At two this afternoon--as had been announced in the Eden Prairie News--Rep. Erik Paulsen held an event he called Congress On Your Corner.
Rep. Paulsen has a McCarthyite political style--as I regularly note here--and often milks the Gabrielle Giffords tragedy for political gain. Naming the event Congress On Your Corner might strike some as vulgar; one senses Paulsen wouldn't understand this interpretation, if you explained it to him.
The event was held within Eden Prairie's Cub Foods. Outside the building I saw the sheriff's patrol car, indicating something unusual. I walked through most of the store, picked up a dozen eggs, paid for them--and then near the exit could see a few more cops--and then found 'the event': Some staffers, Rep. Paulsen seated behind a desk meeting with a constituent--and fewer than a dozen people waiting their turn for a one-on-one with the congressman.
I mingled among the people waiting in line and spoke with a woman who'd just had her brief visit with Paulsen. At least half of the people there were ultralib activists. The woman who'd spoken with Paulsen expressed generalized dissatisfaction, though she was herself a liberal activist and didn't appear to have come with any especially penetrating line of inquiry.
I didn't have time to stick around--and didn't exchange so much as a hello with the incumbent.
I intensely disliked the style of this event: When we grill our congressional representative, we should be allowed to do so as a group. The event radiates Paulsen's killjoy, boringer than thou vibe. A rather ideological, right-wing congressman who represents a conservative-seeming district, heading into campaign season--and he can't attract more than a dozen citizens to an event in his home town?
The Paulsen charisma void will never be improved upon.