By Scott Tibbs, August 17, 2009
Baron Hill is at it again, showing great disrespect for his constituents and demonstrating his lack of tolerance for opposing viewpoints. In an interview with the Herald-Times, The Red Baron explained why he does not want to hold a traditional "town meeting" where anyone can show up and question him about legislation before Congress, especially the controversial health care "reform" proposed by President Barack Obama. Hill said:
|"What I don't want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions."|
Wow. Terrorism is almost universally understood to refer to bombings, arson, shootings, beatings and other types of violence designed to threaten and intimidate people into silence or to giving the thugs what they want. Whatever can be said about people who have been loudly protesting at town hall meetings around the country, it is not terrorism. That is a hysterical, drama queen definition unbecoming of a five-term member of Congress.
Hill should apologize to his constituents for this outrageous statement. He is actually claiming that people who show up at town hall meetings to protest are "terrorists" - not because they are trying to threaten, bully and intimidate people through violence to get their way, but because they are loud. This is shameful. Now, instead of facing his constituents, Baron Hill is hiding in closed meetings where he can have a "safe" audience. This leads to the obvious question that many have been asking since 2004: Where is Baron?
Of course, this isn't the first time that Baron Hill has shown intolerance for political opponents. Last August, I challenged him on supporting a candidate who defended infanticide and another caller challenged him on another issue, Hill whined that it was his "opponents" who were calling in. No, Baron, we are your constituents. We pay for your salary, your office supplies, your staff's salaries, and your health care plan and pension. You are accountable to us, not the other way around. This is a lesson I hope the voters of the Ninth District teach you in 2010.
That's not even the most outrageous example. Three years ago, I attempted to attend a speech Baron Hill was giving on the Indiana University campus as he was campaigning to regain the seat he lost two years before that. I was recognized by a volunteer for the event, who refused to let me into the meeting. (See my letter to the Hill campaign and follow-up editorial.) Three years later, I still wonder: what was Baron Hill trying to hide? Why did event organizers actively prevent me from listening to his speech? I can assure Mr. Hill that I'm really not that important.
Baron Hill's remark was hotheaded, but make no mistake that what he said was a political calculation intended to demonize his critics. He knows the word "terrorist" carries strong negative connotations and was simply playing gutter politics in smearing political opponents. If Hill is truly concerned about having a civil discussion, he could have easily set up protocol that would allow the removal of anyone who was overly disruptive. Why didn't he do that? The answer is obvious: Hill is looking for an excuse to hide from his constituents. It is long past time for Baron Hill to stop forcing his constituents to ask, "Where is Baron?"