How Townhall Meetings Influence Grassley's Health Care Views

More

by Conor Clarke

The Washington Post reports that Grand Poobah Charles Grassley says "the outpouring of anger at town hall meetings this month has fundamentally altered the nature of the debate and convinced him that lawmakers should consider drastically scaling back the scope of health-care reform." Grassley elaborates, via the Post:

After being besieged by protesters at meetings across his home state of Iowa, Grassley said he has concluded that the public has rejected the far-reaching proposals Democrats have put on the table, viewing them as overly expensive precursors to "a government takeover of health care."

I think it's worth mentioning that the Grassley theory of "the public" is pretty much the exact opposite of how American democracy is supposed to function. Famously, public representatives are supposed to distinguish between the "vicious arts" of faction (Madison's words) and the "permanent and aggregate interests of the community" (Hamilton's). Of course, it might be the case that protestors laying seige to Fort Grassley actually represent the aggregate interests of the public. But you won't find evidence for that conclusion at a townhall meeting.

On the other hand, there's a pretty interesting question about the nature of democracy here: Formal democracy measures only the number of preferences (tallying votes), and not the intensity of preferences (like passionate townhall protests) or the quality of preferences (like the opinion of some group of philosopher kings). But I'm going to go out on a limb and assume Senator Grassley is not asking those rich philosophical quesitons.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down