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Last week, Senator McCaskill held one of her Kitchen Table Talks at St. Charles Community College. This week, Representatives Todd Akin and Blaine Leutkemeyer held a town hall on the same campus. The different formats told a tale. Although the senator’s crowd was, understandably, larger (it filled a gym), Claire let it all hang out. She drew questions from a fish bowl and answered them rapid fire. The two Republican representatives are wound a lot tighter, so the event was choreographed. I was discouraged from, though not forbidden to tape. The moderator chose the questions, and they–can you imagine the coincidence of it?–exactly fitted the topics the two men had announced in advance that they wanted to talk about.

The invitation had been to small businessmen, so the audience of nearly 200 consisted mostly of businessmen and juco students. We were treated, before the Q & A, to an impassioned rant from a Union, MO, electrical contractor–a Fox News junkie, who believes that Citigroup and GM should be allowed to fail. I was flashing back to the Tea Party at Kiener Plaza the night before. The man has no sense of history. If the banking system and one of our largest employers (plus all of its suppliers) were to simultaneously nosedive, it would be 1931 again. And his electrical contracting business might well go under in the depression that would result.

But after the gentleman was escorted from the room, the Republicans said whatever they pleased without contradiction.

  • We won the Iraq war (?!) in spite of the fact that no one knew how hard it would be to control all those “Arab factions”. I knew before we went in there. Did you? We must be among the damned liberal ivory tower academics that W didn’t trust.
  • Akin gave a lengthy treatise on the reason that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae caused this country’s financial meltdown. As if.

The Q & A focused on convincing small businessmen that Obama’s policies will ruin them. Cap and trade, according to Akin, is “cap and tax.” It will raise energy costs 40-65 percent in Missouri, he said, and cost each family $3100 extra dollars a year. And all of this wasted money to “solve a problem that sound science says may not even be a problem.” He averred that it is not clear that rising CO2 levels are causing warming. That’s why scientists have been forced to abandon the term “global warming” in favor of “climate change.”

Instead of talking about constructive ways to deal with energy issues, Akin scared the bejeebers out of the businessmen and hapless students in the audience by saying that if we don’t let coal-fired power plants  continue to be built in the U.S.,  American coal will be shipped to China where they are building 250 coal power plants this year alone.  (Never mind the fact that China has most of the world’s coal.)

Oh, and he took time to empathize with beleaguered businessmen who are buried under environmental restrictions and regs. But, sigh, he thought there was little hope of any easing in that problem with Democrats in charge.

I’m embarrassed for Akin and for the Missourians who’ve kept him in office. He ignores energy and environmental issues by using the same sandpile where George Bush used to bury his head. If we don’t wean ourselves off coal and start reducing CO2 levels, the cost of energy will be a moot point, sir. Your grandchildren won’t have to pay for any of the money Democrats are spending now; the climate will kill them. Excuse me while I try to save your grandchildren’s lives.

The two representatives also tackled the pressing problem of immigration. (I haven’t quoted Leutkemeyer yet because he echoes Akin so much that Susan Cunningham suggests we save a congressional salary by naming one of them Akemeyer and sending him to D.C. with the authority to vote twice on everything.) The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that Missouri has 35,000 to 65,000 illegal immigrants out of the 5.75 million residents. Say the Pew Hispanic Center is wrong and the figure is twice that. So? I don’t say we shouldn’t insist that employers e-verify new hires, but this issue is a dead horse. Put down the whip.

As for health care problems, those can basically be solved, says Akin, if we have “portability,” the right to take our health insurance with us when we change jobs. See how easy that was?

As Susan observed, “this is what passes for public discourse in the Land of Oz. Heaven help us.”