(Also posted at What Would Jack Do?)

Freshman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) told a town hall gathering Monday that “the whole purpose” of the meeting “is to hear from you.” But apparently Herrera Beutler isn’t interested in hearing from everyone. The congresswoman’s Communications Director Casey Bowman called the Centralia Chronicle Friday to ask them not to publish a notice of the town hall, out of fear that people would come and say “whatever’s on their minds,” the paper reports…. Bowman later said that while the office doesn’t “screen” invitees, it does select people to invite via telephone, rather than mass media, calling everyone in “a certain ZIP code.” At least one couple felt slighted after having called the congresswoman’s Washington office and being told there were no town halls scheduled.

If there’s one thing our new generation of Teapublican Congresscritters have shown, it’s that they care for democracy about as much as Bill O’Reilly respects Michael Moore. Once these Koch-funded mouthpieces took office, many of them began treating their constituents as mere inconveniences, useful only insofar as they can be manipulated to guarantee their continued employment. One of the local examples of this disturbing trend is freshman Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents a district in southern Washington just across the Columbia River from where I live in Portland. Though Herrera Beutler has revealed herself to be something of a legislative nonentity, she’s not above doing what she can to ensure that she faces friendly crowds back in her district.

Yeah, the last thing you want is people asking uncomfortable questions. Remember, when teabaggers scream at Democrats, it’s democracy in action. When Liberals turn the table, it’s disruptive and anti-democratic….

Two years ago, Tea Party zealots disrupted town halls nationwide by screaming at Democratic Congressman and turning a tradition of American democracy into a farce. Now, some of those same Teapublicans who benefited from this “movement” are discovering that a similar tactic just might be employed against them. No, their more Left-leaning constituent aren’t likely to try to shout them down, but they’re willing and able to ask some very pointed and uncomfortable questions, something no Teapublican wants captured on video. The only way to avoid this, of course, is to avoid meeting unscreened groups of your constituents. Many Teapublicans eschewed holding town hall meetings altogether, and others, like Herrera Beutler have done what they can to stack crowds in their favor. By ensuring that their audiences include the “right” people, Teapublicans can avoid being held accountable for some of the things they’ve tried to do in Washington.

Nice to know that the new generation (bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers) truly respect what democracy means, isn’t it?

Jack Cluth

Jack Cluth