FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
When it comes to these town hall meetings on health care reform, the Democrats may want to rethink their strategy.
Democratic Senators Arlen Specter and Claire McCaskill were among the latest to be drowned out by angry protesters. One woman in Missouri told McCaskill, "If they don't let us vent our frustrations out, they will have a revolution." McCaskill said she's seeing a lot of distrust of government and cynicism.
Protesters at Specter's meeting said they think the Obama administration is going too far with health care reform... One woman shouted quote, "This is about the dismantling of this country." Specter said he thinks the people protesting are "not necessarily representative of America" but should be heard.
Pres. Obama and the Democrats seem to face an increasingly uphill battle in selling health care reform to a skeptical public. People don't know what's in the bill because the Democrats haven't done a good job explaining it.
For his part, the president is urging people to ignore those who are trying to "scare and mislead" the public. He says what's "truly scary is if we do nothing."
But the public is pretty split on this one. A new Gallup poll shows more Americans disapprove than approve of the way the president is handling health care reform, by a margin of 49% to 43%. What's interesting here is these numbers are virtually unchanged from 3 weeks ago – before the administration stepped up its effort to win support and before all the anger boiled over at these town hall meetings.
SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Are the town hall meetings helping or hurting health care reform?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Sandra in North Carolina
Sadly, they appear to be hurting health care reform. The most publicized events are the embarrassing screaming matches filled with untruths. The louder and more obnoxious, the more frequently we get to see it on TV. I, for one, would like to hear real discussion and maybe even be part of a town hall meeting, but I don't think I could yell loud enough to be heard.
Until the final bill comes out and all the misinformation is straightened out, I think the town hall meetings are only hurting the Obama administration. Right now, anyone can say anything about what is in the bill as there is no bill.
Most of the angry protesters seem like they are really upset, but each time they speak about what they are upset about, they say something that has been dispelled as a myth. I feel sorry for them because they have been misinformed and they are afraid. I think this display will actually help health care reform to happen.
If I were an opponent of the health care reform effort, I would be emboldened by what I've seen and heard in these town hall reports. The real question is: Are the town halls themselves hurting the health care debate or is it the media's coverage of them that is doing the damage?
Don in Toledo, Ohio
I think they are hurting and that's too bad. We need health care reform, but as you can see the squeaky wheel will get most of the grease. It is also too bad that these noisy individuals are so willing to believe the misinformation being put out by the lobbyists for health insurers and right wing radicals. Too bad Pres. Obama turned such an important issue over to the likes of Rep. Pelosi and Senator Reid.
This is what happens when you try to ram stuff down people's throats. Obama and the Democrats are making the Billary health care mistake. The more things change, the more they stay the same.