Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 11, 2009

THE WORST AMERICA HAS TO OFFER.... They served as interesting bookends. President Obama hosted a very strong town-hall event in New Hampshire on health care this afternoon, featuring good questions -- from supporters and opponents of reform -- and covering a lot of ground.

The president's event began on the heels of Sen. Arlen Specter's town-hall event in Lebanon, Pa. Watching Obama's gathering, one got the sense that it was American politics as it's meant to be done. Watching Specter's, one got the sense that the American political system is an experiment on the verge of collapse.

Senator Arlen Specter and his staff tried mightily to control a town hall meeting this morning but he was repeatedly booed and heckled by a majority of the 250 people inside a large hall here at the Harrisburg Area Community College. At least 700 more were kept outside, police said.

Inside, fury erupted over a range of topics, from health care to immigration, government spending and the cap-and-trade program to control pollution. Many also expressed broad if unspecified disdain for the government and for President Obama.

"Where do you see an honest man in politics?" one man asked Mr. Specter. "Tell Obama to represent us as an American and if not, there's other countries!"

It certainly wasn't Specter's fault, but this event was enough to make one weep for our future. Fox News' Megyn Kelly called it an "extraordinary showing," filled with "informed" and "articulate" Americans.

Perhaps Megyn Kelly was watching a different event. More likely, Megyn Kelly doesn't know what she's talking about.

Specter's largely right-wing crowd insisted President Obama isn't an American. One nutty man said to applause, "One day, God is going to stand before you and he's going to judge you!" Another yelled, "This is the Soviet Union, this is Maoist China."

One attendee drew a standing ovation when she said health care reform is about "dismantling" the United States and "turning" the country "into Russia." She later added that she feared toilet paper rationing.

Someone in the audience wanted to explain that the Qu'ran says that "all unbelievers will be executed." The same person added that if we close Gitmo, "criminals" will "escape" and we'll find "a bunch of innocent people are murdered. And that's what's gonna happen."

We're better than this. We have to be.

Steve Benen 3:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

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no, i don't think we are.

Posted by: sadly on August 11, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

"We're better than this. We have to be."

We are.

Posted by: Bill on August 11, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

We have to be isn't enough. We aren't. We are showing every sign of being really stupid.

Posted by: fusion on August 11, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

i dont know if we are better than this, tho i'd rather live in the townhall in portland...

and i am now worried. i know the toilet paper in the ussr was really sucky... good vanilla ice cream, tho, and black bread...

i could live on the ussr ice cream and black bread... if i had good health insurance.

Posted by: neill on August 11, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Come on...there had to be many people screaming "you're bat shit crazy and don't know what you're talking about" Back up what you're saying idiots. Is Specter just too slow and uninformed to respond to these quacks...or just too used to being one of them?

Fuck these nutjobs. They want to incite violence with lies and claims they cannot back up. How dare they compare a democratic administration to Russia or China. These are sick minorities without any substance other than rage. The Fox crowd.

Fox is better than the communists at tearing down America.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm only afraid that one day, I'll have to stand before God and answer for the idiotic nutjobs who live in my state.
I wish I could say I was surpised by it, but living in Lancaster County right next door, I'm not.
What a complete embarrassment.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 11, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

You have to cut Specter some slack for being slow in response--you see, just a couple months ago he was pandering to the same people. Trying to do a 180 like that would make anyone's head spin.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on August 11, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

It bears repeating that PA is Philadelphia in the East and Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in between. Lebanon is part of the religious right wing and has more than its share of whackjobs, even for PA.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on August 11, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Perhaps Megyn Kelly was watching a different event. More likely, Megyn Kelly doesn't know what she's talking about."

Perhaps Megyn Kelly is a spokesmodel for America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc. and says whatever is put in front of her on a teleprompter and neither knows nor cares whether any of it is true or not as long as she keeps collecting a big fat paycheck.

Steve Benen wrote: "We're better than this. We have to be."

Who do you mean by "we"?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 11, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

America is now two countries. On the one hand, there are the 28% comprised of gullible, angry, lunatics of the sort who are shouting down their reps at the town halls. On the other hand you have everyone else. Give the loonies the old Confederate states and have done with them. They are incapable of being reasoned with and they are unable to recognize where their own self-interest and economic welfare lie. Let them congregate and fail together. If nothing else, the collective IQ of the rest of the country will go up at least ten points.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on August 11, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Allan, I was raised about five miles west of Lancaster in East Hempfield. I know what you are feeling. You have my sympathies.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on August 11, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect Specter was targeted. The wingnuts know as well as anyone that Specter is equally reviled by the left and the right, which puts him in a unique position of weakness.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on August 11, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Megyn Kelly is just another Razor Wire Barbie who reads what's on the teleprompter in front and couldn't care less whether it's true or not as long as those paychecks keep rolling in.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on August 11, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Megan Kelly knows exactly what she's talking about, and knows exactly who she's talking to. don't kid yourself.

Posted by: bdbd on August 11, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

You know the expression about letting the genie out of the bottle? Well, what is Fox going to do when they realize they cannot get all these crazies back in the bottle? There is going to come a time when even Fox is going to want these people to go back to wherever they came from. This reminds me of Bush's Iraq exit strategy.

Posted by: Matt on August 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Give the loonies the old Confederate states and have done with them.

Hey now, waitaminnit. I live in one of those Confederate states. Don't abandon me like that!

Posted by: Julia Grey on August 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'll be working in Lebanon tonight. Oh boy!

Posted by: diakron on August 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Only Americans can hurt America.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Posted by: Bill H. on August 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

To follow on Julia's comment.

Please give Texas a chance, we're trying to be Purple.

Posted by: TonyB on August 11, 2009 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is reaping what it has sowed for the last 30 years, appealing to the extremists and the haters and the unreasoning mob, spreading lies and disinformation for political benefit.

Posted by: Speed on August 11, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

We are better than this? Really? Or have we been 'this' all the while, going about our lives with binkers on, patting ourselves on the back really believing we have come a long way. Tsk, tsk.

Posted by: Sam on August 11, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing about the toilet paper rationing is that in Russia things only got so bad that it had to be rationed AFTER the breakdown of Soviet Union and introduction of smth vaguely resembling market economy. It mostly had to do with the confusion the factories were in without government planners to tell them where to send the stuff they make and where to get the raw materials. During actual Soviet time toilet paper was bad but it was available.

Posted by: LB on August 11, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

No, we are not better than this. The Founding Fathers recognized even back then that the average person will easily, and readily, be swayed by ignorance and lies. It existed back then, it existed during the fifties, as exemplified by McCarthyism, and it is now exemplified by tea baggers and birthers.

You live in a dream world if you think human nature will evolve and gain awareness as one.

Posted by: Rook on August 11, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

We're better than this. We have to be.

The military is fond of saying, "You are only as strong as your weakest link."

So there you go.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on August 11, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's little wonder why the Springer show had a never ending line of dillweeds to get on the show. These people are ignorant slobs. I watched the guy at Specter's town hall meeting. He was basically just ranting and raving about being heard. God knows what his point was because I'm certain no one at the meeting or who watched it could possibly figure out what it was.

Posted by: Gandalf on August 11, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK


I'm hearing more and more people that are just plain revolted by what is happening at these congressional town hall meetings.

Give 'em more rope.

Posted by: Joe Friday on August 11, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

[...]turning" the country "into Russia." She later added that she feared toilet paper rationing. -- Steve Benen

Well, at least she was consistent :) Growing up in Poland, I and everyone in my family, always carried a long string. Whenever you saw a long line outside a paper goods store, you stopped and asked if toilet paper had, by any chance, been "thrown out". If it had, you joined the line. If your were lucky, you reached the front of the line before the store ran out. And the way the clerk controlled that was by limiting the number of rolls you were allowed to buy -- usually 5, never more than 10. You strung those rolls on the string, tied a knot (making a loop) and carried it, over your shoulder, home. People would stop you and ask where you got it...

So, it wasn't rationed in the sense that you had to have a little coupon to buy it (as, at times, we needed for butter and meat) but it was rationed all the same, by there not being enough of it. It is now rationed also -- by a much higher price. Especially on the kinds which don't act like a grater on your butt. That third kind of rationing operates here too.

Posted by: exlibra on August 11, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

We're not better than this. We're in a slow-motion drift to civil war.

Posted by: Steve M. on August 11, 2009 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

What really scares the hell out of me is the thought of good health care reform actually passing. The wignuts are so convinced it will (insert insane daily BS), they might seriously take up arms against the government.

I would if I believed the government was going to euthanize my granny or handicap kid.

Posted by: ScottW on August 11, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to say it - we are like this now. We are a nation of shrill petulant greedy fat slobs, ready to get a pneumatic hammer between the eyes like dumb cattle.

Posted by: Cursed Seed of Cain on August 11, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

We've passed the tipping point for controlling Frankenstein's monster. Now we can only hope to mitigate the damage. There will be no saving Dr. Frankenstein, though. I'm afraid his condition is terminal.

Posted by: doubtful on August 11, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK
Steve: "We're better than this. We have to be."

If you're talking about the country in general, we most certainly are better than this.

If you're referencing the American media, then I'm not so sure. They are playing off the GOP's white-wing looneypalooza against the rest of the country as though it's for our vicarious entertainment, showing an inordinate amount of deference to hate-baters and fearmongers like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, when by all rights that insane clown posse should have been shown the door a long time ago.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 11, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well, nutty buddy, which is it? The Soviet Union or Maoist China? Because your odds will vary depending on the model chosen.

When I pointed out to family and friends in early 2001 that Bush and his compadres were the best Bolsheviks America had yet created, who would "dismantle" America and "turn it into a hillbilly Soviet Union," I was met with confused silence or offended feelings. Now, I would get a standing ovation.

I'm telling ya, timing is everything.

Posted by: Todd B. on August 11, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I live in central Pennsylvania. Born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania. I can absolutely assure you, we are not better than this. We are this.

But it's not the people, not inherently. It's the way these people receive their information. All this talk about news cycles, soundbites, memes, messaging, etc.? It's news as entertainment -- that's why people are so unbelievably stupid. Agenda disguised as opinion disguised as fact.

And when you scare old, uninformed people (notice how so many of these loud teabaggers are 50+?) who either don't know how or don't have the time/ability to get the correct information for themselves, this is what you get. Death panels, toilet paper rationing, and howl-at-the-moon crazy.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on August 11, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

We have the actual numbers on our side, BUT they're a minority driven by the fires of multiple fanaticisms. They show up and they don't let up. Progressives/liberals had better get an equal or greater fire in the belly soon or these kooks will push this country over the edge.

Posted by: Varecia on August 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with everyone who says we need to just let these people hang themselves. It's a sign of desperation, and, if it weren't so scary what these people think, quite hilarious.

Posted by: Tobias on August 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Exlibra, while making me squirm in my seat, your comments have wiped away the confusion.

Posted by: Rolla on August 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I have sen the future of U S politics.

Posted by: E L on August 11, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

TonyB: Please give Texas a chance, we're trying to be Purple.

Well, I think holding your breath until you attain that particular hue is a rather poor substitute for coordinated political action. If Austin ever decides to secede from Texas, we'd welcome her with open arms -- and ammo, too. ;-)

Posted by: Out & About in the Castro on August 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, but this was Lebanon, PA, a community on the fringes of Lancaster County where electricity, gas powered vehicles and telephones are optional. The Lebanon, PA phonebook is 845 pages long and only contains 4 last names (3 being different spellings of Beamisderfer). This is a far east notch of the Bible Belt and not particularly representative of any other part of the Commonwealth or the country.

Posted by: I used to live near there on August 11, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's down to this now:
8/07/09...From Facism: are we there yet at Crooks & Liars:

“…That description sounds eerily like the dire straits our Congressional Republicans find themselves in right now. Though the GOP has been humiliated, rejected, and reduced to rump status by a series of epic national catastrophes mostly of its own making, its leadership can't even imagine governing cooperatively with the newly mobilized and ascendant Democrats. Lacking legitimate routes back to power, their last hope is to invest the hardcore remainder of their base with an undeserved legitimacy, recruit them as shock troops, and overthrow American democracy by force. If they can't win elections or policy fights, they're more than willing to take it to the streets, and seize power by bullying Americans into silence and complicity.
When that unholy alliance is made, the third stage -- the transition to full-fledged government fascism -- begins.


“…the guessing game is over. We know beyond doubt that the Teabag movement was created out of whole cloth by astroturf groups like Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips' Americans for Prosperity, with massive media help from FOX News. We see the Birther fracas -- the kind of urban myth-making that should have never made it out of the pages of the National Enquirer -- being openly ratified by Congressional Republicans. We've seen Armey's own professionally-produced field manual that carefully instructs conservative goon squads in the fine art of disrupting the democratic governing process -- and the film of public officials being terrorized and threatened to the point where some of them required armed escorts to leave the building. We've seen Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."
This is the sign we were waiting for -- the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America's conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country's legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America's streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won't do their political or economic bidding.
This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It's also our very last chance to stop it..."

Soon the knives will come out...these are crazy thugs looking for an excuse to get violent.

Specter never should have tolerated the outlandish behavior and rhetoric reminiscent of a McCain/Palin rally where Obama is a Muslim secret Arab leading ACORN hit men to kill Americans. Specter didn't know how to take control of that town hall and shut down the madness.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 11, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I sympathize with my PA brothers - Missouri is St. Louis on the east, Kansas City in the west, and Morlock-istan in the middle.

Posted by: Rolla on August 11, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Here's how it works:

National debt too high: cut taxes.

Attacked by Osama bin Laden: invade Iraq and kill Saddam Hussein.

Poisoned the environment by industry: put industry in charge of cleaning it up.

Going to war: hire an enormous, uncontrollable private militia and subcontract every operation without a bid process. Oh...and forget about an exit strategy.

Dependent on foreign energy: demand that we extract a few months' worth of oil from a natural preserve and shout down any attempt to engage in a strategy of conservation.

So naturally:

Elected a black man: deny his citizenship.

Health care system destroying a sixth of our economy: convince everyone that fixing it will mean killing old people and having no more toilet paper.

These people are used to being lied to in an open, flagrant and obvious way. They refuse to listen to any reasoned, rational idea that comes from someone they have not voted for. And yet, they believe every single word that their chosen authority figures utter, without the slightest bit of scrutiny.

We are not better than this.

Posted by: chrenson on August 11, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Well, maybe Team Obama and the DNC and Steny Hoyer etc. can pay some attention to what's been happening down here in Austin at Lloyd Doggett's town halls. Two weeks ago, as national news reported, teabaggers shut down discussion at Doggett's first meeting and chased him to his car, shouting him and everyone else down as they went. Then, at a meeting out in Bastrop (hardly true blue), Dems brought in the sheriff and fire marshal and packed the hall early, whereupon the marshals closed the doors when the hall reached capacity, thus forcing dozens of nattering, sputtering, and sniping nincompoops to stand outside in the heat and allowing what I heard was a great meeting. Then last Saturday, at a meeting at a local federally funded community health clinic, hundreds of pro-reform advocates showed up and repeatedly out-shouted and out-maneuvered the whack jobs, thus allowing an incredible pro- and con- debate monitored by Rep. Doggett. Today, at an open meeting for the city school district, Doggett gave an uninterrupted speech and brilliantly fielded questions (again, pro and con) about health care reform. Bottom line: while there are some legitimate concerns being voiced, when the debate proceeds as civil discourse there is no doubt that reform advocates will win the day. But unless those who support reform GET OUT TO THESE MEETINGS AND SHOW SOME STRENGTH - both in numbers and passion - all the messaging at the top will not outweigh what's happening on the ground. Democracy at work, folks.

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on August 11, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know why they don't all say "We don't want a ****** for President". All of these people are my Father, you can take the boy out of Ohio but in my case, the world took the Ohio out of the boy, not so with good old Dad. At the heart of this argument is racism, Barack Obama will never do anything good because these wonderful, kind American folks are smitten with racism. "We" are better than this but these folks will go to the grave with their mental retardation.

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on August 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

These crazies were so out there even the all white barbers at the men's barber shop couldn't believe what they were hearing. And these are CWM's (Conservative White Males).

And for those who love to bash the South, probably because you don't know your history, the most active KKK groups were in Indiana and Ohio in the 1920's, not to mention the attacks on the Black Suburbs in the Midwest. Both North Carolina and Virginia went for Obama despite the fact there are plenty of mixed nuts floating around.

Posted by: Chuck on August 11, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

the late walt kelly figured it out in 1970: "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

Posted by: dj spellchecka on August 11, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Problem we are but they aren't and they enjoy the hate.

The liberal open mind is always at a disadvantage with a closed conservative mind. We can respect disparate opinions, they never will listen, never hear and never budge.

We just have to make sure we out vote them and don't compromise too much.

I'm guessing that the bussed in protesters will sufficiently offend locals, at each site, to end up hurting the Repug support on the local level.

Posted by: Marnie on August 11, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

The real reason why people are against Obama's health care: Swastika

Posted by: Andy on August 11, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

And for those who love to bash the South, probably because you don't know your history, the most active KKK groups were in Indiana and Ohio in the 1920's, not to mention the attacks on the Black Suburbs in the Midwest.

Well yeah, but it was still the South and not the Midwest that not only committed active armed treason against the United States (not only did Southerners not support the troops, they attacked and killed them in great numbers) but still glorifies it to this day, including by putting up statues of open and notorious traitors.

Posted by: Stefan on August 11, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, sorry. We are absolutely NOT better than this. Who do you think that hard-core group of people were who supported Bush right to the bitter end? Do you think they supported him because of a well-reasoned grasp of the issues?

I once considered myself a non-partisan moderate who would contemplate a vote for either party. Those days are long, long, loooooooong gone. Strong work, GOP!

And, being from Rolla myself, I 100% second the comment about Missouri. Driving on I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City is an utterly depressing examination of the blasted underbelly of our country.

Posted by: DrDan on August 11, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Give Specter some credit, he was in REAL wackjob country. This group would elect Palin to the Presidency.
Naturally the networks EAT up this GARBAGE !

A great majority of those attending DEFINITELY NEED Health Care Reform...definitely Full-Parity mental health coverage !

Posted by: ParityFanatic on August 11, 2009 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I fail to understand why that woman would fear toilet paper rationing- she would not be affected at all, since she lacks the intellect to understand the operating instructions.

Posted by: Tim H on August 11, 2009 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

I was embarrassed to watch the same nutters on display in my own state today, at Sen. McCaskill's town hall in Hillsboro, MO. Why she decided to hold the meeting in deep cooter country is beyond me.

The thing we all need to remember is just because these spectacles keep making the news doesn't mean the ME Party types represent the mainstream view. I still firmly believe that MOST Americans support health care reform.

Posted by: STL_progress on August 11, 2009 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

If these people represent the majority of Americans we are in for a rough ride. These are the same type of people who in Germany in the 1930s were willing to raise their right hands and shout "Sieg Heil." I fear for our country and its future if these ignorant and gullible Foxheads are ever in the majority.

The social commentator H.L. Mencken was ever so right when he commented that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. These crazies prove the point he made so many years ago.

Posted by: Jan on August 11, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Why does it always seem that there's a global contest for "stupidest country on Earth" and that we and North Korea are heading to the finals?

Posted by: Jimo on August 11, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Of course we're better than that, Steve. Jeez, did you go into fits of handwringing during every Sarah Palin rally last fall?

Posted by: Bob Loblaw on August 11, 2009 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

We're better than this. We have to be.

Um, no, Steve, we're not.

If we were, we'd be the ones wielding the media megaphone. The teabaggers would be branded as the fringe nutjobs they are, and shunned by polite society.

Posted by: Screamin' Demonm on August 11, 2009 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that this has a lot to do with the difference between Obama's town hall and Specter's (from the Washington Post):

Seventy percent of the tickets were given to people who signed up online, and distributed at random, according to a White House aide.

Of course, the president is also a much bigger draw to an event like this, so I doubt most Representatives could easily duplicate it.

Posted by: Jinchi on August 11, 2009 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight. If I don't believe in giving people free food, free rent and free health care I'm a nut job. I guess it's better than being a freeloader.
I can hear the pilgrims on the Mayflower talking about how they're going to New World for the great health bennies. I'm sure it was the only thing on their mind. that's all.

Posted by: tater on August 11, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, Tater, the uptight pilgrims -- scarlet letters and witch-dunking....something to be so proud of. And now that I have tarred an entire group with the same brush, consider what you did by essentially saying that anyone who has to seek social services for temporary assistance is a "freeloader".

Posted by: VaLiberal on August 11, 2009 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

I can hear the pilgrims on the Mayflower talking about how they're going to New World for the great health bennies. I'm sure it was the only thing on their mind. that's all.

Ironically, the Pilgrims accepted free food and assistance from the Native Americans, without which they would have starved and died the first year.

What were you saying again?

Posted by: trex on August 11, 2009 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Tater. You're a nutjob. You believe stupid things because you think democracy is a conspiracy against white people.

Posted by: walt on August 11, 2009 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason they call it Pennsyltucky.

Posted by: Northzax on August 11, 2009 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Remember the people who got arrested for wearing tee shirts critical of Bush?

Posted by: ♪ on August 11, 2009 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan made some truly ignorant comments. I live in the south and am a middle aged white male. I consider myself an independent and listen to both sides. MY question is when do I stop being blamed for what happened in 1861. I don't remember serving in the confederate army, I've never owned any slaves, yet I am called names and told I must be sorry and pay pennance for the sins of my ancestors( even though some came from Ohio). What is it you people want from me, a pound of flesh? I am a productive member of society and pay my taxes on time. I don't have an arrest record. What I see in this debate is what is inherently wrong with our political system. No one wants to tolerate another persons view. We have become so neutered as a people you can't even say something that may be construed as racial or sexist. The government is filled and run by professional politicians and they don't listen to the peole anyway. They lie and cheat and tell you what you want to hear. I don't know where you can actually hear a truthful assessment of Health Care reform. I would really like to know the true aspects and costs of this reform.

Posted by: ramrider on August 11, 2009 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly...no. We are not better than this. This is who we are. We have always had this element in our midst. And progressives have always had to fight every step of the way. Progressives are always ahead of the curve, and when the population finally catches up, there is always a remnant that just can't let go of bitterness, resentment, fear, greed, their elite status.

But, I think we've reached that critical mass on health care reform and the teabaggers/GOP/movement conservatives/Christianists/Dominionists/hostile corporate hacks and lobbyists/Machiavellian partisans have already lost. Just similar people lost on slavery, women's suffrage, wilderness conservation, worker's rights, social security, Medicare, welfare, public education, civil rights and on and on and on. I mean, c'mon, there's always some nasty critter on the other side of the debate, sometimes just dumb, sometimes shrewd. I do think the level of implicit violence is worrisome in this debate, but no worse than desegregation and somehow we survived that.

This too shall pass.

Posted by: ajaye on August 11, 2009 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

No, we're not better than this. At least some parts of the US are not (e.g. middle america = bible thumping oiks who still think Dubya did/could do a better job).

Posted by: E on August 12, 2009 at 6:24 AM | PERMALINK

Specter was wise to avoid a primary involving these yobs.

Posted by: bob h on August 12, 2009 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

steve benen: One attendee drew a standing ovation when she said health care reform is about "dismantling" the United States and "turning" the country "into Russia."

and what's even funnier...

she started her comment with something about not knowing anything about..


so naturally...she's got to be right..


Posted by: mr. irony on August 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Just wait till you koolaid drinking lefties realize that you will be paying for partial birth abortions and leaving live babies to die in soiled linen baskets in hospital supply rooms.
Any leftist who does not know what a partial birth abortion is, I suggest you do some research, because this is what "your' president supports.
The fact that there is no mention of abortion in the current bill does not mean anything. I was told by a contract lawyer that because it is omitted it can easily be added after the bill is passed.
God Help Us

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Posted by: Wesley on March 12, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK



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