This is what democracy looks like

Rep. Jim Jordan is a star. And not just because he had the good taste to hold a presidents’ day town hall meeting at the home of the vastly underrated Warren Harding. Jordan displayed his star quality by patiently fielding questions from protesters who swarmed the event.

Crashing the town hall meetings of conservative congressmen has become the rage among left-wing protesters. Dave Weigel of the Washington Post aptly calls it part of the left’s “permanent campaign.”

According to Weigel, some of Jordan’s fellow conservative legislators have criticized this tactic, which is understandable. A few have gone further (too far, in my opinion) to say they will not hold town hall meetings as long as radicals are crashing them.

Jordan takes a different approach. When the rads showed up for his meeting in Marion, Ohio, he was asked whether he thought the protesters were “paid” or imported from outside his district. Jordan responded:

Frankly, I don’t care. It there are people here who aren’t constituents, they’re still Americans. I’m happy to talk to them.

Talk to them he did, taking questions for 40 minutes from the porch where Harding often spoke during the 1920 presidential campaign.

In Weigel’s telling, Jordan was good-natured throughout, as he fielded more than a dozen hostile questions about Obamacare, climate change, Russian involvement in the presidential campaign, etc. He called on the woman he defeated last year in his reelection campaign, and who was among the protesters holding a megaphone, to ask a question. Jordan called her his “favorite opponent” (not a “failed politician”) and why not? He defeated her 68-32, in line with his usual margin of victory.

Jordan smiled at her as she asked an Obamacare question. Weigel gives this report of their exchange:

“What we’re concerned about is when the ACA is replaced, that people are going to be able to afford it,” Garrett said.

“Exactly. That’s what we’re for,” Jordan insisted.

“If you have access, but you can’t afford it, it’s not access,” said Garrett. “It’s denial.”

“You know what you just described, Janet? You just described the situation we have right now under the ACA. People can’t afford it now. We have the Affordable Care Act. I’m surprised to see you on my side.”

From Weigel’s account, I take it that Jordan was civil throughout. There was no name-calling or other attempts to disparage the hostile questioners. Unlike a certain U.S. president.

Jordan is used to handling himself in settings stacked against him. On his way to Harding’s home, he recalled attending a candidate forum last year in a precinct in Oberlin where he had won only five votes.

Oberlin is a bastion of leftists, but the people there are “still Americans” and Jordan was “happy to talk to him.”


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