Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 3, 2009

THE HARASSMENT STRATEGY.... On Friday, Lee Fang had a good item on the far-right strategy some activists have embraced to argue against health care reform. Lobbyist-run organizations -- some of the same groups that organized right-wing Tea Parties in April -- have encouraged conservatives to be disruptive, including "yelling," "shouting," and "rattling" policymakers during public events. One leaked strategy memo said, "Look for these opportunities before [a member of Congress] even takes questions."

Who needs civility and intelligent discourse when we have confused mobs of far-right activists organized by corporate lobbyists?

The House has been in recess for only a few days, but we're already seeing the results of the right-wing efforts.

This past weekend, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was the latest victim of the right's strategy, where protesters followed him and chanted "just say no" to health care.

Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation and stands to be among the most to gain from Obama's health care plan. "[N]early 6 million Texans, including the one in six U.S. uninsured children who live there, could get health insurance for the first time if the plan is enacted." [...]

An angry crowd also exploded at Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The Philadelphia Daily News reports, "They wore bumper stickers on their foreheads. They carried signs. They shouted insults at notable American figures -- and each other. Loudly."

This isn't just about intimidating lawmakers, it's also about exercising something of a heckler's veto -- if the mob can prevent an honest discussion of health care reform, people who'll benefit from the legislation won't learn what it's in it for them and why the conservative arguments are wrong.

It's just what the lobbyist organizers of the Harassment Strategy need.

Steve Benen 10:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (82)

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Comments

Teabagging certainly didn't work.

BTW, to the Teabagger lobbyist failures, those were the tactics that failed the "left". There's a reason why they failed.

Posted by: Former Dan on August 3, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe I think too highly of the American public, but I can see this strategy backfiring big-time.

Posted by: Jon B. on August 3, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Fighting to be first in line at the slaughterhouse.

We get what we deserve.

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on August 3, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Such mobs, or more organized ones actually, intimidated the Florida voting boards to stop counting etc. before legal rulings were what mattered.

Is anyone polling to find public disgust at such tactics? Is the "public" too decadent to care anymore? I hope not.

Posted by: N e i l B on August 3, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me like this could backfire. If the non-wingnuts who come to these meetings really want to find out about health care reform, they might start to associate the opposition with angry, no-nothing extremists. Of course that IS what they are, but still.

Posted by: Cal Gal on August 3, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

In lieu of an opposing plan, shout loudly.

Posted by: TonyB on August 3, 2009 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Just say "No!" to health care? That sounds like a winning message.

Posted by: qwerty on August 3, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Corporate sponsored political bullyism is sooooo unAmerican!

Have these vested interests no decency? Using the dimwitted and unassuming to promote civil discord is something the National Socialist Party of Germany did during the 20s and it reaped political benefits for it in the 30s.

This new political strategy of the vested interests of the health care industry needs to be called out for what it is - mobocracy and a threat to our civil democracy! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 3, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

They couldn't hear the opposition shouting back after each just say know..."if your stupid'..."that's what corporations say" etc. They have no plans or alternatives...just shout out any discussion.

So I hope the message will be kept simple. "Medicare for all". Let's hear them shout just say know to that one. Congressional republicans wouldn't.

Big signs saying *Medicare For All* keeps the message simple and reduces all the confusion...since it's something most people already know.

The tea baggers want violence some come prepared. The organizers are well paid to create it.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 3, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

OK, let's brainstorm the best way for members of Congress to respond.

Can they ask people to ask one question at a time?

How about asking for those who want the chanters to quiet down to raise their hands?

Or maybe invite a person who is chanting to come up and have a dialogue. They can ask them what should be done to improve health care, etc.

I think that when this sort of thing happens -- and all members should now be prepared for it -- there should be ways to push these folks off their prepared game plans.

Other thoughts on strategies?

Posted by: Amy on August 3, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Or maybe invite a person who is chanting to come up and have a dialogue. They can ask them what should be done to improve health care, etc.

This is a winner! Do this enough and let the non-harassment attendees see first-hand the complexity and completeness of the conservative plan.

Posted by: TonyB on August 3, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

mobs are sooo american...
everybody is just gonna love it on the teevee, watching the disruption...

it'll bring back the reoublican party from the dead...

and this time they're gonna be all "no more mistah nice guy..."

Posted by: neill on August 3, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

This is a stark reminder of the 'Brooks Brothers Riot' in Florida in 2000! Why have an intelligent discussion that you know you will lose, when you can have a riot and disrupt any meaningful discourse?

Benito Mussolini said "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merging of the corporation and the state".

Somebody 'talk me down' from believing that is not the path that we are on in our country!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on August 3, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

The "bring them up and talk with them," strategy is brilliant.

George HW Bush (I) used it against a war protester who was disrupting a speech. HW turned to the protester and asked, "Young man, do you have a question?" The guy was caught flat-footed and couldn't think of one. "Then if you don't have a question, would you mind letting me finish my presentation?"

Posted by: inkadu on August 3, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Do these jackasses really think they're going to change anyone's minds with these tactics? As soon as it becomes known that this was a coordinated effort by rightwing lobbyists, it will likely backfire. Yelling and refusing to let your opponents speak is the sign of intellectual bankruptcy.

"Is that mob getting more stupid or just louder?"
--Mayor Quimby

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

It works for rent-a-mobs like ACORN. It works for the UAW. Mobs got Obama elected by showing up by the busloads at caucuses and intimidating voters at the polls. Our Community Organizer In Chief knows Alinsky tactics used against is political judo he can't afford, especially with his polling taking a hit. Press on, conservatives!

Posted by: Possum Dearie on August 3, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Well what do you expect in response to Obama's healthcare proposal. The man already has a trillion dollar mulligan. In fact the most visiable stimulus program "cash for clunkers" destroys real physical wealth. I suppose he feels the 'broken window' stratgey will work.

Anyway, Obama would have more of a leg to stand on if the CBO didn't shoot down his every claim of "budget nuetrality" and "cost savings".

In any event, people want health care reform. They just don't want Obama's hands on it. He doesn't seem up to the task, nor is his approach tolerable to many Americans.

But anyway, I'll leave you all to the echo chamber where everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot and a knownothing.

Posted by: justin on August 3, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

The first speaker for such events should just read the talking points and point out who the disruptive people represent.

I think it will make an impact if you start out by saying "we expect that lobbyists have sent in their folks to disrupt this event. They plan to yell, interrupt and prevent an civil discussion from ever taking place. Their goal is to intimidate your representatives and make everyone believe that most people are against health care reform. So lets be clear. Anyone disrupting this event will be removed so that the rest of us can have a civil discussion."

Posted by: tomj on August 3, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

obviously the aim is to create the impression that there are masses of people fired that opposed h.c. reform. the poll numbers say other wise so the only thing left is a potemkin village of opposition.

btw/ NPR had a report this morning that we are headed towards European Socialism with 50% tax rate on the middle class. This was a news report not an editorial from Cokie Roberts (although she was on a seperate segment saying the same thing.

Good to see everyone is using the same talking points.

Posted by: grinning cat on August 3, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

AngryOldVet, Benito Mussolini was right when he said, "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merging of the corporation and the state." Is that not what Single Payer Healthcare is? Obama running the car companies is Fascism. Obama running the banks is Fascism. Now he wants to take over our healthcare!

Posted by: Possum Dearie on August 3, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Civil discourse in the face of a mob threatening violence means civil discourse loses. Just like pacifists get their asses kicked by the warrior class. Being timorous in the face of confrontation is a recipe for losing the issue. Unless the media exposes those behind this bullying tactic it will succeed in terrifying our solons of the legislature into voting against any substantive reform.

Obama is making another big mistake by letting Congress go on recess without voting first. I'm afraid he doesn't have the courage of his convictions, and will wind up rather ineffectual.

Posted by: rrk1 on August 3, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK


This isn't just about intimidating lawmakers, it's also about exercising something of a heckler's veto -- if the mob can prevent an honest discussion of health care reform, people who'll benefit from the legislation won't learn what it's in it for them and why the conservative arguments are wrong."

Steve, I have a hard time coming to grips with your complete misreading of the situation. This is about staged public relations events that can be picked up by Drudge, amplified, by Fox, and then run on so called mainstream news sites etc. This has nothing to do with a heckler's veto or intimidating lawmakers. It is a public relations stunt intended to create an impression of opposition.

Posted by: grinning cat on August 3, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Possum Drearie...

Single payer health care is not fascism, it is socialism! Socialism is a replacement of the corporation with the state! Indeed, this is a socialist idea, just like having public fire departments and police departments!

Fascism is when the power of the corporation becomes indistinguishable from the power of the state. For example, the Federal Reserve... For example, the power of the credit card companies to write 'bankruptcy reform' under George the Junior.

For real change - Feingold/Sanders in 2012!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on August 3, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Wait so to the left, basaji murdering protestors in the street is a healthy debate?

However, angry Americans protesting a takeover of 16% of the economy is violent astroturfing?

Interesting, it all makes sense now.

Posted by: confused on August 3, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone says these people are teabaggers but all I see are brownshirts.

Posted by: Northern Observer on August 3, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: justin on August 3, 2009 at 11:22 AM

and you added so much to the debate by posting a string of Republican/insurance industry talking points.
Oh, and quickly ran away like a typical braindead coward who can't actually debate. I guess you gotta choose your battles just like you pick and choose your CBO reports.
And how does the public feel about Repubs reforming healthcare? The numbers are in the toilet, just like they are for your Repub leadership and anyone else with an R next to his name.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

"Everyone says these people are teabaggers but all I see are brownshirts."

Turn away from the mirror.

Posted by: AngryAmerican on August 3, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Your modern GOP: the party of idiots and dickheads.

They must be so proud.

Posted by: David Bailey on August 3, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: confused on August 3, 2009 at 11:34 AM

easy to be confused when you spout nothing but strawmen. Now scurry off to your daddy and found out where your next "spontaneous" protest is going to be. Make sure none of the speakers actually gets to talk, wouldn't want facts to destroy your little alternate reality.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Was McCain asked about this Republican strategery when he was on the mouse circus this weekend? How about Michelle Malkin?

Of course not!

If Democrats were behind this, they would be described as jack-booted thugs, but since it's a Republican effort they're "real Americans" who are concerned about their "freedoms."

Let me see if I get this straight. You should be arrested if, while in your own home, you yell at a cop. Go to a public meeting and prevent your fellow citizens from being able to hear from and speak to their elected representative? Receive praise as being a "real American fighting for our freedoms."

How long can the country hold up with this dissonance?

Posted by: karen marie on August 3, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK


This is an attempt to debate? You tell me my point of view is "a string of republican/insurance company talking points"

Then somehow conclude I am affraid to engage you. I can only assume that's an attempt to goad me into responding. I fell for it, I admint.

"I guess you gotta choose your battles just like you pick and choose your CBO reports."

Could you point out which CBO reports I should ignore?

"And how does the public feel about Repubs reforming healthcare? The numbers are in the toilet, just like they are for your Repub leadership and anyone else with an R next to his name. "

Democrat numbers are headed that way as well. Not sure what the rest of your post has to do with healthcare.

It doesn't sound like you really have any idea what you are talking or have any understanding what the concerns of the opposition entail.

Anyway, good luck with everything. Peace.

Posted by: justin on August 3, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I frequently wonder if Republican leaders are really aware of the future violence they're whipping up. When you keep escalating the hate, eventually it ends up with bloodbaths. These are some scary, unhinged people they're playing their games with.

Posted by: Shalimar on August 3, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Oh my. The right behaving like the left and the left getting all outraged at such behaviour. How dare they! lol

We sure do live in interesting times!

*makes popcorn*

Posted by: JackFlash on August 3, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Fascism, Socialism, my mother my daughter. Stick to one ism. The machine gun rhetoric makes you sound stupid.

Nary a peep when Hank Paulsen was giving away the goods. Now that GM was propped up to save a few million jobs and a public option similiar to the fascist program Medicare is in the works the jamokes start with the scripted Jonah Goldberg approved talking points.

Posted by: grinning cat on August 3, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Could you point out which CBO reports I should ignore?

Well, the ones that score an incomplete bill for starters.

This is an attempt to debate? You tell me my point of view is "a string of republican/insurance company talking points"

Uh, yeah, because they are. Straight from Frank Luntz. You probably don't even realize it.

Democrat numbers are headed that way as well. Not sure what the rest of your post has to do with healthcare.

You're going to be waiting a looong time for "Democrat" numbers, especially Obama's, to catch up to the toilet-dwelling Repubs. And you expect anyone to take you seriously about the public not trusting Obama on healthcare? You actually think that the public trusts John Boehner more? ROTFLMAO!!!
You still haven't posted anything substantive on the issue that demonstrates any independent thought.
Better send in a replacement wingnut. Too bad for you losers, you can't shout me down on comments thread. Buh-bye!

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

tomj-"Anyone disrupting this event will be removed so that the rest of us can have a civil discussion."

Conservative outrage about police brutality and infringement of civil rights in 5...4...3...

Posted by: inkadu on August 3, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

The right behaving like the left and the left getting all outraged at such behaviour.

another wingnut moron making accusations with no facts or examples. Typical. When and where has "the left" behaved like this? I must have missed all the town halls where "the left" was shouting down Republican speakers and ranting about birth certificates.
Please, provide examples. This should be interesting, pass that popcorn--LOL!

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to see "Possum Dearie" proving once again that computers are so user-friendly that bipeds lacking frontal lobes and opposable thumbs can use them.

These crowds are different from the Brooks Brothers rioters in Florida. They really are the unhinged foaming-at-the-mouth kind of trailer trash that most people want to avoid, not copy. If they keep on, they will shoot themselves in the foot.

Posted by: TCinLA on August 3, 2009 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Justin, what do you recommend as healthcare reform?

Rather than pointing out that we don't "have any understanding what the concerns of the opposition entail," why don't you explain those concerns so that we do understand?

Seems to me your "concerns" are a misguided idea that the government would ration care more than it currently is. That concern is seriously misguided.

So too on cost. Explain to me how healthcare is cheaper when 30% of healthcare dollars go to executive salaries, admin costs and PR?

Why don't you tell us about all the great choices you have when it comes to buying health coverage? Are you in favor of breaking up the effective monopolies? Are you opposed to the government encouraging people to write living wills so that they can determine their own end of life care, or do you think those decisions are better left to an insurance company bureaucrat who's interest is the bottom line?

Posted by: karen marie on August 3, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

"any understanding what the concerns of the opposition entail."
Justin, the direct issue was disruptive tactics. Maybe Obama's plan is great and maybe not, but how can we want to "understand" an oppo if they behave like louts? Then, they don't deserve it. You should denounce such behavior just in principle, if "principled" you are.

BTW, I too am wary of destroying physical wealth, and the broken window fallacy. But making it at least plausible, is that the replacements use less gas - and thus themselves destroy less physical wealth than the "clunkers" did.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on August 3, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

They really are the unhinged foaming-at-the-mouth kind of trailer trash that most people want to avoid, not copy. If they keep on, they will shoot themselves in the foot.

I think they already have. These "protesters" are a continuation of the crazy lady ranting about birth certificates, and will be viewed as such by anyone with more than a sixth grade education.
Where were these morons when George W. Bush was adding a giant, unfunded prescription drug benefit or engaging in a trillion dollar war of choice based on lies? Kinda funny how they suddenly get concerned when it's a black Democrat in the White House. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

If you still think the tea parties are astroturf, you may be in for a surprise next year. By the way, I was opposed to the prescription drug benefit but it is coming in far below predictions in cost.

Posted by: Mike K on August 3, 2009 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K,

I believe that there are a lot of angry people out there, but I don't think most of them know what they are angry about.

As for the plans to disrupt public meetings, I can't help but contrast that to the perfectly peaceful protesters who were blocked from attending, removed from the venue and/or arrested as soon as they showed any disagreement with George Bush during his public appearances.

And yes, when lobbying organization memos describe how small numbers of people can disrupt meetings and look like they are a majority, that is astroturf.

Posted by: tanstaafl on August 3, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

One or two posters here employing the same strategy. And these astro-turf posters all write the same version of the Insurance Companies' letters to the editor. Sad. The right wing opposes things which might help people generally (promote the general welfare--you know, the Constitution) and hurt vested interests (amoral corporate entities).

Health care on a profit basis always meant extortion. Extortionists tend to act out violently in public. And they hire a bunch of clowns to disrupt discourse. Lovely.

Posted by: Sparko on August 3, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Democrat numbers
He he
You know the "Republican" numbers might creep a little closer to marginal if their astroturfers could remember to show little respect .

Posted by: FRP on August 3, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Possum, Dearie:
Your charge is a lie. Show proof of any but a blip of intimidation of McCain voters etc. But we do know, that plenty of people - mostly black, maybe you like that - were kept from the polls in 2004 by fraud committed, not by "mobs" but by the "officials" in charge of administering our right to vote.

Posted by: Neil B on August 3, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

This also happened to Joe Sestak this week-end at a meeting that was supposed to be devoted to helping pelple in need to access programs for help. Teabaggers followed their marching ordrs perfectly-how long before these folks respond to the incitement of their leaders with violence as well as verbal abuse? and of course, their will be total denial of responsibility...

Posted by: sue on August 3, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Senators and Representatives should ask the League of Women Voters to host their town halls, and they could ask some local police to attend. Then if the RightWingers decide to get unruly, it will be seen as an attack against the local community.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 3, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

If you still think the tea parties are astroturf, you may be in for a surprise next year.

Judging by the teaparties this year, I'm quaking in my boots! The total of all the teabagging events around the country didn't even match the size of one of Obama's biggest rallies.
Keep up the great work! LOL

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 3, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK
If you still think the tea parties are astroturf, you may be in for a surprise next year.

Uh-huh, you just keep telling yourself that. The Democrats may suffer some losses next year, depending on health care reform, the economy, and whether the Republican Party finally disassociates itself from the nutcases that infest it, but it won't have anything to do with that incoherent mess that was the "tea parties," where none of you could even agree on what the hell you were protesting about! How did that second round of "tea parties" work for you, Mike? Should have been quite a few more people, right?

Posted by: PaulB on August 3, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Allan: you know what the major difference between the two parties is? When democrats don't achieve what they attempt, the voters vote then out for failing. When republicans DO achieve what they attempt, voters kick then out in disgust.

Democrats lose power when people get fed up by the lack of real change. Republicans lose power when people wake up one morning and realize that they dislike the change republicans brought. Theoretically, a Republican government that didn't actually do any of the stuff they talk about could stay in power indefinately. The people hold democrats accountable because they actually expect performance.

And Possum, I know you know this, but fascism is a corporate controlled state, socialism is a state controlled corporation. See how that works, dearie?

Posted by: Northzax on August 3, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

*********************
Sounds like the conservatives have learned something from Code Pink and Green Peace and their methods. Interesting.

*********************

Posted by: skucount on August 3, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't call these morans "brownshirts." It gives them much too much credit for being organized. However, it is certainly a brownshirt tactic.

Posted by: Daddy Love on August 3, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't just about intimidating lawmakers, it's also about exercising something of a heckler's veto -- if the mob can prevent an honest discussion of health care reform, people who'll benefit from the legislation won't learn what it's in it for them and why the conservative arguments are wrong.

This is absurd. Supporters of the health care reform have many opportunities to inform the people who will benefit. The idea that there are a lot of PEOPLE WHO REALLY WANT TO KNOW BUT CAN'T FIND OUT ignores all of the readily available sources of information, starting with public libraries and internet cafes, where anybody who wants to know can find out. Let the supporters get out the support the same way that the opponents get out the opposition. Let them go to the churches and community centers the way that ACORN gets out the vote. Or the way that Obama supporters organized high turnouts at the Democratic caucuses.

There may be majority support for "reform", but there is weak support, if any, for the particular proposed reforms. At the same time, opposition to these particular reforms is intense. In order to get the proposals through Congress, supporters need to demonstrate that they are numerous and intense. All of the House is up for re-election in 2008, a commonplace observation that you occasionally emphasize. In order for the reforms to pass, the supporters have to show up in large numbers or else the Congressfolks will think they'll be thrown out of office over passage.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 3, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Justin" is funny...

Well what do you expect in response to Obama's healthcare proposal. The man already has a trillion dollar mulligan.

I'm not really sure what this means, except that I'm assuming he's referring to Bush's now $1.3 trillion FY2009 deficit.

Anyway, Obama would have more of a leg to stand on if the CBO didn't shoot down his every claim of "budget nuetrality" and "cost savings".

The other post to you was half-right. It's really a matter of the CBO reports that you ALREADY DO ignore, such as the scoring for the House Energy and Commerce Committee's America's Affordable Health Choices Act, about which they said on July 17, 2009, and I quote (PDF):

"H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, is deficit neutral over the 10-year budget window - and even produces a $6 billion surplus. CBO estimated more than $550 billion in gross Medicare and Medicaid savings. More importantly, the bill includes a comprehensive array of delivery reforms to set the stage for lowering the future growth in health care costs."

So you see, what you don't know CAN make ya look kinda dumb.

In any event, people want health care reform. They just don't want Obama's hands on it. He doesn't seem up to the task, nor is his approach tolerable to many Americans.

Aw, your concern is so touching. But the American people just voted overwhelmingly to elect Barack Obama (53%-46% with 365 electoral votes), who ran on a platform of enacting pretty closely what we're seeing develop as a health care plan. So I'd say that the situation is just about exactly the opposite of what you think it is. Who knew?

But anyway, I'll leave you all to the echo chamber where everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot and a knownothing.

If the brown shirt fits...

Posted by: Daddy Love on August 3, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

bjobotts: Big signs saying *Medicare For All* keeps the message simple and reduces all the confusion...since it's something most people already know.

That isn't what's in the laws that are currently under consideration.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 3, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

This sort of menacing harassment worked for 'em in the 2000 recount, why not now?

Posted by: mars on August 3, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously it is way too difficult for today's conservatives to become informed on an issue, design a viable solution and present it.

Denying American citizens access to hear their representative and have a say is about as anti-American and anti-democratic as one can get.

Posted by: Silver Owl on August 3, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Justin, you promised to go away, SO GO AWAY! This is our conversation, Rush is holding yours on his web blog!

Posted by: robert on August 3, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is the GOP is bringing in people, most are naturalized citizens, example, David Frum, Canadian.

Michelle Malkin, formerly Michelle Maglalang, father was on a visa when she was born here in the U.S. She notes how she was a victim is racism growing up. She's Filipino. ***There was a terrorist act in the Philippines, Americans taken hostage, but lost coverage due to 9-11.

There are countries, such as Cayman Islands, you can not run for any public office if you're not a natural born citizen. Meaning, one or both of your parents must be a natural citizen.

All I am saying is, in this country, we have let money determine our policies and future.

If people coming from other countries and become naturalized citizens, at least they should do a background on that person from their country of birth - example, Arnold Schwarzenegger went AWOL from the military in Austria to become a body builder in the U.S.

Posted by: annjell on August 3, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

MRM said, "Let the supporters get out the support the same way that the opponents get out the opposition. Let them go to the churches and community centers the way that ACORN gets out the vote. Or the way that Obama supporters organized high turnouts at the Democratic caucuses."

You do realize that is what these town-hall meetings and other public events by Congressman and Senators are about and that the point of the original post is that lobbyist are advising how small groups of people can disrupt such events and prevent attendees from learning about the current proposals or asking real questions?

Posted by: tanstaafl on August 3, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

To add more meaning to my above post, U.S. citizens are warned when they travel not to talk politics when abroad. Do not talk about ours or theirs.

If we are given that warning, then why are we giving people that are not natural born to engage in open forum/public stage a chance to shape our policies and laws.

I don't have anything against these people, but I will name a few....Hoekstrah - Netherlands, Elaine Chao - Taiwan, Mel Martinez - Cuba

How many Americans can go to these countries and run for public office?

Posted by: annjell on August 3, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

tanstaafl: You do realize that is what these town-hall meetings and other public events by Congressman and Senators are about and that the point of the original post is that lobbyist are advising how small groups of people can disrupt such events and prevent attendees from learning about the current proposals or asking real questions?

So get the supporters to turn out in large numbers anyway.

The information that can be presented at the events is on the web already, and the events as organized can't accomplish much, especially if the Senators and Representatives have not read the bills. (Obama blew a huge opportunity on tv when he did not know what was in the bill he was supporting, and the Congresscritters risk making the same mistake.) Now that everyone knows that the Congresscritters will be met by opposition every time they appear in public, the politically effective strategy for the proponents is to show up in larger numbers.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on August 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to urge people: When you call your congresspeople to urge them to vote for health care reform, remind them: The folks doing all the "just say no!" yelling at townhall meetings should not be confused with "constituents" -- at least not constituents with genuine concerns.

Posted by: Lynn Dee on August 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

People come to these meetings because the information they got elsewhere was confusing or conflicted. They want someone to explain it to them and answer their questions.

Showing up with more supporters is good, but doesn't stop the rowdies from disrupting the meetings and still results in headlines about the conflict rather than the health plan.

Posted by: tanstaafl on August 3, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Benen said: "They shouted insults at notable American figures -- " but just a few lines up, you said it was Arlen Specter (D-FlipFlopia). So which is it Steve? Was it Arlen or a "notable American figure"? Inquiring minds want to know!

Posted by: Grimm on August 3, 2009 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

And we have no way to stop it, do we?

Posted by: MNPundit on August 3, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Dissent Is Patriotic.

Oh, wait. That was LAST year.

Posted by: katiewithroses on August 3, 2009 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

How did that second round of "tea parties" work for you, Mike? Should have been quite a few more people, right?

Posted by: PaulB

Yes, some of the turnouts are in the thousands now.

Posted by: Mike K on August 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Health Care plan Today and forever is

To deny your claims

Cut your benefits

Clean out your bank account

Posted by: Sickofnohealthcare on August 3, 2009 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

The tea party turnout on April 15th represented about 0.1% to 0.2% of the U.S. population, despite wall-to-wall promotion on Fox News. On July 4, those numbers shrank exponentially. The teabaggers are down to the creme de la creme of displaced losers who have no coherent set of political principles and couldn't pass a basic civics test --that's you, Mike! -- or even letter a sign literately -- that's your chosen crowd, Mike!

But cheer up. You and Orly Taitz live in the same town. (Why does that not surprise me?) Maybe she can have you over to the Holiday Inn where, in between lawyerin' and dentistin' and real estate agentin', she's a lounge singer (that hair's gotta be good for something). You guys can swap unfulfilled fantasies of personal glory and influence in between Anita Bryant covers.

Posted by: shortstop on August 3, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

The party of "No!" becomes the party of "(shouting loudly) Hell no!"

Ironically, because of this nasty strategy they may turn the public against them. Whether that boosts Obama's popularity isn't even important.

Anyway, their extremism is helping to ensure the health care reform goes through.

Posted by: MarkH on August 3, 2009 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

well here in Texas we probably do have the largest number of uninsured people. we also have the largest number of illegal aliens. you do the math. hospital+ illegal aliens = broke. but what these guys are sellin isnt health care, we have great health care. i dont know of any americans who travel to canada to see there Dr.'s, but here we have shieks comin to see ours.

Posted by: John Wayne on August 3, 2009 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Sounds like the conservatives have learned something from Code Pink and Green Peace and their methods. Interesting."-skucount

The difference is that those demonstrators are usually one or two in a huge crowd (fringe) left and when they disrupt an event, they are arrested. Not only that the MSM doesn't do 24 hr Fox News segments on the disruption in order to promote it. Maybe we should treat the conservatives the way they treat Code Pink and Green Peace? That would be fair.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on August 3, 2009 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

well here in Texas we probably do have the largest number of uninsured people. we also have the largest number of illegal aliens. you do the math. hospital+ illegal aliens = broke. but what these guys are sellin isnt health care, we have great health care. i dont know of any americans who travel to canada to see there Dr.'s, but here we have shieks comin to see ours.

Um, yeah. The US produces a lot of super-high-end specialists. That's great! And that helps how many people, now?

The remarks about immigration... so, you're yet another conservative who would rather see someone else suffer than see himself helped. You're always the winner, and someone's always stealing from you. You're never the one struggling, hoping for just a little help. There's something very wrong about that whole mentality.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 4, 2009 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the conservatives have learned something from Code Pink

What a great lesson! Because _everyone_ loves Code Pink, and their un-annoyingness has led to their views taking the nation by storm!

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 4, 2009 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

The remarks about immigration... so, you're yet another conservative who would rather see someone else suffer than see himself helped. You're always the winner, and someone's always stealing from you. You're never the one struggling, hoping for just a little help. There's something very wrong about that whole mentality.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 4, 2009 at 2:29 AM


always amusing to see a freeloader trying to get in my pocket to pay for his bills and then demonizing me for defending me, my family and our money. Oh, I forgot, how dare me for wanting to keep and spend/use my money on my family and what we want and not be happy to give to loons like obama to give away to the welfare queens

Posted by: Jack Kennedy on August 4, 2009 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

What I'd really like is an expose of how the so-called "liberal media" eats out of these peoples' hands, breathlessly reporting on these "voter protests" without doing one bit digging into who is really behind them.

Posted by: Zot! on August 4, 2009 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

I would really like to see the first piece of evidence that these are paid mobs. Oh, that's right, evidence is so old fashioned in politics, when charges are much more effective without it.

This is a self organizing protest. That is where the numbers are coming from. I can't believe, well, yes I can, that lefties think that they can take away people's livelihoods without compensation, promise that health care costs are going to be brought down by cutting medicare, reduce compensation for medical imaging, then wonder why there is opposition.

Posted by: tool of some sort on August 4, 2009 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

I would really like to see the first piece of evidence that these are paid mobs.

Oh, no one thinks they're paid. Good lord, that would cut into the organizers' clients' healthcare profits.

No, no, they're just organized mobs. There's never a shortage of angry underachieving wingers who are ready to make complete fools of themselves for people who are busily screwing them. I mean, it's not like these sad sacks have anything else on their schedules.

Posted by: shortstop on August 4, 2009 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

Self-organizing? Please.

Posted by: shortstop on August 4, 2009 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

I love it. The liberals have a plan! The plan is to be sure everyone knows that the Conservatives are a bunch of stupid apes because they are doing the EXACT thing that Liberals have been doing since the 60's. Brilliant! Keep telling us how you all are the most smartest things to grace the earth. Please please please?

Don't you get it? Don't you see that Americans are tired of being talked down to by liberals who think that because they read a lot of books written by crazy people that they somehow "own" all that is "intelligent"? Look at your own argument. It looks a lot like you guys are just mad that your own tactics are working against you.... but wait there is more... you are actually terrified because you know there is actually something different about this movement from yours... what is it? hmmm... wait... I have an Idea... it's because you use these tactics knowing you are a minority but the conservatives you know ARE the real majority (go ahead say it... most Americans are stupid... right?). So what happens when the majority start using these tactics? Seems like the liberal is in big trouble.

Stirring up hatred by trying to make all these people out to be totally stupid will only backfire on you. The people we are seeing in these meetings are not the typical liberal hippy radical but rather main street soccer moms and working dads. Your telling me that the demoncat party is going to benefit by demonizing the main street mom and dads of america? Oh yea I guess you will. Good luck to you!

Posted by: robjohns on August 5, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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