For someone like Congressman John Kline, Tele-Town Meetings are an easy way to totally control input and ‘fine tune’ (can you say manipulate?) the results without anyone being the wiser. In the past John Kline has shuns open forums having held only one in the last several years. Even then, it took several weeks of prodding and a petition of over 400 local constituents to get Kline to agree to a face-to-face public forum! I
nstead now John Kline prefers to rely on a tele-marketing system instead of the time honored face-to-face way of interacting with voters. This isn't too surprising given that Kline is the King of using systems to his advantage. Before Tele-town robo meetings, John Kline used $200,000 in ‘franking privileges’ in just his first term alone! In other words tax payers get to pay for the glossy fliers he sends out. I’m aware of two such mailings in the last two months.
It’s also unclear if Kline will be able to use his tax-funded tele-town robo meetings within 90 days of the election. But one thing is very clear, if it circumvents actual face-to-face interaction where Kline can’t totally control the results, expect Kline to be AOL. As Coleen Rowley and Peter Smith ask on their posting at Huffington Post on this issue:
"Until such time as the rules, regulations and ethics of Tele Town Hall Meetings are made clear we would all do well to ask ourselves whether we want to vote for someone who is reducing our already-compromised political discourse to a telephone marketing tactic better suited to selling time share condos or vinyl home siding."