Ambinder: Town Halls Backfiring on Conservatives

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 8:03 PM CDT
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., watches as a participant attending a town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pa., is restrained by another participant.   (AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Christine Baker)
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(Newser) – Only a week ago, it seemed that conservatives had all the momentum in the fight against health care reform. Now, it's clear "they ramped up too quickly," writes Marc Ambinder in the Atlantic. The first town hall activists were "itching for a fight," and "the loudest voices tended to be the craziest, the most extreme, the least sensible, the easiest to mock."

American are anxious about reform, and Republicans could have exploited this had they not lacked "restraint" and "lost control of their message." This matters because the Republicans' only hope of success rests with getting the Blue Dog Democrats to side with them. "The swing constituents in these congressional districts aren't angry Republicans, and the Blue Dogs know this. They're political independents for whom the sanctity of the process is important." The town halls are doing nothing but scaring them away.