Images of Billy Long in Joplin: Boots on the ground, hands in the pocket. No disrespect intended, Congressman Long,
but you should have answered your constituent's question.
No disrespect intended Congressman Long, but don't you think you should have answered this constituent's question? Billy Long refuses to answer questions about Eric Cantor's warning on federal help for Joplin.
While I was standing and watching Diane Sawyer live on ABC News’ evening broadcast from Joplin, I got a call from my brother, who informed me of Cantor’s comments. I confess I haven’t been following closely the national news, focusing rather on what has been happening in Joplin related to the tornado. So, I didn’t hear that Cantor had actually said what he said.
Across the street from St. John’s Medical Center, where ABC News was set up, was the site of a just-concluded press conference by the FEMA folks and local politicians—including our U.S. Congressman, Billy Long—updating progress on the post-tornado efforts. Naturally, I moved across the street and tried to find Mr. Long to ask him about Cantor’s ridiculous comments.
I found him.
Immediately—I could see it in his eyes—he recognized me as, I suppose, his local tormentor. I shook his hand and ask “Mr. Long” about Cantor’s comments, about what he thought about them, about whether we could expect federal money.
And instead of answering me, instead of telling me what he thought, he ignored me. He turned and walked away. My congressman, the man elected to represent me, simply walked away without a peep. Without a single bleeping word. Without answering whether the victims of this disaster in Joplin could expect federal help or whether they—meaning, really, President Obama and the Democrats—would have to fight the goddamn Republican leadership for it.
Long’s “handler,’ or whoever the aide was trailing him, rudely told me they would “look into it.” Damn right they had better look into it.
I found Wally Kennedy, the Joplin Globe news reporter who I had seen interviewing Long as I was making my way across the street, and I asked him if he had asked Long about Cantor’s comments. Kennedy, obviously and understandably preoccupied with local events, hadn’t heard about them and therefore hadn’t ask Long about what Cantor said.
Thus, Long wasn’t challenged, as far as I know.
Fifteen or twenty minutes later I saw Billy Long on CNN being interviewed by John King. Nothing about Cantor’s comments that I saw. Nothing about whether Billy Long will fight for federal funds to help rebuild this devastated city. Nothing.
And that had better change.