This summer, many congressmen held town-hall meetings about health care and other hot political topics.
Sometimes they were not entirely statesmanlike. Clips of their more embarrassing moments now reside on YouTube. For instance, you can watch Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee chat on a cellphone while a constituent is asking her a question — taking rudeness to congressional levels.
Congressman Baron Hill was determined to avoid this sort of thing. He wasn’t going to be on YouTube in any “compromising position,” not him. So he actually tried to ban any videotaping of his event. I kid you not. The evidence is on, uh, YouTube:
Constituent: “—why can’t I film this? Isn’t this my right?”
Hill: “Well, this is my town-hall meeting, and I set the rules, and I’ve had these rules—
“Let me repeat that one more time! This is my town-hall meeting for you. And you’re not going to tell me how to run my congressional office! Now, the reasons why I don’t allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.”
Oh, those pesky constituents!
Anyway, sir, too late. The technology is out there. The genie won’t go back in the bottle. Every audience you ever face will include folks who can record your words. With that in mind, you might want to, uh, watch your words from here on out.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.