By now, you've probably already seen this clip of Rep. Barney Frank issuing a scathing rebuke to a woman comparing Barack Obama to Hitler at a Dartmouth, Mass., healthcare town hall. But a little refresher won't hurt:

For those of us who have long been yearning for a return to rational political discourse, it was a treat to watch someone in high office so eloquently refuse to engage, as Frank called it, "vile, contemptable nonsense." It was also a bit sad.

I don't have sympathy for Rep. Frank's target, of course. What I find sad is that this sort of dressing down hasn't become commonplace at the increasingly absurd, disgusting town halls (see this woman yelling "Heil Hitler!" to a Jewish man who says he supports healthcare reform). It's depressing that more of Frank's colleagues aren't doing exactly as he did: correctly identifying the liars and alarmists in the audience and then immediately dispatching with their bogus garbage.

Chalk it up to an insatiable desire to curry votes and stay in power. For too long, our elected officials have approached their constituents with open ears and kid gloves, as if each person's opinion, no matter how ridiculous, deserves its time in the sun. If the town halls have taught us anything, it's that that's simply not true.

—CORD JEFFERSON