Birfer brigades

Here’s some footage of birfer types (via) at a Lloyd Doggett townhall, chanting “Just say no” and waving pictures of Doggett with devil’s horns on them:

A few points here:
* I’m not sure “just say no” is a great slogan for Republicans.
* The crowd has the same trailer park vibe I got from some of the crazier Palin rallies in the ’08 election.

I’ll have to see a bit more of this, but at this point, I think the Republican strategy of sending birfer bridages to shout at the devil is a dangerous one. Even in a conservative-friendly media environment, it’s going to be hard for the tea-ruptions to portrayed as anything other than fringe lunacy.

I’ll also say this: I’ve witnessed a lot of anti-Iraq war rallies in the general Rochester area, including a pretty large-scale one specifically protesting a Dick Cheney fundraiser, and none had the feeling of anger and general craziness of what I’ve seen from the birfer townhall footage. There *is* a difference between right-wing protests and left-wing ones in this country, at this point. (I can’t speak for what it was like in the past or in other parts of the world.)






100 replies
  1. 1
    gizmo says:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.....-stuff.php

    Here’s an absolutely great Rachel Maddow segment on the issue. She nails it.

  2. 2
    JM says:

    They are “the lobbyists’ pet birthers.”

    Rinse. Repeat.

  3. 3
    Darius says:

    Even in a conservative-friendly media environment, it’s going to be hard for the tea-ruptions to portrayed as anything other than fringe lunacy.

    Oh ye of little faith.

    Chris Matthews: What do you make of this firestorm that’s going on across the country. We’ve got pictures from Texas and Long Island and Philly. Every time a congressman calls a town meeting now, the people show up and it’s like — I don’t know — it’s like Iran! It’s like the streets of Tehran!

  4. 4
    PurpleGirl says:

    “Just say NO” probably reminds them of Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaigns…. ah! the glory days of Ronnie Raygun, (Not)

  5. 5
    Punchy says:

    There is a difference between right-wing protests and left-wing ones in this country, at this point.

    This is what drove me crazy reading TPM last nite, when JMM tried to equate the lack of an equivalent Dem response with Dem indifference or apathy. By and large, we just dont get all up in people’s grills and shout shit in their faces and boorishly heckle politicans.

  6. 6
    Shinobi says:

    By and large, we just dont get all up in people’s grills and shout shit in their faces and boorishly heckle politicans.

    Or when we do we are summarily dragged from the room a la Code Pink.

    I think the real difference here is that no one is “vetting” the town hall audience a la GWB and immediately kicking any potential dissenters.

  7. 7
    smiley says:

    MIchelle Malkin is calling these protests a “counter insurgency.” I don’t think she knows what that term means. What’s the insurgency? The political establishment? I guess she just knows it’s what the military was/is doing in Iraq and, therefore, it must mean being the good guys.

  8. 8
    gex says:

    There is a difference between right-wing protests and left-wing ones in this country, at this point.

    Not that it matters. We have a media designed to seek out the false equivalence whenever there is a qualitative difference like this.

  9. 9
    TR says:

    Sure did seem to be a lot of senior citizens in the “Just Say No!” crowd.

    If they’re so opposed to “government run health care,” we should have them sign forms renouncing their rights to Medicare in full. Put up or shut up, grandpa.

  10. 10
    gizmo says:

    The good news here is that the corporate thugs who are orchestrating these faux outrage incidents have chosen to fight the healthcare battle on very low terrain. By promoting these dipshit winger stunts, they are making the implicit concession that they don’t feel good about the likely outcome of this issue.

  11. 11
    John PM says:

    You better be careful or “Church Lady” will make another appearing and voice her concern that you are hoping for violence.

    On a slightly related matter, I called my Congressman’s office this morning to see if he is going to have any town hall meetings or meetings with constituents. The person who answered the phone said that one is in the planning stages but that nothing has been finalized. I left my name and address and asked to be contacted should something materialize. My Congressman has never announced a meeting the entire time he has been in Congress; rather, from what I have been able to discover, he appears to have a series of invitation-only fundraisers. I really want to ask him about this birther nonsense and his thoughts on health care. I think I may need to make an actual appointment, if that is even possible.

  12. 12
    toujoursdan says:

    More seriously, the number of death threats the President receives has quadrupled, which is straining the Secret Service.

    Telegraph: Barack Obama faces 30 death threats a day

  13. 13
    Hunter Gathers says:

    It’s only a matter of time before these mouth-breathers do something really stupid. Whose bright idea was it to get the birfers involved? Good job, FreedomWorks!

  14. 14
    Zifnab says:

    There is a difference between right-wing protests and left-wing ones in this country, at this point. (I can’t speak for what it was like in the past or in other parts of the world.)

    Remember the “Silent Majority”? Don’t you miss when they knew how to STFU?

    Seriously, did they have anything even resembling a “support-the-war” rally during Vietnam? I assumed it was just a bunch of old dudes drinking high balls at the country club slapping each other on the back.

    By and large, we just dont get all up in people’s grills and shout shit in their faces and boorishly heckle politicans.

    I believe we did pie Bill Kristol.

  15. 15
    28 Percent says:

    Is there any chance we could seed the notion in them that in order to please God and restore democracy they have to coalesce and strike against the godless liberal bailout business regime? Because watching the fallout from that would be teh awesome.

    Now reading: The Family. Most terrifying thing I’ve read since The Shining. Or at least, The Shining would have been that frightening if it had been true.

  16. 16
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’ve witnessed a lot of anti-Iraq war rallies in the general Rochester area, including a pretty large-scale one specifically protesting a Dick Cheney fundraiser, and none had the feeling of anger and general craziness of what I’ve seen from the birfer townhall footage

    Since reconnecting with about a hundred right-wing acquaintances from my childhood on Facebook, I can confirm teh crazy. (My folks were baptist missionaries, we were stepped in fundamentalism and the whole right-wing evangelical culture.)

    I was having a facebook chat with one old friend – she now works in the Pentagon doing web design – and it she got so militantly right-wing and weird, with the whole socialism and tea party nonsense, that I began openly mocking her.

    I haven’t yet come up with a solution or system for dealing with these ‘tards but at this point it looks like nothing but cult deprogramming would work anyway.

  17. 17
    Crashman06 says:

    The media already seems to be spinning this as genuinely concerned, real ‘Murican folks, so I don’t know if it will backfire.

    Although, this astroturfing campaign of seeding chaos among these townhalls is very worrying. I’m afraid something really bad will happen.

  18. 18
    BFR says:

    This junk is all about force amplification. It’s not a tactic you’d employ if you had a large confidence in your relative strength.

    Also, this tactic is polarizing, not persuasive – 15 years ago, you had an effort to convince marginal voters that healthcare reform was bad for them that I just don’t see happening right now. This is all about whipping up a frenzy in the base that will sail right past most of the marginal voters (who likely won’t understand why these nuts are so angry about this).

    Ultimately, I’m not sure that they’re going to have much of an impact on how the debate flows, since they aren’t intended to convince anyone. I’m sure they will help fundraising and voter enthusiasm for the next election cycle though.

  19. 19
    jwb says:

    @Punchy

    “This is what drove me crazy reading TPM last nite, when JMM tried to equate the lack of an equivalent Dem response with Dem indifference or apathy. By and large, we just dont get all up in people’s grills and shout shit in their faces and boorishly heckle politicans.”

    I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised by the intensity of the teabaggers. (The Doggett event happened just up the street.) I don’t think it is indifference or apathy so much as not recognizing the extent of the challenge until it was too late. For me, it didn’t occur to me that these townhall meetings, which I’ve attended before and are usually low-key affairs, would become flash points. In my experience, they are rarely informative, as the representative works hard to answer the questions sympathetically but saying as little substantive as possible, and so generally the meetings are managed so that they produce little if any real news. (And I’d say that whenever they produce actual news, such as the tea-ruptions, that is because some sort of mistake or miscalculation was made.)

  20. 20
    gizmo says:

    Here’s Olbermann calling a Republican Senator a liar to his face.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....-owns-them

  21. 21

    I don’t think there’s that much difference between a left-wing and a right-wing protest; I mean is a giant puppet that different from hanging your congressperson in effigy?

    I thought not.

  22. 22
    Michael G says:

    There is a difference between right-wing protests and left-wing ones in this country, at this point.

    One difference is that the right-wing protest sound bytes will be replayed again and again and again on the 24-hour news channels. “Growing sentiment against health care? We take a ten-second clip of one wacko reciting Drudge-fed talking points and make it sound like that was the thrust of the entire town hall meeting, after the break.”

  23. 23
    donr says:

    Remind me again why Henry Louis Gates was arrested?

  24. 24
    28 Percent says:

    oh shit, wrong persona again. Spoof troll fail.

  25. 25
    TR says:

    Seriously, did they have anything even resembling a “support-the-war” rally during Vietnam?

    Google the term “hard hat riot.”

  26. 26
    SGEW says:

    I mean is a giant puppet that different from hanging your congressperson in effigy?

    Um . . . except for the inherent implications of perpetrating violence against elected legislators, yeah, it’s totally the same.

  27. 27
    TR says:

    Sweet Jesus, Olbermann tore the bark off Thune.

  28. 28

    @SGEW: This is why they call us “lilly livered lefties”; we just don’t have the bloodlust required for peaceful political expression.

    /snark

  29. 29
    Jorge says:

    Seriously, if your BMI is higher than 30 and you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who is eating your way into pre-diabetes, dyslipidemia and hypertension, you should not be allowed to say anything about healthcare. As it stands, treating all the ailments of type 2 diabetics constitutes more than 20% of Medicare costs.

    And where do a disproportionate number of these folks live? Well, the diabetes belt which is the same as the obesity belt which is the same as the Bible belt which is the same as Red America. We should pay for health care with a 1000 percent tax on any food with high fructose corn syrup and all you can eat buffets

  30. 30
    cleek says:

    we know one thing for sure: the professional Republicans have added organized protest to their bag of tricks. the Brooks Bros. thing in FL was just a trial; the tea baggers were a proof of concept – no specific goals, just a test of the system; but this stuff is the system in action: there’s an ostensible goal, an organizational method, and a coordinated media piece. and the MSM is completely unsure of how to cover it. they’re going to treat it as authentic spontaneous uprisings for a long time.

    expect more of this.

  31. 31
    Roger Moore says:

    @Zifnab:

    Seriously, did they have anything even resembling a “support-the-war” rally during Vietnam?

    Yes, they did. I’ve seen some great pictures of a war protest from my alma mater. It was a pro war protest, with the marchers carrying signs with wonderful sayings like, “Char Charlie” and “Drop the Bomb”.

  32. 32
    BFR says:

    we know one thing for sure: the professional Republicans have added organized protest to their bag of tricks. the Brooks Bros. thing in FL was just a trial; the tea baggers were a proof of concept – no specific goals, just a test of the system; but this stuff is the system in action: there’s an ostensible goal, an organizational method, and a coordinated media piece. and the MSM is completely unsure of how to cover it. they’re going to treat it as authentic spontaneous uprisings for a long time.

    expect more of this.

    The Brooks Bros thing had a goal – run out the clock on the election and it worked for that end.

    Healthcare’s not really the same game. Whoever is motivating these efforts may find it difficult to maintain this level of intensity over a period longer than a few weeks -eventually the media will lose interest and move onto something else.

    As I said above, these ambushes aren’t going to convince anyone – just whip the die-hards into a frenzy. I think it’s likely that they will pay off for the GOP in the next election cycle but probably won’t influence the healthcare/cap and trade debates as much as it seems right now.

  33. 33
    28 Percent says:

    Well, the diabetes belt which is the same as the obesity belt which is the same as the Bible belt which is the same as Red America.

    That’s the same as the no-sidewalks belt, the no-bikelanes belt, the no-public transportation belt… there’s more than just eating that makes Southerners fat.

  34. 34
    Not Code Pink says:

    The difference between Code Pink and these people is that Code Pink is ACTUALLY a fringe group. The difference between Birthers and Truthers is that the Truthers are ACTUALLY a fringe group. There was no liberal media industry around to mainstream them, and even if there were, they would not be.

    The meme that “well this is what the liberals did” is so transparent it should be printed on cellophane.

    It is the exact same group of people who went from the Palin rallies to the Tea Parties to this. The look the same, they act the same. They have no ability to make a coherent and persuasive argument. None.

  35. 35
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    we know one thing for sure: the professional Republicans have added organized protest to their bag of tricks.

    To be fair, it took them a while to figure out where the instruction manual for this sort of thing was hidden (sort of like Voldermort seeking after the Elder Wand in Deathly Hallows) and then break in to Richard Nixon’s tomb to dig it out . Now they have it, and if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a…

    And yes, I expect more of this. I recently went back and re-read Perlstein’s Gathering Storm and it all sounds so eerily familar. So far I’d say we’re up to about mid-1961 or so. Obama is busy doing his cautious, tenative JFK impression, and the right is going full metal jacket John Birch Society fruit-loops crazy. Get ready for some serious Purity of Essence before this ride is over. Hopefully we won’t end up with President Palin for our troubles, but I expect anything can happen and some of it probably will.

  36. 36
    me says:

    You know the title should have been “Birfer Madness”, or has that pun already been done?

  37. 37
    Punchy says:

    @Zifnab: But Kristol’s not a polly. I have no prob with pie’ing Coulter, Kristol, etc. But Congressmen? Most progressives respect them, party be dammed.

  38. 38
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    As one who has spent some time in/around trailer parks, these protestors do not appear to live in trailer parks. As one who has attended some of these meetings, and become friends with some of the participants, the typical participant lives in a modest house. This appears consistent with this group.

    That being said, there is nothing wrong with living in a trailer park, as some of these trailers are pretty nice. You can set up a little garden, and there is usually a community area that you can take the kids down to and let them swing. I would much rather live in a trailer park than live in a New York City apartment.

    Another positive aspect of living in a trailer park is that, if things go poorly, and say the currency collapses, trailer park residents, more or less, get along with each other pretty well, and the community would likely get through it, armed as they would be as a stand-alone militia. In contrast, if things went poorly in New York City, people would be eating each other within around two or three days of being cut off from government programs.

    I trust a person who hangs out with people from trailer parks far more than a person who seeks out structural feminists as friends. You can tell that these protests are on the right side of history as the female attendees are, on balance, very attractive.

  39. 39
    JenJen says:

    I live in a pretty interesting area, politically. Just a short jog away, and I’d be in GOP Minority Leader John Boehner’s district. Another short jog away, I’d live in Steve Driehaus’s district; he’s one of the Dems who turned a red district blue by defeating Steve “Combover” Chabot. But, as it turns out, I live in Jean “Patriotic Scrunchie” Schmidt’s district.

    Anyhoo, Driehaus held a town hall last night that was predictably overrun by Teabaggers, as can be seen below:

    http://directorblue.blogspot.c.....ocked.html

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot......aus-d.html

    Our local newspaper managed to interview one person at the Town Hall. She doesn’t live in the Congressman’s district, but she showed up anyway. The #1 Cincinnati News Radio station had been promoting attendance at Driehaus’ town hall event for a day prior.

    Is everyone hearing similar things from their local media? Actual active promoting of town hall disruption, complete with links to local “Tea Party” organizers who provide locations and question lists?

    Saw a lot of this on the blogs yesterday, but only today realized how much the astro-turf has permeated my own, local mainstream media.

  40. 40
    Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon) says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Since reconnecting with about a hundred right-wing acquaintances from my childhood on Facebook
    Yeah FH, same here, except that about 1/2 dozen have now de-acquainted themselves due to my political views. Apparently, they’re free to spout the most vile shit about Obama, but if I chime in, they’re all “Blarghhh!1 Who asked YOU?!”. Good times.

  41. 41
    Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon) says:

    Let me try this again:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Since reconnecting with about a hundred right-wing acquaintances from my childhood on Facebook

    Yeah FH, same here, except that about 1/2 dozen have now de-acquainted themselves due to my political views. Apparently, they’re free to spout the most vile shit about Obama, but if I chime in, they’re all “Blarghhh!1 Who asked YOU?!”. Good times.

  42. 42
    Andy K says:

    How very….Caucasian.

  43. 43
    John PM says:

    @JenJen: #39

    Someone in an earlier thread posted a link to the patriot tea party site showing the dates and locations for various health care town halls. Two upcoming meetings in Chicago will be attended by Congressman Danny Davis, who’s district is primarily African-American. I presume that many of the attendees at these meetings will also be African-American. I would like to see if any of the pro-birther/anti-healthcare crowd come out to these meetings. That would be a good show. As far as I can tell, however, things have been pretty quiet so far in Illinois, so maybe the primary focus now is the East Coast and Southern parts of the country.

    As an aside, the antics at these town hall meetings and John’s earlier post about throwing things at bicyclists are two good reasons against concealed-carry permits.

  44. 44
    freelancer says:

    Wow, not a non-gringo to be found…

  45. 45
    John S. says:

    As one who has spent some time in/around trailer parks

    Given your racist attitude and tendencies towards right-wing paranoia, xenophobia and wingnuttery, I’m shocked by this.

  46. 46
    freelancer says:

    Too bad “batshit insanity” isn’t a disqualifying pre-existing condition.

  47. 47
    Napoleon says:

    I think ultimately this is going to backfire on them. The press is already beginning to pick up on this being astroturf and you had Gibbs pushing back hard at the daily question period that these were Brooks Brother rioters. I think the damage to the Republican Party from completely nuts stuff like this will be costing them for 20 years.

    My worry though is despite all the above that it causes Dems to wimp out when voting for health care.

  48. 48
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Did you suffer a serious brain injury?

  49. 49
    SGEW says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: T.B.I.s are no laughing matter. Anyway, B.O.B. has no disability: he’s just a self-admitted racist asshole.

    Also, as a New Yorker who saw communities pull together in the most extraordinary way during the blackout of 2003 and after 9/11, fuck you Bill.

  50. 50
    MikeJ says:

    I’ll need to check on any local town halls. If the Republicans don’t bring enough batshit crazy on their own, it certainly can be helped along.

  51. 51
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    One thing that is notable about these protests is that they are spontaneous. Axlerod got paid $3 million for his rights to the word ‘Astroturfing’, this $3 million was, of course, not to buy political influence with the Obama Administration. The word ‘Astroturfing’, in and of itself, is worth every penny of that $3 million dollars that Axlerod pocketed.

    But this ‘Astroturfing’ word does not properly describe these protests, at least in my experience. These people really seem to feel strongly about the Constitution on a personal level, and have a desire to defend it. Nobody was given cigarettes in order to compel them to participate in these organizations. Most of them do not smoke to start with.

    Perhaps this is a Caucasian thing. Caucasians do not seem to need community organizers as they evolved in organized societies, and perhaps organization just comes naturally. This would be in contrast with those from Neolithic backgrounds, whose societal organizations typically revolved around an Alpha male. Thus maybe the marketing success in these communities of an image of a male and the word ‘Hope’. This image would also be successful with single women seeking security.

  52. 52
    SGEW says:

    [insert standard formal request for banning Brick Oven Bill for overt racism here]

  53. 53
    harlana pepper says:

    I’m pretty sure all of these people are going to hell.

  54. 54
    Rumproast says:

    All the rage…

    I tweeted the following a few hours ago: I guess I'm one of the few libs who think this screaming teabag rage in August is gonna backfire. Guess we'll see, but it ain't '93. By now you've probably all seen the video of Kathleen…

  55. 55
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I stand up for Bill’s unfettered right to let everyone know he is a bigoted asshat.

  56. 56
    kay says:

    @harlana pepper:

    Well informed. “No government counselor in my home!”

    Okay. Done.

  57. 57
    The Saff says:

    I saw Rachel Maddow’s piece last night and it unnerved me. The folks in the videos don’t look like they’re independently wealthy. They look like the everyday schmucks who vote against their own economic interests by voting Republican election after election.

    That RAM/60 Minutes video that Anne Laurie posted last week should be required viewing for all these “protesters” who don’t want government involved in health care.

    And I agree with DougJ that the “protesters” remind me of the whackjobs who attended Palin’s rallies last fall. Ignorant morons.

  58. 58
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Wow, these people are scary. I too think, these tactics are going to backfire on the GOP. If they don’t, we have much bigger problems than not getting health care reform.

  59. 59
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Hi SGEW, here is a New York City homicide map, courtesy of the New York Times. Add hunger, block a few bridges, and have fun with your neighbors.

    The New York Times includes demographic data on the crime perpetrators and victims, view this information at your own risk SGEW, it could be disturbing. I am surprised that the New York Times included this information.

  60. 60
    Fulcanelli says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    […] Caucasians do not seem to need community organizers as they evolved in organized societies […]

    Yeah Bill, like Mississippi.

    All of ’em down there, just spontaneously rubbing the lotion on themselves with no organization whatsoever…

  61. 61
    gbear says:

    …the feeling of anger and general craziness of what I’ve seen from the birfer townhall footage.

    I’m going to go buy a couple cases of pie tins and Ready-Whip and set up a booth outside of a townhall meeting. Free pies for everyone. This should help put the whole movement into proper perspective.

  62. 62
    gypsy howell says:

    With any luck, this could devolve the same way their astroturfing on privatizing Social Security devolved – the riffraff got confused and started showing up with signs and slogans to eliminate Social Security altogether. Ooops.

    Some enterprising citizens from our side should join the teabagging fray, and show up with signs railing on about getting rid of “socialist government-run Medicare.”

    That’d put a little fear in old Grannie, and force the republicans and blue dogs into their duck-and-cover routine.

  63. 63
    georgia pig says:

    BOB needs to stick to brick ovens and rail electrification. The trailer park metaphor is probably a bit off, however, the parks around here are predominantly hispanic. The teabaggers are more likely from outer suburbs with slapped-together sheetrock and vinyl boxes pretending to be houses, kind of like their health insurance policies pretend to cover something. That, and delusional old farts who think Medicare isn’t a government program. Morons will always be with us, but the right wing’s innovation is to organize idiocy.

  64. 64
    kay says:

    Howard Dean was on the radio with a (former) Blue Dog Democrat, from Texas.
    They limited calls to questions from Democrats, because Democrats are the only people having a debate.
    Screaming “socialist” and “no” over and over isn’t a debate.
    It was good. Informative. I don’t always love Howard Dean., but there’s no one better out there to talk about this subject.

  65. 65
    freelancer says:

    @harlana pepper:

    I’m pretty sure all of these people are going to hell.

    They seem to already live there, except they’re oblivious to that fact. And they’re cheering on the fire and brimstone.

  66. 66
    Glocksman says:

    My ‘Blue Dog’ Congressman is avoiding the Town Hall mob scenes by holding ‘Health Care Office Meetings’.

    In other words for a 12 hour period he and his staff will meet with people who’ve called ahead and scheduled an appointment on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

    To make it even more ‘astroturf riot’ unfriendly, the meetings will be held inside his office inside the local Federal building.

    No cameras or other recording devices are permitted inside the building.

    In other words while we might have a crowd of crackpots outside with signs, they aren’t going to interrupt any meetings between Congressman Ellsworth and his constituents.

  67. 67
    Shinobi says:

    @Jorge:

    You’re so right Jorge. I mean obviously only THIN people (that is people who are described as thin by a bullshit metric made up to track populations and not invividuals) have the right to eat food that they enjoy.

    I mean, if someone with a BMI of 27 goes to McDonalds every day and can’t even walk a quarter of a mile that is one thing. But if a FAT person behaves the same way, well they are clearly on the verge of death and a blatant drain on resources.

    The point I’m trying to make here is demonizing people because of their size is not constructive. Millions of americans have poor eating habits, don’t exercise, and smoke, all of these people are not healthy, but not all of them are fat.

    See also this article discussing studies on weight loss and weight gain and how that relates to natural metabolisms.

    The focus on fat people is a red herring in the health care discussion, and all it is doing in the long run is making life even harder for a group of people who already have it pretty tough. (Most fat people have dieted, and continue to diet, repeatedly, and fail, see linked nytimes article.)

  68. 68
    kay says:

    @Glocksman:

    Good for him. Howard Dean backs the Blue Dog-Waxman compromise, not the Progressive Caucus version.
    He says it’s a better bill.

  69. 69
    lotus says:

    Sam Stein has a good post on how Team O and the DNC plan to turn these loons into ad-fodder, etc.

    And MyLeftNutmeg has a good one from Connecticut:

    … Following the event [Chris] Dodd conducted an interview outside the warehouse and at its conclusion he spotted the handful of protesters across the street and turned to his staff to ask who they were. As he pulled out of the parking lot Dodd pulled up to the protesters and asked if they wanted to discuss the issue with him.
    Jim Bancroft, one of the protesters who is part of the Dump Dodd and Tea Party movements, said Dodd asked if he wanted to talk to him and [Bancroft] declined.
    Bancroft, who is currently uninsured and on disability for a back injury, said if he needs medical attention he will pay for it himself. Estelle Stevenson, another protester who was standing next to Bancroft, said she has health insurance with a $5,000 deductible and had to refinance her mortgage in order to pay her insurance bills. …

    The ad kinda writes itself, hm?

  70. 70
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Shinobi:

    The focus on fat people is a red herring in the health care discussion

    You fat people can’t have a discussion without invoking food, can you?

  71. 71
    cleek says:

    i love red herring. it goes well with wild goose.

  72. 72
    kay says:

    @lotus:

    I would like to ask how many of them are on full or partial SSI disability. I have a feeling….I’d just like to know that.

  73. 73
    gypsy howell says:

    @Glocksman: In other words while we might have a crowd of crackpots outside with signs, they aren’t going to interrupt any meetings between Congressman Ellsworth and his constituents.

    “His constituents” meaning the insurance industry, I suppose? I don’t know anything about Ellsworth, so please correct me if I’m jumping to conclusions here, but I wonder how easy it is for your average citizen to get an appointment — or has his whole dance card been filled with lobbyists, in which case, why bother with astroturfing?

  74. 74
    Switters says:

    the peasants will never be able to comprehend the peasant-mentality

    poor people convinced to argue against higher taxes for the rich

    uninsured people convinced to argue against trying to provide universal health insurance

    how do you combat that

  75. 75
    Glocksman says:

    @gypsy howell:

    I dunno.
    His website says that the meetings are scheduled on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

    I applied for one myself, so we’ll see.

  76. 76
    Napoleon says:

    @gypsy howell:

    Ellsworth is the muslim that was sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s Koran.

  77. 77
    mcc says:

    What concerns me is the question of how groups like OFA can respond to this. We have more “people power” than they do– we proved it last year– but our people power is committed to constructive dialogue within the democratic system, and they are trying to shut the system down rather than allow it to fall to the Democrats. That means they don’t need as many people as we have. They just need enough to get a heckler’s veto. And I can’t figure out what our people do in response. We could shout them down, if we wanted, but that just serves their ends– it’s ultimately ourselves we’re shouting down. These kinds of town halls, meet-with-your-Congressman type events are what the pro-health-reform side has been hoping and agitating for for months. The other side’s goal is to disrupt this, and we can’t stop this by propagating the disruption.

    There’s lots of established practices for how a peaceable protest group can disempower an institution, but this is a new one on me. How can a peaceable protest group neutralize a mob-like protest group?

  78. 78
    mcc says:

    @Napoleon: Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) is the muslim that was sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s Koran.

    Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) is a Blue Dog and Roman Catholic. His occupation is currently listed on WIkipedia as “law enforcement; being awesome”.

  79. 79
    Shinobi says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You should come to some of our parties. Everybody gets a box of a dozen baby flavored donuts, and that’s just the appetizer.

  80. 80
    Napoleon says:

    @mcc:

    Duh! Thanks.

  81. 81
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If four crazy brown guys can knock down the world trade center towers, imagine the damage that can be wreaked by hundreds or perhaps even thousands of crazy white people.

  82. 82
    Anne Laurie says:

    The good news here is that the corporate thugs who are orchestrating these faux outrage incidents have chosen to fight the healthcare battle on very low terrain. By promoting these dipshit winger stunts, they are making the implicit concession that they don’t feel good about the likely outcome of this issue.

    Big Pharma and Pig Insurance are hoarding their dollars for the “very serious” anti-reformists at the top of the political food chain… with maybe a few extra open-bar information events for Media Village Idiots like Broder and McArdle. (I wonder how much extra McArdle’s fiance, the professional astroturfer, will see in his paycheck as the result of Megan’s strident defense of the status quo?) When it comes to the sad, frightened, low-information lusers wagging misspelt signs, well, why pay for milk when the cow’s been bvllshitted into giving it away for free?

  83. 83
    Ash Can says:

    @John PM:

    I would like to see if any of the pro-birther/anti-healthcare crowd come out to these meetings. That would be a good show.

    I was thinking the same thing. If a bunch of lily-white Jim-Oberweis-wannabes from DuPage County were to pile into one of these meeting halls, it would be awfully obvious what was going on. Of course, they wouldn’t be bright enough to let a little thing like being so obviously fake as to be laughable stop them from doing it. They’d just say that all the folks telling them to go the hell home and badger their own damned congressmen were reverse racists, and that they had every right to be there, and shut up, that’s why.

  84. 84
    SpotWeld says:

    The Tea Bag protests are not protests driven from within.

    I’m not sure how to state this. But at the anti-war rallies, the people there went in with a specific mission; to state thier diesire for the US’s invlovement in Iraq to end. Because of that desire, and the methods they employed, they ended up exhibiting the characteristics of a protest. Cause and effect..

    The Tea Bag protests, they have the feeling of people going though the motions with the intent of producing a specific appearance, not a specific message.

    They have the goal of reproducing that “protest apperance” that the anti-war rallies showed, but they lack the interalized singular desire.

    Effect and effect. It’s disjointed and wierd.

  85. 85
    bob h says:

    “The crowd has the same trailer park vibe I got from some of the crazier Palin rallies in the ‘08 election.”

    You would undoubtedly find that many of them are unemployed and have no health insurance, and that some of them might be in bankruptcy proceedings.

  86. 86
    DonkeyKong says:

    All I can say is now the Right has their own A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition.

  87. 87
    chuck says:

    If BoB isn’t going to be outright banned, can we at least get a two-week vacation from his blatant racist trolling?

  88. 88
    Bootlegger says:

    @Fulcanelli: And don’t forget the Serb’s community organizing, those cats know how to organize!

    The video shows a tough coalition of the old and fat….and loud I suppose. A couple hours in the sun would wreak havoc on that crowd.

  89. 89
    Bootlegger says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    These people really seem to feel strongly about the Constitution on a personal level

    Yet oddly enough they have no problem with police arresting people for speaking freely in their own homes.
    Just sayin’.

  90. 90
    Olly McPherson says:

    I also find BoB’s racism on this thread to be disturbing.

  91. 91
    SteveCan says:

    Where are all the people in favor of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Healthcare program? Where are the union people?
    Where are the people who don’t have insurance? Where are the business owners who are being strangled by insurance costs?

  92. 92
    Mike G says:

    Every time a congressman calls a town meeting now, the people show up and it’s like—I don’t know—- it’s like Iran! It’s like the streets of Tehran!

    In that the flat-birthers are the basiji, street thugs hired to disrupt the proceedings by powerful interests for the status quo.

    You’ll never get away with giving me another health insurance option, you…you soshulusts!!!

  93. 93
    drillfork says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Holy shite you just reminded me about that author on the TDS last night who said that since it’s been folded into DHS, the Secret Service is taking all these unbeliveable shortcuts.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa.....ld-kessler

  94. 94
    Travis says:

    @chuck: Chuck, if you’re at all technical, I highly recommend adding the user filters that Cleek wrote: here

    I never see anything that BOB writes anymore, it’s always a fun comment about pie. Everyone wins!

    Whether he’s real or a spoof troll, he is indefatigable and hateful, and I just don’t want to see anything he writes, ever again.

  95. 95
    Tax Analyst says:

    28 Percent said:
    “Now reading: The Family. Most terrifying thing I’ve read since The Shining. Or at least, The Shining would have been that frightening if it had been true.”

    Well that’s a bit of a coincidence. Earlier today a colleague mentioned he saw the movie “Public Enemy” over the weekend and he mentioned that he thought Michael Mann made a mistake in assuming the younger parts of the audience would pick up on some of the gangster name references, and I mentioned Alvin Karpis, and he said, “exactly”. Then I recalled a different conversation we had yesterday about Charles Manson (concerning the alleged note Manson had sent to Phil Spector asking him to help put together song music stuff, since they were now not only bold musical innovaters, but also slammer-mates as well) and so I mentioned as a bit of trivia aside that Karpis knew Manson from McNeil Island Penitentiary and that Manson had picked up a lot of his pimp & con schtick while serving at McNeil. And the reason I knew about that? Well, a long, long time ago (about 1975, I think) I read it in “The Family”. Yes, that book is indeed terrifying. I remember getting up to check my windows and front door the first time I read it. I think it was around the chapters where Sanders was discussing weird SoCal cults of the era and some of their alleged rituals.

    I remember that prior to reading that book I was plenty ready to assume Manson was set up by “The Man” and was just an innocent-bystanding hippy-type. I was soon convinced that we were all better off with him securely locked up someplace for as long as possible.

  96. 96
    ksmiami says:

    Actually I think their ugly tactics will have the opposite effect of what is intended. There are more sane and measured Americans than the 28%ers and this is actually bolstering democratic unity in the face of these effin fascists so I think the policy outcomes will be better. Not to mention that screaming, ugly crowds are rather chilling and unable to convert a single moderate.

  97. 97
    CalD says:

    My suggestion to Democrats would be to rent a PA system for these events — one that can get really loud.

  98. 98
    Glocksman says:

    Update:

    About an hour after I emailed Ellsworth’s office, a staffer called me back in order to set up an appointment.

    I have 15 minutes with him at 12:45PM Thursday afternoon.

    Are there any serious questions I should ask, or should I just state my support for a ‘public option’ and if needed, the tax increases to fund it?

    As for Ellsworth’s wikipedia page, I don’t know about the ‘being awesome’ part, but he was a Sheriff’s Deputy and was twice elected County Sheriff before defeating John Hostettler back in 2006.

  99. 99
    gypsy howell says:

    @Glocksman:
    Fantastic! What the hell, you might as well go all in, and say that you support a “Medicare-For-All” system. Won’t happen this time around, but it would be good if our reps at least heard that their constituents want it.

    (Assuming you want it of course, glockman)

  100. 100
    Dan says:

    At about 1:15 it looks like there’s some Nazi imagery on one of the signs. Classy!

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    All the rage…

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