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?