I'd like to report that when Hopkins took time out of her day to travel from her home in Purcellville to a meeting hall in Leesburg to confront her congressman, Frank Wolf, with those heartfelt questions, the crowd cheered her on. And I'd love to tell you that Wolf embraced the truth behind Hopkins's plaint, leveled with his constituents about the problems we face and spelled out tough solutions involving painful public sacrifice.Apparently, that's too much to ask from Frank Wolf. Pathetic.
But that's not what happened when Wolf -- a Republican who represents parts of Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier and three more Northern Virginia counties -- appeared this week at a forum sponsored by the AARP.
For starters, the congressman told Hopkins to take her question to the Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid. "You'll have to ask the leadership, ma'am," he said. "I have a record of honesty and integrity."
I caught up to Hopkins later. "He was evasive," she said of Wolf's response. "I just wanted to know why the institution is so paralyzed, why they're so damn partisan. That's what makes politics so distasteful. All I wanted to hear was if he agreed and why it is that way."
But it's not just Genie Hopkins. Here's how Frank Wolf treats Marc Fisher - and by extension, all of his constituents.
Obviously frustrated by the nation's economic woes, Wolf made a passing reference to this being "a teachable moment."
What does that mean? He talked about the need, even in tough times, to invest much more in math, science and engineering, to build American know-how and innovation.
Are you saying that our priorities have been wrong, that there was something dishonest about politics that encouraged unrealistically low taxes, anti-intellectualism and spending beyond our means?
Wolf stood up. "It's getting cold out here," he said, and so it was. We walked to our cars.
Yeah, it's "getting cold" alright, Congressman - for your political career, that is.