Hostile reception for Dem health care pitch
The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.I am not sure how the Times missed it, but the President has urged his supporters to get in peoples faces to push his agenda and his political guru urged Democrats to punch back twice as hard before some of the union thugs did just that at the Missouri gathering. But that would have been off message from blaming the disturbances on Republicans who oppose what they think would be a disaster for health care.
Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks. Republicans respond that the protests are an organic response to the Obama administration’s health care restructuring proposals.
There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.
“Become a part of the mob!” said a banner posted Friday on the Web site of the talk show host Sean Hannity. “Attend an Obama Care Townhall near you!” The exhortations do not advocate violence, but some urge opponents to be disruptive.
“Pack the hall,” said a strategy memo circulated by the Web site Tea Party Patriots that instructed, “Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”
“Get him off his prepared script and agenda,” the memo continued. “Stand up and shout and sit right back down.”The memo was obtained by the liberal Web site ThinkProgress. Its author, Robert MacGuffie, a founder of the conservative Web site Right Principles, confirmed to The New York Times that the memo was legitimate.
The Democrats seem to be surprised that there is a passionate group of voters who oppose them and they have resorted to insulting that passion and those voters. This is a mistake that will not be forgotten in 2010.
Old bulls like John Dingell can get away with ignoring voters, but those Democrats who won in conservative districts by pretending to be conservatives are in trouble and they provided the margin that elected Pelosi as speaker. That is something that their voters will have trouble forgetting or forgiving. Even the smart ones like Chet Edwards are keeping their heads down and not engaging on the issue. It is going to be a tough vote for him.
There very well may be some "community organizers" getting these people out to the Town Halls, but you can't fake the kind of passion these people exhibit.