Sunday, May 01, 2011

Don't expect traditional town hall meetings from Billy Long; telephone meetings are the way to go

Anyone waiting for an opportunity to ask Seventh District Congressman Billy Long about the issues that affect southwest Missouri and the nation might as well forget it.

Long's aides are letting it be known that the Congressman feels he reached more people through his recent telephone town hall meeting than he could reach through in-person meetings.

Left unmentioned is the obvious: With the telephone meeting, Long may have reached thousands of people, but all they had a chance to do is listen to Long reel off folksy one-liners and take questions from carefully pre-screened listeners. I might add that in the one hour town hall meeting, Long only fielded five questions, with one of those being specifically about one man's problems with the Veterans Administration.

I described the electronic town hall meeting this way in an earlier post:

It was a glorious opportunity for constituents who might never have a chance to talk to the Congressman. Unfortunately, only about five people were squeezed in to the 60 minute meeting.

Don't blame those people for taking up 12 minutes apiece of Billy Long's valuable time. That is not the way it worked. Long did not take his first call until approximately 13 minutes had passed and spent about the last 10 minutes offering a glimpse of his radio talk show days as offered a mix of home-spun one-liners and assertions that he was still fed up.

A portion of the remainder of the time was spent offering two polls of the telephone listeners, with the second one revealing the mind-numbing information that 68 percent of those "attending" the town hall meeting did not believe in First Amendment protection for those who burn the Bible or the Koran.

The questions Long took were typically bland and offered more of an opportunity for the questioners to offer their opinions on softball issues while Long agreed with them. For each question, Long was able to dig into his treasure trove of long (pun intended) countrified stories, a couple of which even pertained to the subject.

I was one of those who punched star-three to ask the Congressman a question. I did not anticipate getting through, but was still surprised when Long cut off the questions with more than 10 minutes left in the hour.

Since the most recent recess began, Long has made a point of saying what he has been told by the people of southwest Missouri. Since he only talked to five people during the electronic town hall meeting and has held no face-to-face meetings, who are these people and what have they told the Congressman?

Without the dealings with the public that are expected of all elected officials, how are we going to believe anything except that the only ones who have the ear of Congressman Billy Long are the ones who can provide sizable contributions to his campaign account?


Busplunge said...

Good post. Recently I asked to be included in a press briefing of Long's held here on SGF. Long personally denied me access in spite of my being a member of the Missouri Press Association. Long's aides said the event was for media only. Apparently if you are citizen journalist writing for new media and you write stories critical of Long.... These teletownhalls show us Billy IS afraid not only of citizen journalists but of his constituents.
Jim Lee

Anonymous said...

The crafty politician Roy Blunt could seemingly get away with the phony telephone town hall gigs in the past. But I seriously wonder if Billy can ultimately get away with thumbing his nose at his constituents in this manner.

Out of all the Republican Primary candidates who wanted Billy's job, plus wannabes who see a chance in the next election, this political move could come back to haunt him.


Anonymous said...

Rumor has it Roy Blunt doesn't care much for Billy Long and probably won't be giving him brotherly advice on how to avoid voters.

Anonymous said...

He may have done the smart thing for himself given the reception the Republicans have been getting nationwide in their town hall meetings. AND this whole birth certificate thing blowing up in their faces has let them all looking stupid. The hot tea has sloshed over all of them.

'bout time.

Wouldn't you like to be a Birther too? said...

From what I hear, the birth certificate is fraudulent as well.

So don't even bother to congradulate yourselfs about dodging that bullet because polarization is the present and is going to be the future, The can isn't going to be kicked down the road forever. There will be spending cuts and neither Obongo-care or Medicare left while there is gridlock.

Billy Long is a buffoon with a mission. He's on time and on target and not your buffoon, so get over it and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

@1:22...the new "after birther" movement has found it's way to the ozarks. Could you please explain the next Obama conspiracy theory that the long form also was forged?

Anonymous said...

@12:06 Billy Long represents one of the most Republican areas in the country. You might be right if the demographics was split 50/50 but it's not even close. This makes Congressman Long a coward. The one thing he fears the most is a challenge from his own party, which is why its better for Billy to run under the radar than give other Republicans ammo to dethrone him.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, Billy, or his aides, are surely smart enough not to appear in person before his constituents.

Anonymous said...

Randy, I forgot to ask-how are Billy's aides "letting it be known'?


Anonymous said...

Let's see. Randy liked to kick Roy Blunt in the teeth (even when he was being treated for cancer)when he was our congressman. Randy thought sure he was going to kick him out of office, but lo and behold! Roy just moved up the ladder (shows how much support he had state-wide) now Randy is going to kick Billy Long in the teeth and he probably still believes he can run him out of careful might be surprised again. The more you criticize, the better Billy Long lots...anyone you pick on can't be all bad

Anonymous said...


It is obvious then that you have not listened to Blunt or Long or observed their behaviors. These men are not in it for the people, only for themselves.

Anonymous said...

"The more you criticize, the better Billy Long lots..."

Billy himself, and his fans are clearly demonstrating they need no help in running Billy out of office.