'Seminal' Town Halls of 2009 Still Resonate

Consequences will be felt in November midterm elections
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2010 12:20 PM CDT
'Seminal' Town Halls of 2009 Still Resonate
Protesters for and against President Obama's health care reform proposals demonstrate outside a town hall in August 2009.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – The midterm elections are poised to shake up the political landscape, a consequence that Peggy Noonan traces directly back to the volatile town hall meetings of last summer. "Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats saw it coming," she writes of the movement. "But it was a seminal moment, and whatever is coming in November, it started there." Noonan goes so far as to liken the activity to Iranian unrest, given that most of the coverage came on the web and YouTube.

During the debate over health care reform, President Obama united his opposition. His party will probably pay the price in November, but Republicans had better not be too "triumphalist," Noonan writes for the Wall Street Journal. They still need to prove they're "worthy of the electoral bounty that is likely to come their way. ... If they don't start thinking big and encouraging debate, they're going to blow it, too. And they'll find out at a town hall meeting in 2013. Or earlier." (Read more town hall meeting stories.)

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