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A Town Hall Meeting, Republican Style

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Then I said, "I'd like a word or two on energy policy." The eyebrows knit into an expression indicating either interest or concern. "Your support for sixteen new nuclear reactors could be no more than a temporary solution for our problems, after all, we still don't know what to do with the waste." A corner of his mouth started to bend into a nervous grin as his eyes darted this way then that, looking for a potential rescue. "Energy production should be more diffuse rather than more concentrated. Every new home, small office building or light industrial facility should be designed with its own generating capacity." He took a half step backward, actually turning his head in the search for a rescue. "They would still hook up to the grid, of course, but with so much load off the grid, it would be relatively immune to terrorist or cyberwar attack, and you would never again see a blackout affecting half the country." He took another half step back with an increasingly desperate look on his face.

"What's needed from government are tax subsidies for the manufacture and sales of the equipment and retail rate laws to address the movement of generating capacity between the grid and the individual generating entities." The eyebrows rose further indicating what may have been terror at the prospect of biting the hand that feeds him. " Won't you think it over and discuss it with your colleagues?" A silent nod and a dismissive turn on his heel gave me all the answer that was necessary.

So, that's the sort of Republican pep rally that we have here in Illinois. It is much more staid than the TEA Party variety that we have recently suffered, but clearly not for a lack of TEA Partiers in attendance. I'm sure that their relative civility was inspired by a perception that the pols in attendance were on their side. Indeed, the pols did everything but distribute hugs and kisses to promote that perception. The possible exception was Renee Kosel who, being a former teacher, had built her reputation on support for education. These days, that posture seems strikingly out of step with her party, but it seems that she's stuck with it to a point.

I did overhear one woman complaining about the "communists" in Madison, WI, which prompted me to observe that, "They are Americans too, aren't they?" Her response was, "Oh, so you're a communist too," presented as a statement rather than a question, and decidedly counter to the spirit of Adam Kinzinger's admonishments. An entire array of appropriate ripostes sprung to mind, but I was able to restrain myself from indulging such childish and futile word play, and contented myself with a barely audible, "Imbecile," as I turned away.

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I am a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs, with a several year hiatus to serve in the Navy when my Vietnam era draft notice turned up. I had been told that guys with last names like mine were among the preferred cannon fodder in the Army, so (more...)

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between an imperitive for civility and the desire ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Feb 21, 2011 at 4:08:19 PM