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Melancon delivers wrong message to wrong audience

Maybe you can understand why Rep. Charlie Melancon sounded like an idiot in front of school kids, but it defies explanation as to why he picked this particular forum to show off this idiocy.

I’ve had members of Congress speak in front of my college classes, but there’s a world of difference between those students and the junior-high-age children Melancon graced with his remarks recently. For one, college students in a political science class actually can understand the issues of the day and appreciate what members like Melancon does; next to none five or more years younger can. But even more crucially, they actually can do something with the information they have – they’re eligible to vote.

All right, well maybe Melancon made the appearance because it was a favor to some friends. That’s nice, but if you are going to have a nice little chat with some school children who aren’t really going to understand the policy implications of what you’re talking about, then you should keep it at an informative, trivial, whimsical level which will entertain them, teach them a little civics, and maybe give them a favorable personal (not political) impression of him which they could pass along to their parents to Melancon’s political advantage.

Instead, Melancon launched into partisan political attacks which did nothing to increase those students understanding of what it was like to be a Congressman or what Congress does. So what does he think is going to happen, little Johnny is going to run home and breathlessly tell his parents, when they ask what he learned in school today, “Democrats good, Republicans bad?”

But if that’s what he hopes comes of this, he better hope it stops right there and that the children don’t actually try to paraphrase his substance of his partisan attacks which would cause any parents who could think for themselves to wonder how this guy ever got in the office in the first place. It’s hard to conclude otherwise when Melancon actually said that, in terms of taxation and government services, “The problem we have with getting your money back is the party in the majority . . . has a policy of dismantling government.”

The sheer arrogance and contempt that Melancon has for the ordinary citizen with that statement leaps right out. He believes that the people don’t have the right to keep what they earn, but that it should go to growing government. Incredibly, Melancon implied to the class that their parents are a bunch of buffoons that do not deserve to keep their own resources, and that the “superior” elites such as himself through government expansion would do a better job of making decisions about their parents’ lives than their parents can.

Even more amazingly, Melancon has got it all backwards. The problem we have with getting the people’s money back is Melancon’s own Democrats, the minority party (the minority in large part because they are the problem) which believes government does a better job of running people’s lives than they can themselves, and thus Democrats support taking much more of the people’s money than is necessary. Melancon solidly backs that position: according to two leading interest groups that rate members of Congress on their willingness to tax the people, with 0 being too willing to abscond with the people’s earnings and 100 being very protective of the people’s resources, on the National Taxpayer Union scorecard Melancon got a 29, and on the Americans for Tax Reform scorecard he received an even worse 17.

So in this episode, we learn that Melancon not only has the wrong philosophy for Louisianans, he also can’t even pick the right audience to which to express it.

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