Stand to be insulted and pay for the privilege

I used to go to the townhall meetings a local Congressman, Randy Kuhl, held throughout the year. Some of my hippie friends got on his case with hostile anti-Iraq War questions (note though that they were models of civility compared to the anti-ACA teahadist townhallers), but I never thought that worked well, since it just made Kuhl look like this good guy who tirelessly traveled the district facing tough questions.

When you start charging people $15 to attend your townhall meetings, the dynamic changes completely. If I were in Paul Ryan’s district, I’d be tempted to get together with a few friends and pay 15 bucks a pop to show up and ask Paul Ryan some tough questions, then hopefully get bum-rushed by rent-a-cops, or at least jeered by Ryan’s crazy cultists. Film the whole thing with a cell phone, put it on YouTube, and you’ve got a PR headache for ol’ blue eyes.

It’s harder to accomplish this at an open townhall without looking like an asshole.

Update. Culture of Truth:

“I’m paying for this microphone!”

Heh.






46 replies
  1. 1
    Culture of Truth says:

    “I’m paying for this microphone!”

  2. 2
    Napoleon says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    For the win in one.

  3. 3
    Ben Cisco says:

    He should be parodied in an ad (“The Coin-Operated Congressman”) using a theme similar to this.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    beltane says:

    Once you pay the $15, you become the customer and Paul Ryan becomes the hired entertainment. Instead of dinner and a movie make it dinner and an evening of “Dance, wingnut, dance”.

  6. 6

    I can’t figure out a way to sensibly work “a tight grip on the short hairs of the public imagination” into the thread, so I’ll just say that’s a fine reference in the post title.

  7. 7
    PeakVT says:

    This thread is giving me the feeling of déjà vu all over again.

  8. 8
    pragmatism says:

    how will blue eyed paulie handle the tough questions when he finally succumbs to kristol’s desires and declares for prez? he’ll have to face up to the constant barrage of “how are you so brave and handsome” inquiries. gonna be rough.

  9. 9
    Violet says:

    @Culture of Truth:
    Awesome. Anyone know anyone who lives in Ryan’s district who would be willing to do this?

    Also, too, are there any poor constituents who would be willing to stand outside the event and explain to anyone who will listen they’d love to chat with “their own Congressman, Paul Ryan, who is a representative of government by the people and for the people, not just the people with money” but they got laid off/are being foreclosed upon/unemployment ran out, etc. and can’t afford $15.

  10. 10
    Calming Influence says:

    Oh yes indeed! I’ll pledge $30 to cover the first 2 tickets if anyone in Ryan’s district is listening.

  11. 11
    Thoughtcrime says:

    If I were in Paul Ryan’s district, I’d be tempted to get together with a few friends and pay 15 bucks a pop to show up and ask Paul Ryan some tough questions

    Maybe he’ll go Michael Richards on your ass:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pp6WC1Ocz4

  12. 12
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    I’m surprised Ryan is charging so little.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    Do they even allow recording devices in those events anymore? I half expect the town halls to be ringed by metal detectors and swarming with thugs in suites.

  14. 14
    Alwhite says:

    @Violet:

    BINGO! This is a much better visual that going inside and starting a riot. Instead of being a provocateur you are simply and everyman desperate to speak to your Congressman but short the tribute he is demanding for an audience.

  15. 15
    jl says:

    This is actually Good News for Republicans(tm), if you look at it with a deranged mind.

    All it is doing is making the process of representative democracy more fair.

    There are already special ‘town halls’ for wealthy contributors where the Congressperson pays very special attention. But these special town halls cost $10k and on up.

    Now we can all go to a poor person’s version for $15.

    This great new GOP ‘every man white male a king’ town hall pay for play plan equals tha playing field between rich and the less, but still somewhat deserving (when convenient) rich.

    And prevents the unproductive and unmonied from corrupting democracy, also, too.

  16. 16
    gex says:

    @Zifnab: The can’t be taking everyone’s phone, I’m guessing.

  17. 17
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Paul Ryan- the best congressman money can buy.

  18. 18
    gex says:

    @Violet: Signs. The signs will make the rounds. Something like “Lost my job in ’10, can’t afford to talk to my congressman about jobs.”

  19. 19
    A Mom Anon says:

    How the hell is this legal? Oh fuck it,why do I bother asking anymore? What fucking balls this prick has.

  20. 20
    pragmatism says:

    cheeseheads are getting a deal. $35 to talk to Ben Quayle over a catered lunch of broasted potatoe.
    sorry for politico link http://dyn.politico.com/prints.....57948A0787

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    “Congressman Ryan, if I need to pay $15 to speak to my elected Representative, why am I also paying your salary and benefits? Isn’t this $15 an added tax on democratic participation? Haven’t I already paid you to speak to me and represent me?”

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @gex:
    Absolutely signs. Where’s the event? Can people stand outside the entrance at wherever it’s going to be held?

    I haven’t read the article. Is the money going to Ryan’s election fund or is it just to cover the lunch or does it go to some other organization?

  23. 23
    jl says:

    News report I heard says that Rick Perry, when asked to provide some perspective and nuance to his charge that Bernanke doing his job might be interpreted as treason, decided to double down and throw out some more red meat.

    Lordy.

    Take GW Bush, get rid of all of his good qualities (and he did have a few), and dumb him down substantially, and put the mean vindictive bullying front and center all the time, and you have Rick Perry.

    This Perry guy seems outrageous, even for Texas. Only place I have spent any time at all where I would expect to meet Rick Perry types is Texas Panhandle (is that what they call it, that square thingy that sticks up on the north side of the state?) or the Pecos Valley. Are those two places populous enough to elect a TX governor all by themselves?

  24. 24
    David Hunt says:

    If my own wingnut congresscritter, Bill Flores, did that I’d be compelled to go and tell him how upset I was about the $45 that he’d made me spend. That’s $15 to get to see him, and the $30 that I felt compelled to whoever ran against him because of how insulting his $15 fee was.

  25. 25
    jl says:

    @David Hunt: If my Rep every tried something like this in my district, and I decided to show up, the total cost would be in the hundreds, at least.

    I would go apeshit, so there would be bail and lawyer fees on top.

  26. 26
    beltane says:

    @jl: The thing people forget about the Bush 2000 campaign is that he painted himself as something of a moderate (compared to today’s GOP offerings), a task made substantially easier by the fact that his father had been a relatively moderate Republican. In today’s parlance, George HW Bush would be a gay, fetus eating, Sharia law promoting commie. What is Rick Perry’s pedigree with regards to being a moderate?

  27. 27
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Newly-minted Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised the idea of turning to Predator drones to help secure the country’s border with Mexico during a stop in New Hampshire over the weekend, the Boston Globe reports.

  28. 28
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    @…now I try to be amused: He never said he isn’t for sale; just that no one’s yet met his price…

  29. 29
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @jl:

    Don’t forget the suburbs of Dallas and Houston: Dick Armey and Tom DeLay country, respectively…

  30. 30
    Calming Influence says:

    @pragmatism: potatoe.

    I see what you did there.

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    Everyone should show up with a small claims summons for $15 + filing and court fees.

  32. 32
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    Newly-minted Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised the idea of turning to Predator drones to help secure the country’s border with Mexico during a stop in New Hampshire over the weekend, the Boston Globe reports.

    Didn’t realize you could tell if someone was legal or not from 2 miles up. The RFIDs on those new federal IDs must be pretty awesome, if so.

    Or does he intend to hail Hellfire missiles down upon anyone wandering the desert, or too close to the Rio Grande?

  33. 33
    pragmatism says:

    @Calming Influence: appel doesn’t fall far from the treee

  34. 34
    David Hunt says:

    @jl:

    jl,

    no, those areas are not the spots in Texas that have the heavy population. Unfortunately, the whole state is firmly Republican these days, so being the Republican on the ballot for Governor is a massive advantage. And Perry has never run for Governor except as an incumbent. He inherited the job from George W. Bush and then ran for re-election.

  35. 35
    kdaug says:

    @jl:

    Texas Panhandle (is that what they call it, that square thingy that sticks up on the north side of the state?)

    Name comes from the proximity of the region to OK, which is, in fact, shaped like a pan.

  36. 36
    efgoldman says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    Newly-minted Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised the idea of turning to Predator drones to help secure the country’s border with Mexico during a stop in New Hampshire over the weekend, the Boston Globe reports.

    Really. Can’t. Tell. Any. More.
    You going all Onion on our ass?
    Because its quite believable that Goodhair would say such a thing.

  37. 37
    Culture of Truth says:

    For $15 I expect 3-D glasses on arrival.

  38. 38
    Cain says:

    The thought is that everybody knows that the dirty hippies are cheap, and have no money and need whatever they have for lice treatments. Charging 15 bucks simply is to make sure that they don’t show up and ask silly questions that just takes time away from him scheming to take away your healthcare

  39. 39
    R. Porrofatto says:

    Every 24 people he’ll have enough to buy another $350 bottle of wine — just in case a lobbyist isn’t handy.

  40. 40
    rea says:

    What is Rick Perry’s pedigree with regards to being a moderate?

    ’88 State Chairman for Al Gore?

  41. 41
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @rea:

    ‘88 State Chairman for Al Gore?

    You’ve got to be joking. And this guy is the great White Hope for the Tea Party? Maybe Obama should wave around a gun and scream how how Jesus told him to repent of socialism by raising taxes if the hard right is this unbelievably dumb?

  42. 42
    Nutella says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    We already do use drones on the border per TNR and NYT.

    Perhaps Perry is not familiar with the border since Texas is so far from it?

  43. 43
    Exurban Mom says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Well, he does have a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge.

    Most of that song applies pretty nicely to our man Paul.

  44. 44
    Arclite says:

    @Zifnab:

    Do they even allow recording devices in those events anymore? I half expect the town halls to be ringed by metal detectors and swarming with thugs in suites.

    I’m sure they will try and prosecute you under wiretapping statutes, despite the fact that you’re exercising your 1st amendment rights.

  45. 45
    Splitting Image says:

    @kdaug:

    Name comes from the proximity of the region to OK, which is, in fact, shaped like a pan.

    Thankee. I always wondered about that. Never knew the reason.

  46. 46
    Superking says:

    The funny thing is that Ayn Rand used to do this back in the day when she first became popular. She would hold lectures or speeches or whatever, and then charge people $100 to ask a question. Honest truth, I swear it. You see, in her world, she believed everyone had to pay for every interaction with other human beings. Paulie boy is just doing as his idols did.

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