Today? Not so much.
In our view: Avoiding AttentionMore:
Herrera Beutler shuns the same spotlight that helped her get elected to Congress
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Members of Congress often remind constituents that the August recess is no vacation but, in fact, is packed with events in which they listen to the people who elected them. This summer, though, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is listening only to the people she chooses. The Republican rookie representative from Camas has scheduled no town hall meetings during the recess, and every flimsy explanation for this dereliction of duty only worsens constituents’ frustration.
Herrera Beutler has given a few speeches this month, conducted highly controlled “telephone town halls” and held tightly scripted, invitation-only listening sessions with a few hand-picked groups who were on their best behavior. But she has abandoned the town hall meeting, which she had entered several times earlier with fairly good results. But by dodging the public now, Herrera Beutler opens herself to accusations that she is too fearful, too impassive or too lazy to appear on a public stage before the real people.
Ryan Hart, a Herrera Beutler spokesman, said in a Columbian story that she “has been trying something different this month, which is to hold community meetings at coffee shops around the district.” First, these aren’t community meetings; they’re interruptions of people’s private coffee time. Some of those people might not even want to talk to a politician. Second, chances are great that, at these impromptu sessions, Herrera Beutler will not encounter any of the people who most want to speak with her. Some of them are her critics. She should deal with it; it comes with the job.
Herrera Beutler’s retreat from the public spotlight is especially troubling because she used that spotlight to get elected. And she has held several town hall meetings since then, including Feb. 3 in Battle Ground and May 17 at Skyview High School in Vancouver. But a lot has happened since then.
Why abdicate the politically profitable public perch when people want to ask about the contentious debate over extending the debt ceiling? Why vacate the limelight when people want answers about simmering issues such as health care, job creation, Social Security, Libya, Afghanistan, presidential candidates and President Obama’s performance?
If it’s because of personal security concerns, then why did the congresswoman have several town hall meetings earlier? Is her new reclusion due to worries that rowdy critics will use a town hall meeting to immortalize their performances in YouTube videos? Whatever the reason, Herrera Beutler should know that real leaders prove their worth by tackling adversities and exerting control, not by retreating.
Herrera is everything I knew she would be, and less. A gutless, cowardly empty suit who's been screwing up by the numbers since she made it back to the DC party circuit she so loved while she was fetching Cathy McMorris's morning bagel.
This restatement of my last two posts on her may show a tempering of the slobbering love affair the democratian has seemed to have with the Camas Manikin.
In this instance, I long for the kind of representation an Allen West (R-FL22) brings to the table... leadership and integrity that Babs can't even fantasize about.