How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mobs

A town hall is an ugly thing.

Now that political theater has descended into comic anarchy, we suspect public opinion will take care of itself. God bless Republicans — they always overplay their hand.

Health Debate Turns Hostile at Town Hall Meetings [NYT]

Holy shit, that video is terrifying on the NYT site. They’re animals. They’re feral. They scare me. And they sadden me – they can’t see they’re being used.

@Dodgerblue: It’s more like, I never understood the mentality of the crowd, the desire they had, to watch people being fed to lions in the Coliseum. Now, I do.


Its getting better. The turn-around time for the actual clueless media to get on a story like this is now a real statistic. Before it was academic how long it would take before they got a clue, if they ever even did at all.

Think about that. This tactic is now already under fire, and people are gathering just the right info about how it works and who is perpetrating it, with one GOP plant already exposed.

Now if someone could identify some of these people and figure out whether or not they have Medicaid or whatever…that would be real helpful.

@RZ: Most of them have Medicare, and a fair portion probably have Medicaid.

At one point do these folks cross the line from free speech to incitement to violence? Brandenburg v. Ohio isn’t that helpful in drawing a clear line, but I think hanging effigies and telling people to bring their guns is coming close to crossing it.

@SanFranLefty: Prob a lot of them getting SSI for mental problems.

@Dodgerblue: I doubt it, as that would imply that they recognize they have a problem and are seeking treatment for it. If they’re getting SSI it’s for their early-onset diabetes and back injuries.


I would assume there are some Veterans (or other military) benefits as well.

Would be nice to know for sure and challenge someone on that.

In any event, I also thought last night that the feral wolves had probably attacked too soon. Just when I was telling the missus that Barry had fumbled by not delivering before the recess, I began to wonder: is this one of those poker matches Nojo always tells us about?.

Tal vez time for Catstick and Jumbo Boy (three sheets and nearly half a case of Yeungling black and tan to the wind. L’chaim!)

@The Nabisco Quiver: I don’t know that Barry (or anyone) gets any credit for foresight on this one — if anything, it’s his fault the message has become so muddied. He’s the one person capable of getting in front of this issue, and starting with “let Congress do it” didn’t help matters.

If anything, the organizers — corporate and political — lost control of the mob. It was supposed to be loud and noisy — the grassroots respond! — but not loud and noisy and violent. “Everyday Americans”, the target audience for the show, don’t care for that.

Meanwhile, thought I’d amuse myself by dropping in on a local show, but I was thwarted: Susan Davis is phoning in her town halls.

One thing we all do is imply much higher levels of control and foresight to these political actors than is warranted.

Can’t think of a great example off the top of my head, but the formula is basically “X could have gotten Y done quicker, but he delayed in order to achieve some other goal”

This implies high levels of confidence in the eventual result. I suggest the real world is rarely that certain.

The bird, buffeted by competing winds, may appear to be doing a sublime dance to us. And she won’t clue us in, either.

Meanwhile, back at the Obama mailing list…

As you’ve probably seen in the news, special interest attack groups are stirring up partisan mobs with lies about health reform, and it’s getting ugly. Across the country, members of Congress who support reform are being shouted down, physically assaulted, hung in effigy, and receiving death threats. We can’t let extremists hijack this debate, or confuse Congress about where the people stand.

Office Visits for Health Reform are our chance to show that the vast majority of American voters know that the cost of inaction is too high to bear, and strongly support passing health reform in 2009.

Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before. The congressional staff is there to listen, and your opinion as a constituent matters a lot. And if you bring a friend, you’ll have more fun and make an even greater impact.

Well, fine. But YouTube fistfights are more fun.

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