Rep. Webster’s Winter Garden, Florida district office gave out a “Watch List” of six Floridians who had asked questions at Webster’s previous town halls. The list, with the header “For the Media,” included names, photographs, and questions that members of the media should ask them.
The Watch List itself doesn’t contain any information on who wrote it or where it comes from. The memos surfaced in Arkansas in connection to the office of Rep. Tim Griffin, and were traced back to Rep. Webster’s office.
With black and white photos that resemble police surveillance, some of them pulled from the individuals’ Facebook profiles, the memo is clearly meant to intimidate these six people and anyone else who might stand up and ask a question of their elected representative. At a Griffin town hall, staffers were handing out the Watch List to attendees, calling it their “homework.” Griffin staffers were also spotted taking photos and shooting video of attendees, creating an extra layer of intimidation.So let me get this straight: people are asking Congresspeople to explain their policies and they are being photographed and intimidated for their troubles? This is beyond disturbing.
This comes hot on the heels of the news that Paul Ryan, along with other Republican members of Congress, are holding town hall meetings during their recess that charge $15 to enter. Think less town hall and more Kenny Loggins concert (cuz that's the most I'd pay for a Kenny Loggins concert, and it better be front row). I mean, $15? What, do they let you throw fruit at him?
Kenny Loggins is better than Paul Ryan. Kenny Loggins can READ YOUR MIND.
Ryan's spokesperson claims it was the venue's decision to charge for access to the Representative, but keep this in mind: Ryan and Friends are under heavy fire right now for their part in the debt ceiling crisis and the resultant S&P credit downgrade. The people who care most about the economy right now? Poor people. People with no jobs. That $15? That would buy people like this several days' worth of food at a discount grocery store.
Do you really think those poor people, the ones with the most to lose, can now go and address their problems with Ryan?
These recent tactics on the part of the GOP to avoid tough questions from their constituents are disturbing, not least because we have a representative government. Once those representatives refuse to even learn their constituents' concerns (you know, in order to represent them?) that government is in a rapid spiral of failure.