The Czar enjoyed a leisurely morning at the barber shop, getting his locks shorn and the dead lice combed out. That should last him another year or two. On the television, the WGOR morning news show was offering up a video montage of the last 24 hours of town hall meetings, in which congressperson after congressperson was basically standing there, deer-like, while outraged voters lambasted them over healthcare. Arlen Specter of Cadaver, Pennsylvania, seemed to get it the worst, as a 30-something woman basically called him and his peers traitors to the Constitution. He might just have been embalmed, but he looked pretty useless up there.
This looks bad. It almost seems…European to openly vituperate politicians. So the Czar has put together a simple three-part survival kit for any congressperson going to a townhall meeting, based on what we have seen from these video clips.
1. Read the damn bill. The whole point of these townhall meetings is to help sell the American people on healthcare reform and gauge local sentiment. So when they ask you critically fundamental questions like How will we prevent rationing, Will my medicare be cut, or How do we ensure costs go down, answering that you do not know, you are not sure, or you are not familiar with those provisions, you look like a freaking idiot. The more you stand there like a lithium-loaded scarecrow, the more people will realize you are nothing more than a new hire spending his first hours of pre-orientation behind the complaints counter at an electronics store. They are going to let you have it. And when someone finally throws a wheel, the frustrated crowd will applaud. Know what happens when an angry crowd sees reward for venting or ranting? They join in.
2. Recognize this for what it is. No, congressman or congresswoman, the anger and protests you see are not the results of a Nazi conspiracy, nor a bizarre viral marketing effort by a major insurance entity, and despite your taxation hopes, no: there really are not hundreds of thousands of rich, well-dressed people showing up to make fun of you. What there are, are hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who have solved the following math equation: (incredibly unpopular congress) + (dangerously ill-advised legislation) + (opportunity to tell you off) = (ridiculous levels of outrage aimed at you). Since mathematics has never been a strong point of politics, the Czar will explain in simple words you can read without two days and two lawyers: the American people really hate the current Congress, they really fear this proposed reform, and you are giving them an open microphone so they can spell out what a bunch of arrogant bastards you have been for the last few years. Odd as it may seem, this does not require an organized, concerted effort. All it requires is what you are giving them: a mic, and opportunity, and coverage.
3. Either dont do it, or do it honestly. If you would prefer not to have your backside handed to you, simply cancel the meetings. Youll catch heat for it, but you were anyway. On the other hand, if you decide to go through with this, read steps one and two again. Dont bother to rig these things to make yourself look like a smaller jackass: that always proves the opposite. So drop these proposals of pre-screening questions, literally phoning it in, or having closed-door presentations, or refusing to talk healthcare. These four ideas, floated by some of your colleagues, are the type of weaseling that convinces voters that they mean nothing to you, that you cannot face the facts, and that you are functionally incompetent. These tricks do not work, and will be used against you.
The bottomline is that the Presidents recent initiatives, from cap and trade to foreign policy to healthcare reform…and even these townhall meetings, are basically going to cost you re-election. There are a couple ways out. The Republican congressfolks are not suffering the same fate, and the Blue Dogs seem to be calming the crowds pretty well. You could switch parties, but that means moving your crap to another office on the other side of the building, or you could throw your hands up and say Youre right: we need to stop this. If you use your head, you might, maybe, wind up walking out with it.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.