House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have penned an op-ed in USA Today decrying some of the conservative protests at these town halls. "The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent," they write. "However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue."
On the other hand, in his appearance on FOX yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell defended the protests, saying: "I think attacking citizens in our country for expressing their opinions about an issue of this magnitude may indicate some weakness in their position on the merits."
Following the lead of former Washington Post Ohio Valley Bureau chief Tom Edsall's reporting in '04 and '06, the Washington Post delves back into Indiana 09, Dem Baron Hill's Cong. District, to see how health care is playing.
"Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday on CNN's 'State of the Union' that he is committed to getting a bipartisan bill, even if it means sacrificing a public insurance option. 'It doesn't have to be a perfect bill,' Durbin said. 'I support a public option, but yes I am open. I want to make sure we do something positive for the American people.'" But Sen. John Cornyn said that "while 'there's a lot of middle ground where we can meet, I don't see how we can make much headway' unless the public insurance option is off the table entirely."