Monday, June 25, 2007


I don't know why, but my house got robo-dialed by Steve Chabot's conference-call / virtual-townhall meeting tonight. It's not what I first think of when I think of e-democracy, but hey, it's something.

Actually, it was kind of cool. Around 7:30 or so when we were finishing up dinner, the call came in and told us we were being connected to Rep. Chabot's conference call. After hearing about how to get in the queue to ask a question, we heard Steve Chabot introduce himself and the town hall meeting. He was in his office in Washington and was holding the meeting with his constituents here on the west side of Cincinnati.

I guess it was like many town hall meetings. My biggest complaint would be regarding the screening of the callers who had a chance to ask questions. They mostly fell into two categories: 1) Vague softball questions for which Chabot had canned answers, and 2) Rambling non-questions. There were a few exceptions, notably the guy who asked the final question (about Iraq) which was fairly articulate and not easy to answer.

About halfway through the meeting the system said something along the lines of "You have been entered into the queue to ask a question." even though I never touched any buttons. At that point I was a little bit worried that they might actually ask me for a question so I starting surfing on I couldn't really come up with any good questions that seemed relevant to Chabot in particular, but luckily the queue never reached me. It wrapped up sometime around 8:30 or 8:45 I think. Everyone left in the question queue was transferred directly to his voicemail.

Despite the fact that Steve said a few things like "As far as illegal immigration, I'm against it." (Wow, really? Are you against any other illegal activites?) overall it was a neat experience. I respect Chabot for actually reaching out and talking to people. And I got to find out some things about him that I didn't know before.

Has anyone out there heard of these before? Was anyone out there listening along with me? Speculation as to why Chabot might have decided to have do one of these? Does he do these all the time?