(CNN)Rod Blum held a master class Monday on how not to handle yourself during a Congressional recess.
This congressman had a worse Monday than you
It all started with an interview with a local TV station. Blum, an Iowa Republican, was surrounded by kids at a youth center when KCRG-TV9's Josh Scheinblum started asking questions -- beginning with one about why Blum was limiting attendees of his town hall Monday night to residents of his 1st district. Things rapidly went downhill.
Blum's hair trigger is totally baffling here. Scheinblum isn't even being confrontational! He's simply (lightly) pressing Blum on not allowing certain Iowa residents into a town hall meeting. His follow-up question -- would you accept contributions from people outside the district? -- is totally fair.
Blum's contention that Scheinblum was "going to sit here and just badger me" suggests to me that the congressman doesn't know what badgering actually entails -- since that ain't it.
Blum should have quit while he was behind. But, he didn't!
He went forward with the town hall Monday night. (Credit where credit is due: Blum is one of a handful of House Republicans who is holding a public town hall following the passage of the American Health Care Act last week.)
And, boy oh boy did it get ugly.
He was repeatedly booed and shouted down as he tried to make the case for the healthcare reform legislation. One woman approached Blum during the town hall to pointedly ask about Medicare funding.
There were matching chants of "no wall" and "build that wall" when the subject turned to immigration and President Trump's push for a border wall on our southern border.
It was a mess. One attendee told the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe of the scene: "I feel like I've been in a barnyard."
Same. And I wasn't even there!
Blum's horrible Monday speaks to the charged political climate -- and high stress level -- everywhere in the country these days. Blum clearly overreacted to being questioned about his decision to limit townhall attendees to people who live and vote in his district. By pulling the I'm-taking-my-ball-and-going-home move, he took what would never have made it to the national news and turned it into all-day fodder for cable TV.
His townhall meeting is more defensible. If Blum doesn't hold a townhall, he gets condemned for hiding from the people who elected him and pay his salary. When he does hold one, it turns into a free-for-all political battle royal. (Here's a ranking of the best pro wrestling battle royals ever.)
Add it all up though and you have one terrible day for Rod Blum. And a warning of what might be to come for his fellow House Republicans over the next 19 months.
Blum -- and credit where it is due here, again -- has three more town halls planned this week, by the way. Let's see if he keeps them on his calendar.