Salient aspects & facts:
Was this a public event? Yes and no...
- No; The event wasn't a Town Hall meeting proper; NCTPP presented it as "a Nevada County Tea Party Patriot evening meeting"; "your chance to see two important speakers... Tea Party Co-founder Mark Meckler and Congressman Tom McClintock....discussing budgets, deficits, and taxes, and [they] plan to take questions from the audience. ..."
- Yes; McClintock isn't holding any [other?] town hall meetings in Nevada County during this recess - it's as if he saw himself as only the TPPs' Representative. So if you wanted to talk to him, this event was it;
- Yes; Mark Meckler is a national figure, who rarely speaks here publicly, so (AFAIK) if you wanted to talk to him this spring, this was it;
- No(ish); The audience (~200) was about a third newcomers, but from the crowd noise - and the Qs - it sounded like the rest were solidly Tea Party (though the questioners' TPP-only bent could have been engineered, e.g. I had my hand up but wasn't chosen);
- Yes; The meeting notice did not specify, as some have done, that it was only for "like-minded" attendees.
- No; it seems I'm the only person who's written about it.
Was it clear, & acceptable, that the event was being blogged? Yes and no...
- No; I didn't identify myself as a blogger;
- Yes; I was sitting right next to Mark Meckler's dad Stan who knows me & knows I blog, and my recording of the event was obvious ( I was sitting right up at the front on the side, taking photos & copious notes, and recording M&M's talks and Q&A, none of it surreptitious (Aside: abashed apologies to M&M for the time when I forgot to turn the flash off, before taking a photo, and blasted them);)
- Yes; aside from Mark Meckler's "please keep this under your hats" request re his media anecdotes (below), there was no "hey, this is private" pushback.
- No; the pre-specified topic was economics/budget issues;
- Yes; it was my only chance to get answers from my representative McClintock, and to approach & engage Meckler.
And finally, here's a list of items/aspects that may be blogworthy, if legitimate:
- Afterward I spoke one-on-one with McClintock about climate change (I have blogged about it);
- Afterward I spoke one-on-one with Mark Meckler about climate change (blogged here), including telling him I needed to go grab/use my voice recorder;
- During his talk, Meckler - who is extremely articulate & charismatic - told a couple of anecdotes about having left a positive impression with initially-anti-TPP folks in "the leftist media" once they'd talked with him; in one case implying that the individual in question might be unwilling to admit it. And he requested the audience keep the story(ies?) private (at which point, sitting next to Stan, I muttered a denial).
- An audience member and local TPP honcho asked a question that struck me as implausible & likely crafted by a PR strategist.
Sooooo....I will check with the pros (and in retrospect it's obvious that even we mousefolk would do better to don a large Press pass, even if self-made, and identify ourselves & our purpose to event organizers at the outset, even if we expect the organizer knows full well); but I'm curious how others would weigh in on this.