The White House has made it clear that it does not agree with the charge made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, in an op-ed piece that Town Hall protesters who are disrupting meetings are indulging in behavior that is “un-American.”
In fact, the White House response is quite similar to what we suggested in THIS POST on the quickly breaking controversy -= that someone can be critical of the tactic but the word “un-American” is both not the word to us. Via ABC News:
The White House disagreed this afternoon with the contention by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, that the disruptions at town hall meetings are “un-American,” as the Democratic congressional leaders contended in a USA Today op-ed this morning.
“I think there’s actually a pretty long tradition of people shouting at politicians in America,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One when asked about the comments.
“The President thinks that if people want to come and have a spirited debate about health care, a real vigorous conversation about it, that’s a part of the American tradition and he encourages that, because people do have questions and concerns …And so if people want to come and have their concerns and their questions answered, the President thinks that’s important. Now, if you just want to come to a town hall so that you can disrupt and so that you can scream over another person, he doesn’t think that that’s productive. And as a country, we’ve been able to make progress when people actually talk out what our problems are, not try to shout each other down.”
Go the link and read our earlier post for more details on the controversy.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.