Idiot Ohio Congressman Bans, Confiscates Devices at Townhall

-By Warner Todd Huston

I go after the left all the time for opposing free speech and for doing its best to shut down citizens, especially at townhall events. Well here is an example of a Republican doing the same thing. His actions are those I’d instantly condemn were it a left-wing Democrat (but I repeat myself) perpetrating it. And so, I similarly condemn Rep. Steve Chabot (R, OH 1st District) for acting the jackbooted authoritarian at his recent townhall.

In fact, it’s such an outrage that I am going to reference a report on the matter and, shock of shocks, agree with their basic point! Chabot was wrong to do this.

Fearing pushback on issues like ending Medicare and corporate tax dodging, Chabot took an extraordinary step in order to prevent a possible “Youtube moment”: he banned constituents from filming the town hall. Outside the town hall were multiple signs reading, “For Security Purposes, Cameras Are NOT Permitted.” In fact, on at least two separate occasions, middle-aged constituents who tried to record the public event had their cameras confiscated and were asked to leave.

Even worse, it was members of the Cincinnati Police that Chabot impressed to do the confiscating. Shades of jackboots, eh?

Chabot had “reasons,” though.

The congressman offered the weak reason that he’s trying to “protect the privacy” of the constituents that attend his townhall. This is absurd. People that attend public events have no expectation of “privacy” while in attendance as far as anyone is concerned. And he’s done this before, too. This isn’t the first time he’s banned recording devices at his events.

Absurdly, Chabot allowed the media to film the very same events at which he banned citizens from taking video so his claim that he’s trying to protect everyone’s privacy by preventing filming is laughable.

But I do have a small bit of sympathy to Chabot’s desire to quash video being taken at his events. At least, I understand why he wants to do it.

Listen, I get it that the so-called “voters” that ThinkProgress was touting in its report about Chabot’s townhall are not legitimate, average, everyday voters. Each and every one of them were bussed in and paid to be there, paid by unions meaning to turn the townhall into a donnybrook. The proof of that is the uniforms they were wearing, each sporting the same union bought T-Shirts with union slogans imprinted upon them.

These people are astrofturf, not real citizens individually motivated to attend the townhall out of their concern for their district. In fact, I’d guess that most of these unionistas that are attending Chabot’s townhalls don’t even live in the district.

This is a nation-wide union paid for campaign that I’ve already written about. Union operatives are creating a fake air of unrest by bussing in “voters” to Chabot’s townhalls. They are trying the same faux Tea Party-like atmosphere at Republican meetings across the country. It is fake. It is astroturf. It is union lies.

So, I get that Chabot is trying to throw a monkey wrench into these union thugs’ plans. But I’m sorry, Rep. Chabot, I cannot agree with your actions. If you don’t want a “Youtube moment,” then don’t scream back at the union thugs that accost you at your townhall! In fact, a deft politician would be able to turn the union thugs’ actions against them.

I mean, seriously! Since when was it a crime to take pictures or video of a congressman at a public event? And using force to confiscate people’s private property? It’s all beyond the pale.

Chabot should be ashamed of himself. This is no way for a representative of the people to act.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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