Paul Kanjorski must be sitting back chuckling these days and with good reason.
The former U.S. Representative from the 11th Congressional District was the butt of many a joke and much criticism for refusing to hold town hall meetings because he didn’t want some “nuts to hit (him) with a camera” and then find himself starring in another YouTube video. Who can’t recall the hilarious “Wizard of Wall Street?”
One of Kanjo’s biggest critics, aside from us, of course, was Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who, on his third try, defeated him.
Guess who has seen the light? Congressman Lou Barletta. Where Kanjorski was afraid of the nuts, Barletta is afraid of MoveOn.org, and we understand that. That George Soros, a sponsor of the left-wing political group, is one scary dude.
“In the four town hall meetings I held, each one became a victim of targeted disruption by MoveOn.org,” the freshman Republican congressman said in his defense.
But isn’t that what Kanjorski’s flack, Ed Mitchell, said back then? Defending his boss’ distaste for town hall meetings, Mitchell said that “a small number of extreme political opponents turn out “to disrupt (them) solely for the pupose of scoring political points.”
Gobbledygook, said Barletta, who, during the campaign, had a field day criticizing and ridiculing Kanjorski for refusing to meet face to face with those who elected him, saying that was part of a congressman’s job.
To be fair, though, at the time, Barletta couldn’t imagine that one day Soros would be stalking him. And he’s an even bigger nut than any YouTube videographer waiting in the wings to film Kanjo.
Barletta told The Times Leader, ”The behavior of these protesters has put myself, my staff and innocent people in attendance at risk.”
That didn’t seem to bother him, though, when poor Kanjo ran the risk of some loon hitting him with a camera, now did it? And Kanjorski kept insisting that he was holding town hall meetings – on the phone.
So now Congressmen Barletta gets it. He said that although he reluctantly suspended his town hall meetings, he meets with his constituents at roundtable discussions and in the supermarket. In fact, he said, he has a hard time getting out of the grocery store because he talks to anyone who approaches him.
So both Kanjorski and Barletta have re-defined constituent get-togethers.
On the phone. At Price Chopper. A town hall by any other name?
- Betty Roccograndi