What a difference a year makes. Interesting that our Republican Congressmen can’t take the heat, so they’re shutting the kitchen down. Lou Barletta and Tom Marino were more than happy to reap the rewards of the ‘nuts with cameras’ before they got elected to office. However, now that their nuts aren’t behind the viewfinder, it’s time to take their ball and go home. The Times Tribune runs the story of how non-media video will not be allowed at their town-hall meetings. While you may think it’s a ‘public meeting’, think again. According to the people who represent the people who represent us, that’s not so. It’s a meeting with the public, but it’s their show and they’ll make the ground rules.
When Paul Kanjorski was in Congress, and fighting for his political future, he came on our show on WILK. He claimed his telephone town hall meetings were necessary, because ‘nuts with cameras’ were ruining the process. I vehemently disagreed with his decision to hide from the people. Standing face to face with the voters is an integral part of the process. You shouldn’t be afraid to go ‘on the record’ electronically, with anyone.
What happened here is that Congressmen Marino and Barletta have learned the hard way that you reap what you sow. When tea party activists organized at Carney town hall meetings, he stood up and stood his ground, never backing away from his health care vote. When Kanjorski switched to telephone town halls, Barletta and his people were indignant. Now, here were are a year later, and the Republican members of Congress don’t want to explain a disastrous vote for Paul Ryan’s Medicare slashing budget. Polls show it is enormously unpopular. Our elected leaders need to stand up and explain why they voted for it. I think it’s a terrible plan, but if you think it’s good, you should explain it to the people. Don’t hide, don’t make up the rules as you go along.
Yesterday, in New York State, a Democrat won a Congressional seat in a heavily Republican area. The main issue, the Republican candidate’s vote in favor of that Medicare voucher swap. Barletta and Marino might run, but they cannot hide. They can close their eyes and pretend it didn’t happen, but it did. I encourage all citizen activists to get out their handycam, their flipcam, their phone cameras, and let Congressmen Marino and Barletta explain just why they don’t want people to know what’s going on inside their town hall meetings.