John Kline would make a perfect 18th century French aristocrat

I can actually picture John Kline with his perfumed handkerchief over his nose trying to avoid the poor peasants we Minnesotans are.

This evening at 8:00, I received a call from John Kline. I didn’t know it was John Kline when I answered. The caller ID listed Compartners with a 202 area code. When I answered, there was a message introducing John Kline, and asking me to join a telephone town hall meeting currently in process. I pressed one as instructed and heard John Kline finishing up on an answer to a question about Afghanistan.

I realized it was real; I could even queue up to ask questions. But before the next question was asked, he said this would be the last question. I don’t even remember what the question was. Then the “it was real” thought became an is this really real. I trust John Kline as much as I trust his party leaders. I was a little skeptical that this was a real town hall meeting, and suspected it was really a staged 5 minute recorded call to get his information out in a more seemingly engaging manner. So afterwards, I did a little research into it.

It turns out it was real. Representative Dan Lungren (R-CA) seems to have started it and John Kline is now holding this new form of town hall meeting. A small group of House GOPers view this technology as a replacement for the live town hall meetings, which have turned into “partisan free-for-alls.” Now, by using the technology, they don’t even have to meet their constituents face-to-face. Maybe they are afraid of the bird flu. Or worse yet, one of those dreaded diseases immigrants bring to the country!

I know how hard it is to meet John Kline. Last election I got two notices of town hall meetings, after they had occurred, and several others that were limited in topics to the point that it was actually stressed in the literature that no other topics would be discussed.

I like the idea of the automated meetings, but not as a replacement for live voter meetings. John Kline is a servant to the constituents of the 2nd District. He is not a servant to the Republican Party or President Bush. He should not be hiding at the other end of a phone line.

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