Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Best Moments

Josh Marshall looks at some of the healthcare teabaggery that’s gone on over the last week. Some of the moments have been boisterous, but some have gotten ugly with personal attacks on senators and some not-so-subtle racial overtones.

High on the list has to be the group of Tea Baggers who hanged an effigy of Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) from a noose in front of his district office a few weeks ago. Then there was the case yesterday where a few folks at a tea bag protest outside a townhall meeting in Hartford called on Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) to commit suicide as a way to cure his recently diagnosed prostate cancer. And even though it lacked any clear appeal to the murder of public officials or even a good suicide joke, I’m still pretty fond of this case on Tuesday where the head of the local Tea Party group up in Rome, New York just started yelling ‘liar’ over and over at a clearly befuddled and caught off guard Steny Hoyer.

It’s hard not to get the sense that the longer this goes on the more cases you’re going to have where some of these good folks let slip what they really think of Barack Obama.

In all the shouting, though, I have yet to hear anyone offer any other alternative plans for insurance reform or how to get the uninsured the coverage they need. As Steve Benen notes, if you can’t win the debate, you try to shut it down.

There’s also the unintended irony of the shouters just following the script and not knowing what they’re talking about. Certainly they are up to speed on all the scare tactics and distortions, but they also don’t know what they’ve got.

Last night, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) hosted a rowdy town hall meeting to discuss health care reform. Fox’s local Houston affiliate reporter, Duarte Geraldino, reported that he talked to the participants and found that “some attendees admit they don’t live in the district.” How did they get there? Geraldino noted “an internet campaign” by far right activists urging their allies to attend and heckle Democratic Representatives.


During the town hall, one conservative activist turns to his fellow attendees and asks them to raise their hands if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Almost all the hands shot up. Rep Green quickly turned the question on the audience and asked, “How many of you have Medicare?” Nearly half the attendees raised their hands, failing to note the irony.

It’ll get ya every time.