By Scott Tibbs, September 8, 2009
Last week, Congressman Baron Hill held a town hall meeting in Bloomington High School North. After he proclaimed form his podium that a college student would not be permitted to videotape the meeting for a school project, Hill explained his reasoning:
|"This is my town hall meeting for you. And you're not going to tell me how to run my Congressional office. Now the reason why I don't allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position."|
Of course, Hillís remark wound up on YouTube in a compromising position anyway, when Hill's pronouncement was was posted on the site by the National Republican Campaign Committee. The entire town hall meeting was recorded and posted in full by the Bloomington Herald-Times.
I'm stunned, but not a bit surprised by Hill's arrogance. Hill was talking town to the people who pay for his salary, his pension, his support staff and his office. Hill has forgotten that he was elected to represent the people of his district, not lord his authority over us. The Congressman needs to remember that Baron is his name, not his title. To make matters worse, Hill admits a nakedly political motivation to hide his words from the public, and is willing to stifle academic freedom and freedom of speech to do so. What harm is there in a college student filming the meeting for her project? What is Baron Hill trying to hide? Where is Baron?
This statement comes less than a month after speaking of his need to "control" town hall meetings, calling his constituents "political terrorists" who want to "blow up" a meeting. Such inflammatory and uncivil rhetoric is unbecoming of a Congressman and Baron Hill should be ashamed of himself. It was almost exactly three years ago that I attempted to attend a speech by Baron Hill on the Indiana University campus and was forbidden to enter the room by an event organizer. Given Hill's paranoia about political opponents, I would not be a bit surprised if Hill's campaign specifically directed that I be excluded from the meeting. What is amusing is that I am really not that important.
Baron Hill narrowly retained his seat in 2002, was thrown out of office in 2004 and narrowly regained his seat in 2006. Hill may have won with a significant margin in 2008, but his district is fairly evenly divided and there is already a strong backlash against some of President Barack Obama's proposals. Baron Hill's arrogance could (and hopefully will) cause him to get fired again 14 months from now, especially since mid-term elections tend to be bad for the party in power. If the eventual Republican nominee is smart, he will go out of his way to make sure this video is seen by as many people as possible and will feature the clip in his campaign commercials. Voters should be asking: Where is Baron?