitter that the meetings dropped off “dramatically” after the House passed the wildly unpopular AHCA on May 4.
In the House, 125 out of 240 GOP members and 23 out of 193 Democrats held no town hall meetings. The Senate is no better. Only 33 out of 52 Republicans and 12 out of 46 Democrats held open, public events for their constituents so far this year.
Here’s the infographic from the Town Hall Project’s Jan.-May Missing Member Report.
Agreed! Tele town halls definitely do not count. See our full infographic for more: pic.twitter.com/kGHOawSE1g
— Town Hall Project (@townhallproject) June 6, 2017
Town hall meetings are a long-standing tradition here in America. According to Time, the earliest one on record was held in Dorchester, Ma. in 1633.
And so, 383 years ago, this New England town agreed to convene weekly to discuss the pressing issues of their community. These town meetings embody a type of participatory democracy that Americans exalt: communities coming together to debate issues, build consensus and vote on the proceedings. They’ve been a feature of American democracy and local governance ever since, and over time the term “town hall meeting” came to refer to a forum for community participation on any topic.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party has shed many cherished traditions we Americans have taken for granted in the past. Politicians from both parties have always been influenced by their top campaign donors. But, as we reported earlier, in trying to force death panels masquerading as “healthcare” bills on voters against our will to please their paymasters, the GOP has taken this to a new extreme.
Watch: Paul Ryan declares he’s done with those pesky town hall meetings.