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Democrats opt out of face time with constituents

June 07, 2010

It's official -- or pretty close to official: YouTube has killed off the traditional political town meeting, especially among Democratic lawmakers.

So apparently, YouTube is good for something besides broadcasting a bunch of drunken hillbillies racing their belt sanders across a sheet of plywood.

According to The New York Times, Democrats got their fill of confronting tantrum-prone constituents at town hall meetings during last year's health care debate.

Never ones to warm to personal contact with voters under the best of circumstances, they are now avoiding public appearances altogether.

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I like it. I might have gotten into politics if it weren't for the people.

I'll say this: we've come a long way from the ancient regimes of France, where the queen was expected to give birth in public so the public at large could be assured that the heir was alive and kicking.

Today, a candidate apparently can hermetically seal himself inside a clear polycarbonate, coming out only to occasionally bathe and have affairs with underage prostitutes.

Politicians are the new Punxsutawney Phils, staying in their burrows year-round, lest they be accosted by the Common Man. Nice. Vote for me, just don't breathe on me.

But, you ask, how do they get their messages out if they don't meet with the public in person? Credit unions.

And you think I make this stuff up. Here's the actual quote from the Times: "With images of overheated, finger-waving crowds still seared into their minds from the discontent of last August, many Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions. The recommendations were clear: Hold events in controlled settings -- a bank or credit union, for example -- or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects."

See? I told you. Of course that doesn't mean that I can explain the logic behind it. Maybe they figure that all the wild-eyed birther loons don't have bank accounts -- that they keep all their money (which has been exchanged for gold bullion) buried in their backyards next to the cache of automatic weapons and a six-year supply of dried pinto beans.

Touring a business is always an old standby. Sometimes I think Barbara Mikulski has clocked more time at Mack than the average, rank-and-file spot welder.

Of course these are Democrats, so that assumes there are any businesses in their districts that remain open, which I'd think is something of a long shot.

The risk of touring a business, of course, is that it might show a politician to be painfully aware of anything resembling actual life. We all remember the uncomfortable moment that occurred when the first President Bush was dazzled by supermarket scanning technology.

A politician touring, say, a high-tech firm is quite likely to have a Homer Simpson moment: "Hey look everybody, the Internet is on computers now."

So maybe they just ought to give up the charade that they care what the people think. Forget the town hall meetings, forget the Memorial Day speeches, forget the special-interest rallies. Just stay to yourself at the Mayflower Hotel with little Miss Chesty LeMans, or whatever name she's going by these days.

The honest truth is that we don't want to see them any more then they want to see us.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com">timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com">opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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