Saturday, August 08, 2009

Po' White Trash

Ok, so the Po' White Trash is acting up in Town Hall meetings, forcing U.S. Representatives to curtail needed face time with constituents — occasionally requiring police escorts to leave the bear pit unscathed.

Town Hall meetings? What genius thought that up? The concept is fatuous on its face, much style with little substance. You can get better results with direct mail or television ads, but of course ginning up some kind of Local Gathering to get free publicity out of small town journalism is great, too.

Last century, journalists like H. L. Mencken, Ambrose Bierce and Mark Twain (less viciously, maybe, but certainly funnier) made livings from castigating The Great Unwashed. Twain's is the skew I prefer, actually. Common folks tend to exhibit uncommon wisdom when they're not behaving like lynch mobs, so there are a few better angels out there to wrestle with.

Of course, the insurance and pharmaceutical fat cats who are fomenting the extra-extra dissention have completely missed one of the great lessons of legislative cohesion — the fact that backlash from people who have the power to make laws tends to sting quite a bit when the leather flicks your wobbly backside.

I remember one telemarketing lobbyist who angrily lectured a Congresswoman on NPR (as I remember it) about "freedom of speech" and the sacrosanct right of telemarketers to call anybody anytime, and screw you. She was slightly nonplussed, but polite. Within four hours, Congress had outlawed the fool's entire industry with a bit of legislation called the National Do Not Call List. There was no fanfare. The axe simply fell.



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