Ohio Republican Congressman Steve Chabot had police seize a citizen’s camera after he tried to record one of Rep. Chabot’s answers at a tax payer financed town hall meeting.
Here is the video from Progress Ohio:
Congressman Chabot took his citizen camera ban to another level by having on duty Cincinnati police officers enforce this policy. At the end of the meeting, the police confiscated two video cameras. As you can see from the video above the police told citizens that the no filming policy was to protect the constituents, which makes absolutely zero sense.
Maybe Chabot doesn’t want his constituents to know that he voted to kill Medicare? More likely, he doesn’t want any visual evidence to exist that confirms that his constituents are outraged at him for this vote. Perhaps Chabot is trying to keep the good people in his district in the dark about his vote against raising the debt ceiling in May? At the time Rep. Chabot proudly put a press release on his website crowing about his vote, but now he doesn’t want to the world to see his constituents hold him accountable for the S&P downgrade.
It is outrageous that in Rep. Chabot’s mind a citizen does not have the right to film a public event on public property that he and other taxpayers are funding. Rep. Chabot and the other House Republicans who are finding creative ways to mute or exclude their constituents are afraid to engage in democracy. These events aren’t town halls. They are monologues, and Rep. Chabot is abusing his position to keep them that way.
Remember when Republicans reveled in the Astroturf disruptions of Democratic town halls during the healthcare debate? Fast forward to 2011, and these same Republicans are now too afraid to do their democratic duty and face their constituents in an open and public forum.
Just like the rest of the House Republicans, Chabot can run, but he can’t hide. After being defeated in 2008, Chabot won back his seat in 2010. The old/new incumbent was returned to the House by a 7 point margin. His current censorship is likely being motivated by fears that another wave election could bounce him out of office again in 2012.
Rep. Chabot, his staff, and security people need to understand that the voters in his district don’t need YouTube videos. His record is more than enough to get him voted out of office. Like Eric Cantor and John Boehner, Chabot can run but he can’t hide.
His political judgment day will come at the ballot box in November 2012.