U.S. Rep. David Price, D-NC, whose district includes Raleigh and Durham, would not return calls when Carolina Journal Managing Editor Rick Henderson was trying to find out his public schedule during the August recess. Rick wrote about North Carolina’s congressmen shying away from town halls at Carolina Journal Online.

Well, I was cruising the Web a bit ago and found this:

Rep. David Price, D-N.C., reportedly will hold only a telephone town hall.

As the writer, Newsmax’s Ernest Istook, says in his story about town halls:

Skittish about facing vocal and often-angry constituents, some members of Congress choose to forego their traditional August town hall meetings. Sometimes a “tele-townhall” is offered as a substitute. In that system, constituents are given a chance to listen over the phone to comments by their elected official. Some of the public are permitted to speak up when an operator activates their line from listen-only mode to interactive.

The system enables large numbers to listen — sometimes in the thousands — but limits the ability for anyone to speak except the politician. There is no group dynamic, no chance to interject (whether politely or rudely), and no embarrassing YouTube video for the politician.

It’s a tightly-controlled and sedate way to have a meeting, dominated by the elected official.

I guess we can add Price to the “profiles in courage” list of congressmen afraid to meet their constituents face-to-face.