"Voters seldom see their representatives in unscripted settings in which they have to think on their feet. In most public appearances, they speak from staff-written talking points. Unlike
senators, most members of the House are not regulars on the network interview programs. Local or regional reporters may sometimes subject them to a grilling, but thanks to massive cutbacks in the news industry, this is becoming less and less common.
....From the politician’s perspective, that’s the beauty of virtual town halls. Staffers can screen the calls and messages. If a tough question does get through, the staffers can supply their boss with facts, figures, and snappy comebacks. (When the virtual town hall employs video instead of text, the aides need only stay out of camera range in order to preserve the illusion that the member is performing without assistance.) With all this help, even the laziest pols can look like überwonks. Call them 'virtual members.'
Obviously, the congressional workload requires lawmakers to delegate. But it’s reasonable for voters to expect them to know their stuff, especially on health
Virtual town halls are a lot like Oz: The members are the little men and women behind the curtain. And they don’t even need a heart, a brain, or courage."
Obama as The