I was irritated - no, infuriated! - by an article on Politico today.
Angry protesters shouted down Democrats at public events from Texas to Pennsylvania over the weekend, leaving the party only one real hope for getting its message out over recess: a backlash.
In Austin, Texas, Rep. Lloyd Doggett was drowned out by a group of noisy, sign-waving demonstrators who shouted, “Just say no” as he tried to talk about health care reform.
In an e-mail to POLITICO Monday, Doggett called the group a “mob, sent by the local Republican and Libertarian parties” that “came not just to be heard but to deny others the right to be heard.”
. . .
For Democrats, that’s precisely the problem: Their ability to make their case on health care at public events during the August recess is mostly in the hands of the people who turn out for the events. And if those people want to be disruptive — especially en masse — there’s not much the Democrats can do about it.
“Town halls have become town hells,” said Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. “Special interests and opponents have figured out how easy it is to disrupt town halls and get their own message out. The days of the truly free-form town halls may be over.”
Democratic leaders aren’t quite ready to say that yet. Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Assistant to the Speaker Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), said House leaders are urging their members to continue holding public sessions, even if it means they’ll be shouted down and have it all replayed on YouTube.
“We have encouraged our members to use everything in their arsenal to communicate with their constituents,” said Thornell. “They know what works best in their districts. More than anything, they have to stay on the offense and not get distracted by stupid Republican gimmicks.”
There's more at the link.
What infuriates me is the blithe assumption by those concerned that the protesters at these meetings must necessarily be 'planted' by the Republican Party or other opposition groups. I don't know about other areas, but around here, the opposition to Obamacare is universal. Irrespective of whether they're Democrats, Republicans or Independents, most people simply don't like what they're hearing, don't trust the politicians to do their best for them, and are profoundly suspicious of the whole imbroglio.
To write off the protests as 'stupid Republican gimmicks' is to ignore the voice of the American people as a whole. When will these professional politicians realize that you can push people just so far - and then they're going to push back? If they try to ram Obamacare through, against the wishes of their constituents, because they think they 'know better', there'll be a price to be paid at the next elections.