Hodes and Shea-Porter Staring Back at Me
I surfed over to the Politico website last night, and was somewhat startled to find myself face-to-face with Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter. For at least a little while yesterday, large smiling photos of our two U.S. Representatives sat side-by-side atop the web page, accompanied by a David Catanese piece about the continued lack of civility in our public discourse (New Hampshire edition). The author uses Hodes’ and Shea-Porter’s Easter Recess town hall meetings in the Granite State as a window into continued voter anger over health care reform and pretty much everything else.
Local Democrats should not feel the need to rush to defend Hodes and Shea-Porter, however, as they seem to be handling the situation reasonably well on their own, and the article isn’t really about them, anyway. It instead covers a lot of familiar terrain about the public expression of voter outrage around the country, and relies on a few of the usual anecdotes from vocal (local) attendees who suspect all manner of political malfeasance by the two representatives.
It is true that the political discourse in our country has taken a turn for the worse, although I don’t necessarily think it is any more flammable than it was during the first wave of raucous town hall meetings last August. What I think bothers me enough to write about this article, however, is that Catanese seems to set up a false premise here. He wants us to believe that Democrats are just now finding out that pivoting from health care to economic and financial issues is going to be much more arduous than they expected. I haven’t seen any evidence that either Hodes or Shea-Porter thought that the pivot would be an easy one. In fact, they both seem pretty well braced for the fight. Yet, the article (at least by implication) wants us to believe that the two were somehow surprised by the rough handling they received. If anything, Hodes and Shea-Porter seem resigned to it.


Posted On: 04-06-2010 13:01:26 by Jim Splaine
I thought Carol Shea-Porter did especially well handling questions and comments about the health insurance reform passage. Paul Hodes could have done better, and I think we cannot afford to be arrogant in the way we handle the opposition. Those "on the other side" have points of view we need to respect. It's likely that health insurance reform might negatively affect some Democrats in November, but overall here in New Hampshire I think we'll hold our own -- lose some, win some. It won't be a 2006 or 2008 for Democrats, but it won't be a 1994 either. Maybe a little wishful thinking there, but I trust the intelligence of the voters after listening to full public discussion, which campaigns usually provide. New Hampshire Democrats have much reason to go to the polls and vote in November, and it's all about turnout.

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