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August 7th, 2009
06:35 AM ET

Avlon: 'Wingnuts' confuse patriotism with hyper-partisanship

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="William Jefferson (L) and Bob MacGuffie (R)."]

Politics is getting heated in the month of August, as health care debates cause the "tea party" activists to hijack town halls and a former Democratic congressman finds himself heading to the cooler for corruption. It’s all in this edition of "Wingnuts of the Week."

Cartoonish corruption is a stereotype often associated with big city Democrats from Boss Tweed to Rod Blagojevich. Former New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson officially entered the "ring of dishonor" this week with his conviction of using his public office to enrich himself.

The eight-term Democratic Congressman and member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee was accused of having taken more than $400,000 in bribes tied to business ventures in Africa, including an infamous $90,000 in cold, hard cash found in his home freezer.

Undaunted by the evidence and embarrassment, Jefferson ran for re-election in 2008 and was defeated despite his attempts to play the victim of a government sting.

Jefferson's lawyer offered the defense that his client was stupid and unethical, but not criminal. The jury decided otherwise.

During the trial, Mr. Jefferson's team also tried to play the race card by arguing that the congressman was disadvantaged by the trial's location in Virginia, where the cold cash was found. While the congressman’s wife was at his side during all six weeks of the trial, it appears that she was still being paid for her position at a state college in Louisiana – adding insult to the taxpayers’ injury.

Sentencing will proceed in October, but it's likely that former Rep. Jefferson will be joining his money in the cooler for a long time.

On the right, the "tea party" movement is taking to the town halls as congressmen face angry activist constituents during the summer recess. The curtain was pulled back on these organized efforts in the form of a wingnut memo written by Connecticut grassroots conservative activist Bob MacGuffie.

Titled “Rocking the Town Halls – Best Practices” and written under the banner of MacGuffie’s group “RightPrinciples” – the memo seeks to teach people how to disrupt the town halls held in support of what is called “the socialist agenda of the Democrat leadership in Washington.”

In a perfect wingnut irony, the memo counsels conservatives to “Use the [Saul] Alinsky playbook of which the left is so proud: freeze it, attack it, personalize it and polarize it.”

“The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive…you need to rock the boat early. Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Reps statements’ early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses – call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow up with a shout out…Look for these opportunities even before he takes questions.” Beyond barraging the congressmen, the stated goal is to intimidate the undecided: “We want the independent thinkers to leave the hall with some doubts about the Democrat solutions continually proposed by the national leadership.”

This is politics as an ideological bloodsport, where civility is the first calculated casualty. And things are starting to get ugly, with Maryland Congressman Frank Kratovil being hung in effigy outside his office, Congressman Tim Bishop having to be escorted to his car by police after one town hall and North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller deciding to cancel his August town halls after receiving a death threat. Protesters against Connecticut senator Chris Dodd suggested that he commit suicide with whiskey and painkillers as a treatment for his newly disclosed prostate cancer. One sign at that rally summed up the fear-mongering: “universal health care = equals medical genocide.” Needless to say, neither universal health care or genocide is being contemplated in the current bills. As freshman Virginia Representative Gerry Connolly said, “They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.”

But Democrats make a mistake if they think conservative populist outrage over health care and the unprecedented government spending is artificial and canned. It is genuine, building off the kind of deficit hawk frustration that gave rise to the Ross Perot’s independent campaign in 1992. But those activists who are trying to stir the pot of hysteria and hatred toward our elected representatives are playing a dangerous game. They are confusing patriotism with hyper-partisanship.

In a bonus round of "Wingnuts of the Week," here’s a headline that caught my attention: “Bacon as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.” In an article from the Indypendent, explicated on the network Democracy Now, columnist Arun Gupta details the explosion in park consumption fueled by industrial farming. The controversy as detailed in the recent documentary “Food, Inc.” is complex and not uninteresting, but with hysterical headlines like that you can’t help but think that the wingnut PC police are coming for your bacon next. Enjoy your breakfast while you can.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.

Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Max

    "Connecticut grassroots conservative activist Bob MacGuffie.."

    The memo you site was 'modified' by the talking points memo website to make it more sinister than it actually was. But I'm guessing CNN is failing to actually follow up and research their reporting.

    Beyond that, I don't remember anyone at CNN complaining about people throwing pies at president Bush or Oreos at Michael Steele. Nor to I recall CNN commentators worrying over the similar activities of liberal activists against Republican Congressman during the 2005 attempt at fixing social security.

    Got Hypocrisy CNN?

    August 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  2. zach

    Hey "justme", did you ever stop to think that maybe our elected representatives ARE listening to you, but not JUST you? Obama was elected, fairly and overwhelmingly, on a number of things. One of the biggest things being Health Care reform and some sort of public Health Care system to cover the millions of Americans who are without coverage. So just because they may not be listening to YOUR point of view specifically, doesnt mean they arent listening. The American people made it pretty clear in November what they wanted to have happen, and our President made no secret of the fact that he was going to do this. You guys lost, deal with the consequences.

    August 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  3. Ed Hollis

    My mother was just denied health care coverage due to a pre-existing condition this past week. Yet, she maintains that she is against "socialized" medicine. It seems to me that many of these people complaining about a public option for health care are the very people that the system hurts the most. Republicans have been masters at manipulating social issues such as gun control and abortion to get what they want on many other issues. Shame on all of you out there that support denying health care coverage to any person. Hopefully, you are not calling yourselves Christian! My parents are hardworking Americans too and deserve something better. This current greed filled health system makes me sick to call myself an American! It is time for a change.

    August 7, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  4. docb

    Read Steven Pearlsteins column on the GOP Healthcare scam...

    It goes almost point for point!

    And remind the screamers that Insurance Co profits have risen 428% since 2000 and Healhcare lobbyists are pouring $1.4 million a day into the congressional coffers...

    Shameless lies and scare tacics by the GOP and the Healht care industry !

    August 7, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  5. TIm

    I find it amusing how people will try to convince you that they and a few of their friends just decided to show up and "voice their concerns", despite the fact that the timing, content, and tactics used are all exactly the same, and are found on the propaganda websites they claim to not be directed by. Not to mention the fact that voicing concerns seems to be comprised entirely of loudly espousing "facts" not in evidence, and then shouting down or threatening anyone else who would like to speak. Sounds very little like concern, and more like blocking discussion, you know, that part where people voice their concerns...

    Also, I find it hilarious that someone would decry a political action group (in this case Unions) sending in an organized group to disrupt another group of people, when that group of people is in fact an organized group sent in by a political action group to disrupt another group.

    There is apparently a sad lack of understanding of the words irony, hipocrisy, honesty, or civility...

    August 7, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  6. keith A. Sillsbury

    Actually, what the repugs are doing at these townhall meetings can and will end them in jail starting with those doing the actions of disorderly conduct, threating behavior and disturbing the peace. Once they've been arrested i'm sure they'll rat out the organizers pretty quickly being that they don't have any back bone.If they had a leg to stand on then this behavior would have never even started in the first place. People who don't have an argument always start a fight.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  7. grammarian

    Sounds like white trash.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  8. J. Richter

    Shouting and death threats is not democracy!

    Refusing to allow others voice their own opinion is not democracy!

    Shutting down debate is not democracy!

    Dissent based on outright lies is stupid (euthanasia is in the bill)!

    How else can you be heard without shouting? Ask questions! Make your point!

    August 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  9. cedgar

    Have all Congress repre. and Senator's bring all copies of every bill
    (there are what at least 4-5) to the meetings
    Then they need to go over each one and answer questions!
    I m sure we all would like our leaders to really know what they
    are trying to pass.
    However they can not even take the time to educate voters because
    they have NO clue what is in any of the bills.
    Hey this is not me stating they do not have time or would understand
    the bills I believe we have heard from some leaders about this
    exact topic. Or like Sector stated "we have to react FAST" that is
    a bunch of BS

    August 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  10. Tim

    There are questions that need to be asked that Democrats keep ducking, and if town hall meetings are the only way to get them answered, I don't much care if it's being orchestrated or not. We need to see numbers, not vague generalizations from politicians. I've had it up to the eyeballs with some lawyer in DC (Republican or Democrat) telling me to trust them.

    You tell me this will save money, fine. Show me the numbers.

    You tell me this won't contribute to the deficit, fine. Show me the numbers.

    You tell me this won't raise my taxes, fine. Show me the numbers.

    Rock the Vote, ACORN, are all organizations that under Bush provided solidarity and a voice to those who wanted questions answered, and why shouldn't they? These, however, were massive in scope and publicity. All I see here is one memo I had never heard of until ten minutes ago. Those who think that is enough to consolidate and direct concerted action on the scale being discussed in this article have clearly never tried to organize even a block party before. It takes a hell of a lot more than that. Further, and finally, I am offended by any journalist, lawyer, or pissant blogger who says that any group, left, right, or center does my thinking for me. I went to grade school, I took arithmetic, and I want answers to which I apparently not entitled. What I'm supposed to do, I guess, is shut up, drink my Koolaid, and start cutting checks for Uncle Sam.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  11. Hilda

    Did any of you (writers) see the pictures on the news of the people who attended these meetings. They were your grandparents, veterans and other concerned people. Who is being brainwashed here?? I'm not against healthcare for everyone. I would love to see it happen, BUT NOT IN THE WAY THAT ITS WRITTEN AT THIS TIME.
    Read, if you can find it anyway, what is proposed for your healthcare.
    Do we really want health procedures to be denied to those over 60?
    Do you want to pay, out of your pocket for every illegal immigrant to have healthcare? Sounds like a good way to get rid of those on SS, which by the way you are aging also, like it or not, and will encourage more people to cross the border illegally. Making people dependent on government is not the way to go. Regulate insurance co., it wont cost any of us a dime.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  12. What goes around comes around

    What goes around comes around. The libtards in this nation have mocked, disrupted, and complained about everything Bush ever did. The democrat party is a pro at manufacturing anger. vietnam protests, gun control. You name and the liberals are ready to spread fear and panic into everyones soul. Now when concerned citizens are voicing their opinions its the republicans fault. They won't let the meeting be carried out. They are mocking obama. The almighty obama can do no wrong, why don't they understand this? We don't understand this because his idea of change has been to spend over 4 trillion dollars WE DON'T HAVE! Where is his cutting the spending?

    And do any of you see a problem with the government having their health care competting with other private insurance companies when the govt regulates it all?

    August 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  13. Jack

    I found it very interesting these articles concerning these grassroots uprisings of common Americans who are both Democrat and Republican are not on the home page of CNN. Rather they are obscured and mixed in on a seperate tab that you have to search for. I guess CNN views these stories as less important that Jermain Jackson's interview. I used to consider CNN a one of the most unbiased and best news sources out there. I guess it's time to find a more credible news source.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  14. B. Szakacs

    The defenders of the STATUS-QUO are mostly those who live well and profit enormously from the system dictated by insurance giants. They warn us that government bureaucrats will decide our healthcare options (in place of fat cat insurance company bureaucrats). We in the US spend more on healthcare than any other developed country, why? To support the luvrative life styles of the insurance and pharmaceutical executives and their associates.
    It is well known that the insurance lobby is spending about 1.4 million dollars per day to promote their lucrative way of life. If we really want to save a lot of money, we must stop listening to their lies and remove the profit motive from healthcare.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  15. Orangie

    ender – I think you got it backwards. The folks hijacking the system are those radicals now in charge. Have a peaksy at the biographies on your Czars. I am not a republican or democrat, yet I want to let my congressman know that I'm very concerned about the direction of this country on a host of issues. And if the GOP or insurance companies or orchestrating this, they're doing a poor job – I can't even find out when or where to go until its already happened. The RNC website has not info on any of this...wouldn't that be a good start for getting the word out if they were behind it? This is about concerned Americans voicing their opinions. I know because I'm one of them...nobody put me up to this. No body bought me a t-shirt or made me a sign. I found out about these gatherings through facebook , emails, friends and co-workers...that defines grassroots.

    August 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  16. amc

    I think we are all (or at least I thought) more mature and enlightened a citizenry then to resort to labeling people "brownshirts" as Bill on August 7th, 2009 7:30 am ET posted.

    Please people, the Holocaust and Nazi Germany are events that cannot be likened to what is happening in the US. Please pick up a history book and read about WWII and Germany in the run up to WWII to gain context and understanding of the events that took place.

    It is absolutely demeaning to anyone who had family members or has family members who lived through those time periods to be banting around such phrases as one would call some one an "idiot" or "moron."

    This level of discourse is dispicable and so beneath us as a society.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  17. Orangie

    The problem with healthcare today is that we don't pay for it directly, our insurance companies do. Because of that, there is no responsibility or accountability for outrageous health costs. The Drs bill the insurance companies, the insurance companies pay the bloated health costs and then turn around and bill the large pool of population premiums for insurance to cover their costs. Adding govt into the mix doesn't solve that problem, it only exacerbates it. The public option will undercut private insurance because its not there to make money – it will be a money loser, but don't worry, the taxpayers will pick up the tab. How can private insurance in business to actually make money compete with a govt model that is designed to lose money? So, all you folks saying that this wont lead to single payer – WAKE UP! Once single payer kicks in, whoa nelly! Just take a look at what Ezekiel Emmanuel (Rohm's bro and obama's pick for advising on Health Care policy) has instore with his ideas for preferential treatment based on age – scary stuff. And he is advising on health care policy.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:56 pm |

    It's a shame that people are being duped out of a healthcare bill that will help them........As usual, the GOP has many followers that vote against their own self interest. What a pity!!!

    August 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  19. Huey Long

    This old yellow dog Democrat has had enough of my weak kneed brethren letting these yelping Republicans intimidating them. If elected Democrats cannot respond to these pitiful howiling americans in a way that shows backbone, their support amongst the populace will start to wither.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  20. m2h

    I am insulted by this article – I am not a right wing nut – I don't know anything about some guy in Connecticut – I do know that I don't want to have my insurance changed to a public option. I've spent time reading and researching – I oppose the plan and have every right to stand up an say so. I really don't understand why the media can't understand that we are just Americans that read bills (wish our representatives did) and know what's coming down the pike if we start down this terrible road.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  21. mary

    I'm just hysterically laughing. You liberals have some form of memory loss. Tony Snow was sick and fighting cancer and the liberals were saying they looked forward to his death. You continued to hope for Bush's death. Attacked Sarah Palin and her family (remember calling her infant not hers) just because she is pro life and spoke as a regular citizen. You are the most hypocritical and hateful group I ever witnessed. The Democrats moto – Death to babies, death to the old and death to the lame.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  22. beckyeah

    Why is the media so concerned abou the so-called "organized" right at these meetings? Where was their concern when communities on the left "organized" to protest the war? Where was their concern when Obama told supporters to "get in their face" of republicans during the campaign? Why don't they denounce the tactics of Code Pink and ACORN, who do the same stuff all the time? Seems like an obvious double standard here. So what happens when a Union member beats up another person who is anti-Obama health care? I see CNN doesn't even have a story on this. CNN is so concerned about the "ginned-up" angst at these meetings, but when Union rep.s show up and beat a guy sensless they don't have a thing to say. Great journalism CCN!

    August 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  23. jg penn

    As a Conservative and a Republican, I do support open peaceful discussions on the issues. Although, radio talkshows (which I do listen to) certainly spotlight an issue with intensity, but no one is enticed to be disruptive.
    What contributes to unrest, alienation, and disruption, is being shutout of discussion. Your News Organizations, as well as, some others routinely show a bias virtually anything conservative. The contrast between your coverage of liberal groups and ideas as opposed to those more conservative is obvious.
    Where is your outrage or "concern" when the President suggests that his supporters start tracking and reporting who the opponents are? Where is your investigative interest of reports of "henchmen" preventing opposition entry into town halls? You do report on concerns that the terms and symbols of the Nazis have been used. But, what other parallel is most fitting?

    As to my point about your Organization, I see you have a Poll on your Website "gathering support" to prosecute or it is persecute the Bush Administration officials.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  24. Bisqueen23

    I don't have a problem with these crazy people screaming and disrupting meetings. This is, after all, the United States. I just have one question for all of these crazy people – What is your suggestion for healthcare? No – you don't get to say leave it alone. I want the same healthcare that my employees (The US Congress) have for the same cost. So, wingnuts, tell me, how are you going to provide that?

    August 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  25. Mrs...

    people keep spouting off about the republicans, but think about this for a second....the Dems have the majority right now. If they wanted this bill passed through, it would have been already. The republicans aren't the ones stopping it. Also, this isn't just about "health car for all"'s also about the little things shoved in there – like MANDATORY ABORTION COVERAGE. I don't care what side of the fence you are on (pro-life or pro-choice), the national government should be taking taxpayers money to cover abortions.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  26. Kate in SW Fla

    You are 100% wrong. It is the right that is doing the intimidating. The KKK is in a new heyday and people are vicitms of past abuses are starting to be very afraid. The problem is that these hyper partisans are being fed ridiculous exxagerations and falsehoods yet, because they want to, they believe it. No one is trying to have the government take over health care, euthanize grannys or ration care. This is a complete fabrication, completely and totally wrong. When someone tries to explain the reality to these hecklers, they are called liars and tyrants. These people believe radio and TV entertainers, but no one else. It would be funny, if it wasn't so dangerous.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  27. Proud Pagan in VA

    @ Kevin in Dallas, who said: "I love how so many people are dismissing these people because they’re protesting against a proposed government takeover of health care. Democracy dies when the people who disagree don’t count."

    Of course the people who disagree should count. HOWEVER, the people who disagree, yet act like spoiled brats who didn't get dessert obviously cannot think rationally and maturely, thus they SHOULD NOT be included. ...and in the case of ANY spoiled brats, I firmly believe "time out" is worthless, while a good spanking is usually in order.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  28. Some guy some where

    What a bit of sloppy reporting. News flash the "memo" wasn't written by Bob MacGuffie but was in fact invented by Liberal bloggers. If you did your research you'd know that, the same goes for some of the sites that are "organizing" these protest. A lot of the so called "evidence" that links republicans to the protests is invented by desperate Liberals and Democrats. In Fact the President should be on here for organizing his "thugs" to go to these meetings to "confront" the opposition. The escalation in violence now is due to non other then the President.

    Get your facts straight bud.

    Have a nice day

    August 7, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  29. Mark Stiber

    Why is it if a person disagrees with the present administration that it must be staged? Just because I do not agree with Nancy Pelosi’s health care plan does not mean I am Astroturf, it does not mean that I am less intellectual than she and it certainly does not mean that my opinion is not valid. Why is it unreasonable to think that the government that has given us social security, Medicaid, Medicare, the VA and the post office is incapable of controlling a health care system that will be 20% of the US economy? Why is it unreasonable to expect our elected representatives actually read this bill before passing it?
    If protests against present administrations are all staged then I guess President Bush was not near as unpopular as the democrats would have had us believe.

    Why is it that if people are against a democratic issue they are viewed
    as mob-like, but if anti-war protesters are out there then thats
    democracy in action., this is so hypocritical!!

    How can it be possible to know which it is without knowing who the protesters are. People who claim it’s orchestrated should be challanged by the media to name names and affiliations or to provide other proof of their claims. Vague and general accusations without specifics are nothing more than plays out of the Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” playbook aimed at the naive.

    What hubris for the democrats to try to explain any opposition to their agenda as “mobs.” This is the mobilization of a citizenry at its best. Normally the democrats love this but I guess they only like it when it happens by them and not when it happens to them.

    If anyone has seen any footage from these town halls they are filled with veterans, elderly men and women, and even registered democrats so it is ridiculous to think that these people are set up by the GOP, its pretty tough to get actors that good. The DNC are always trying to come up with excuses to opposition to their horrible programs. You never heard from the GOP when people where protesting the war in Iraq or protesting against George W Bush did you? Its called the first amendment and now stated on the white house blog they are asking citizens to report “fishy” statements from people to the Whitehouse that are against Barack’s Health Care.

    we have as U.S. President a "community organizer". Whose campaign organization has emailed "talking points" to its loyalists about accusing their opponents of Community Organizing! Which talking points are faithfully echoed by the media.

    Saul Alinsky's radical Chicago disciples have long been known for accusing their opponents of the very actions they, the radicals, practice. In fact the support for ObamaCare is manufactured, astroturfed, and coordinated by the White House.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  30. bmh

    They are wing-nuts when the right does it and good old activists when the left does it...... now i get it..

    August 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  31. Scott

    First off... concerned citizens are NOT "Wingnuts"!

    Problem is that Congress is not listening! If they are not allowed to talk or ask questions how in the hell can they voice their opinions! I am sure there are a few "organizing", but mostly on the LEFT!

    Kim Bannon- Why don't you tell your Congressman to READ the Bill or Obama for that matter! I have to ask myself how they wrote it if they need 2 lawyers to translate it for them...

    August 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  32. Fed Up

    Has anybody noticed that all of these disruptive people at these town hall meetings look like unwashed extras from The Dukes of Hazard?

    August 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  33. Rick

    Never underestimate America's inability to discern fact from fiction, especially when emotion is injected into the mix. America easily forgot we invaded Iraq to find and destroy WMD's. America can easily be duped into believing President Obama is ending traditional American society. Our national intelligence level is far below our euphoric opinion of same. Its sad but may be the undoing of our status as the global superpower.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  34. Jimmy Lewis

    SORELOSERS GOP they rather shoot the county down if they can't have control. get rid of GOP

    August 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  35. Melissa These people in Washington have become talking heads to the far left. And when the American people spring back to the right of center, I HOPE THEY ALL GET WHIPLASH.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  36. Stuck in the Middle with Who?

    Gee, town hall meetings are becoming just like major universities. The left on campus has been doing this to speakers on the right for years at major institutions of "learning." Now the right has decided to stop complaining about the tactics and adopt them for their own uses. Is that hypocritical or just being slow learners?

    August 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  37. Melissa

    I'll really believe that Chris Dodd cares about the people when he finds someone in his EXACT shoes in Canada and find out what HIS experience has been in Socalized medicine. NO ONE is telling me that this will lead to nationalize healthcare. PEOPLE ARE FIGURING IT OUT FOR THEMSELVES. It's nice to NoBama and Barney Frank actually SAY that they utlimately want this, but even without those snapshots into their REAL thinking, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THIS GOING. We have caught on to the "incremental decline" that has become our government. THIS IS JUST RIDICULOUS. God forbid that Republicans went on TV and said ANY of this stuff about ACORN or SEIU. ............think about it.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  38. Robert Noonan

    Health care is not a right. Rights are those "entitlements" from God, not Governments. Rights are held by individuals. Health care must be provided to individuals, and mandating that something be provided by one to another by fiat, is called slavery.

    Health care reform, done correctly could have some social value. But lets be clear from where we start. We are not talking about someones right to health care being denied, because that right does not exist, nor does the government have a mandate to provide it.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  39. Mark

    Ender writes "...a small group of disenfrachised who wish to have “more voice” than the rest of the nation..." This is truly amazing, I'm not even sure how to start to approach the unbelievable idea that a vocal minority should be heard in this country, even though by population it is still the majority, perhaps we need to purchase a few newspapers and tv channels. Start a few magazines with a targeted demographic, does anyone have a template we could borrow?

    August 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  40. kman

    Frankly I am appalled at the infantile and juvenile behavior of these idiots who disrupt meetings. I don't care whether they are left or right, but to drown out the opposition is frankly selfish and unpatriotic. Talking louder doesn't make your message right, talking over someone doesn't make you better than the other person. People should wait their turn to speak. Other folks who want to talk deserve a chance too. Perhaps these yellers should be sent back to nursery and/or grade school to learn their manners.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  41. David from WI

    Even IF the town hall dissent is organized WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?

    The anti war movement in the 60s was a multi million dollar industry (oh don't the anti war types want you to know that. poor ex hippie baby)

    They are calling SENIOR CITIZENS an angry mob? ARE THEY HIGH?
    They can't even get this right what do they think they are so competent do deal with those OUTSIDE our boarders and they are so detached from their own people?

    The leftists in our govt are out of their peace loving, pot smoking, (notice they didn't mind the whole Nixon with a swastika as the x sign decades ago that was OK) HYPOCRITES.

    The immature elite clueless are running this country and don't even know who their opposition is. When did they start to think Americans trust big bloated govt less than big bloated business?!?!
    'Move on' and 'progress' my middle age poor medicare dependent sphincter.

    (the violence it seem is coming from those that OPPOSE the dissent not the ones angry and demanding ANSWERS not more well scripted, focus groups talking points)
    The GOP can't get their head out of their rear ends either and yet they are responsible for these protests...... really?!? They wish they could take credit for this. (smoke another bowl dude)

    August 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  42. Steven

    I find it incredible that Republicans describe the attempt to remove violent Republican activists as "brown shirt tactics". Is there no behavior by Republicans that Republicans find offensive? When intimidating and shouting down left-leaning attendees, turning townhalls into chaotic melees, and making death threats against the speakers is called free speech, what, if anything, is prohibited?

    Wouldn't the proper use of a town hall consist of simply raising a point once, allowing it to be addressed, and then yielding the floor to other people who also wish to be heard? Why would anyone applaud or defend this concentrated effort to deny other attendees the right to speak?

    How can the country unite behind reform of our broken health care system if Republicans continue to suppress the dialogue? Is this what conservativism has become–the unwillingness to live in the same country as progressives?

    August 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  43. independent

    The extreme right wingers reminds me of the 60s when racism was obvious and they lynch people because of their skin color

    August 7, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  44. StormerF

    AND Obama,did not tell people to have their friends and families to go out and get in the faces of the Republicans,during the Campaign?..Whats wrong with some community organization anyway,the media claimed Obama and Jesus were community organizers....The Democrats can not defend the Health care bill,it is not in final form,and has already had 100 changes, so they don't know what is in it,neither does Obama.....
    How about the SEIU and ACORN being sent to protest outside the homes of AIG executives?..I say beat you shovel and plow shares into weapons get ready for the fight to come..

    August 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  45. david

    our country was founded on speaking out..go home Barry! We dont want this healthcare, your federal reserve, your 6 yr war, your police state, your youth corps, your Science Czars "Planetary Regime"( from the 1977 ‘Ecoscience’ textbook, proposing forced sterilizations and other draconian measures to bring about mass death, are no incidental exercises in academic frivolity. ) We want Our Country Back..!!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  46. joe_bloggs

    If the right wing whackos were genuinely concerned with health care reform, they would be asking questions and stating opinions respectfully, whereby their perspectives would be listened to by others. When people act like an unruly mob to silence the opposition, you know they are simply trying to prevent the truth from coming out! Keep this up, Repugnants. It really worked for you in the last election. Morons!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  47. Independent

    Why are they even having townhall meetings.....They tell you they have not even read the bill...they have not clue what is in it. How can they answer questions.....They have a card from Nancy Pelosi.....Kathleen Selbilius says the bills not even finished....TELL ME WHY ARE THEY TRYING TO PUSH THIS OFF ON TO PPL WHEN THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IT SAYS AND IT IS NOT FINISHED.

    We told them NO on the Bailout...We told them No on the Stimulus....We told them No on Cap and Trade....did they care...NO.......YOU WONDER WHY PPL ARE SCREAMING.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  48. Independent

    You ppl on here are the biggest hypocrites....what about when Bush was going to change Social Security....the Democrats acted like a bunch of idiots. So don't even go there....I guess the only ppl that are allowed to have an opinions are Dems.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  49. BK

    I just find it ironic that the Dems and the media complain when protestors are organized.

    What did they think and say when, Code Pink, Acorn, et all organize protests against Bush and hung him in effigy? Where were their concerns about free speech and rational debate then?

    Are you all naieve enough to believe these left wing groups do not coordinate their activities with members of the Democratic party just like right wing groups coordinate with the Republicans? If you are, have I got a great deal for you!!

    I am all for a rational discussion, but the Dems only want a "rational" discussion when it is their idea and they are not protesting against it. Otherwise, it is disrupt, disrupt, distrupt.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  50. Nick M.

    To those who think that if your opinions are not being heard, you should shout them:

    The reason we do not listen to your opinions is because you believe that shouting louder increases the validity of your point. If you want to be heard, speak calmly and use fact.

    I have no doubt that many Democratic senators have not read this bill in full, but I have just as little doubt that the wingnuts have not read this bill at all. They are destroying democratic process on speculation and fantasy, and it's going to ruin any chance for a constructive compromise.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  51. Noonan

    The "Rocking the Town Halls" controversy is being stoked by democrats for one simple reason...a smoke screen, to divert attention from the fact that the ObamaCare ship is taking on water and sinking under its own weight. As she lists to port, the "Wingnut" controversy is nothing more than liberals looking for reasons when they should be looking in the mirror.

    America doesn't want your bloated plan. Too expensive!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  52. razmataz

    I have a one word answer for all you liberals crying foul because you believe some of these demonstrations are being orchestrated. Personally, I wouldn't deny that to some degree there is some truth to that, although the majority of the folks at these meetings are there merely as concerned cictizens.
    But back to my one word answer for all you cry-baby liberals:


    Not STFU.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  53. razmataz

    bill Said: "I believe it is our duty to provide health care to every American."

    Wrong, Bill the only thing that is our duty is to make health care available to every American. It is not our "duty" to provide health care for every American.
    Once again, that is called socialism; which for over 200 years has been the opposite of American.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  54. Robert

    I am a Veteran who gets my healthcare @ a government run VA Hospital, my wife is on government run Medicare healthcare, and if poor get government run medicaid why can't regular middle class working americans have the option to get the same?

    August 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  55. IndyVoter

    Its one thing to protest. Fine, protest peacefully, make signs that say what specifically you are against. But to disrupt a town meeting which is designed to flesh out hard subjects and to answer to people's legitimate questions is going to far. Making signs that call for our elected officials to be hung, lynched, etc...this is MADNESS, and there is nothing else to call it! Your right to extend your arm/fist does not stop at the tip of my face. If you put your hand/fist in my personal space (whether you touch me or not), you have violated my rights by threatening my safety and invading my public space. Go to the town hall meeting, sit your butt down and acutally LISTEN to what is being said and LEARN something that you may not have known instead of screaming and yelling and assuming that you have all the answers!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  56. Ron

    What many people are forgetting is that Obama was elected on a platform of healthcare reform. A maority of Americans voted for reform.

    We elected this man for this reason, and the very, very tiny minority of people who show up to these town halls and "shout down" dialog are not letting the democratic process move forward.

    They are unpatiroitic, anti-democracy, uniformed mobs that need to be removed from these meetings and labeled as what they are; traitors to democracy.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  57. liberal in Maine

    Health-care not health-insurance is a difficult and complex issue requiring thoughtful discussion and arguements from all sides.

    These yell downs serve no useful purpose other than to disrupt.

    This is NOT how a solution can be found. If these people want to engage in a serious discussion of the issues they are more than welcome. But yelling socialist, commie or anything else does their side no good.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  58. Bill

    The people in this country who have been attending thes townhall meetings and myself are going to fight this issue to the end! If this bill passes, there are going to be a lot of good Americans in this country who will become unhinged! You think they are angry now, you let this healthcare bil pass! There will not be a Democrat left in Congress or liberal socialist as the president...they will be voted out or impeached!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  59. Mike

    We need honest debate on Health Care Reform. It is obvious that these right wing groups (lobbyists, etc) do not want to talk, just YELL....
    We need Health Care Reform and I hope this does not stop the Democrats from pushing through a bill whether they like it or not!!!!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  60. Raymond Hitch

    I find these City Hall (meetings?) nostalgic of the films about

    the Beginnings of the Nazi Pary in Germany. The pary functionaries made sure there were plenty of "Brown Shirts" to disrupt any political
    dissent. Now ,I am watching it all over again on American television.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  61. CSchoot

    ""Bottom line is, ALOT of us see how badly run Most if not ALL gov’t programs are now. AND DO NOT WANT OUR HEALTH CARE RUN THAT WAY.""

    That is fine, but if people like yourself could listen to the facts at these town halls they would see it is not going to be run that way. It's funny all this hub ub about what is almost all insurance reform. The only way its actually going to touch DR. and patients is by adding preventive medicine. Oh my god!! They want to make it so we all stay healthy!!! No where have I read that there will be rationed care or anything like that, the only places I see that crap pop up is on opposition websites. Even this site here has a basic factual break down of what is in the three plans being discussed as possible options, and it shows nothing of the sort those against these plans are claiming that they do. Follow the facts not the falsehoods, any one with a brain in there head could do this.

    Oh and by the way,
    Postal System
    Federal Student Aid

    Are just a couple of examples of Government run things that I do not see as run badly. There are others as well but I am not going to list every government run program. You get the idea. The only one I can think of that is run poorly is SSI, which just need an overhall, it's not broken, just will be if not fixed before hand. So I would not actually even consider that "run badly"

    August 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  62. Mark

    Amazing, the last 25 years every special interest group that sits to the left of "normal" has participated in protest and trash talking but suddenly it is not the right thing to do. Sorry you can't have everything for free!

    August 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  63. Larry Ventimiglio

    You are absolutely correct!

    These groups of "concerned citizens" and "tea Party" goons are devisive, racist, and working toward moving our civilized society toward anarchism. The "wing-nut" political broadcasters, and special interest groups are shameful and disrespectful in their comments, behavior, and actions, while earning bloated incomes to preach this garbage.

    It s time for the "silent majority" in America to step up, and be counted before we are taken hostage by these raving lunatics.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  64. Bill

    If I'm going to pay for everyones health insurance and loose my with my tax dollars, I better not see any of you fat slobs walking around with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth! They should start closing down all fast food chains immediately!!

    August 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  65. Darren Womack

    The only Wing Nut here is MacGuffie. During the last 8 yrs. it was acceptable for the Dems. to: hunt, hurt and humiliate Repubs. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it not O.K. your a home grown terrorist. Bull, Bull, Bull..... I am an indy......and there is no way that I would or will cast a vote in the near future to support any Dem. supported candidate. We do and will continue to live in a free society.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  66. Bill

    You know why the Democrats are not allowed to speak at these townhall meetings, because the good American concerned citizens have the intelligence to know that a government run healthcare option will drive the private insurance companies out of business and we will end up with a single payer government run system, which is exactly what we do not want!!!! For God's sake they can't even fix Medicare, Medicaid, the VA system, now the post office is going broke. Now you morons out there want to had a huge government run program when we do not have any money to pay for or fix the current government run programs!!?? These are real people with real frustration with this administration! If you don't believe me now you will believe in 2010 and in 2012. Look up the Rasmussen reports and you will see how the people in this country feel about all of these issues. The guy who wrote this opinion piece has his head so far up his ass he doesn't have a clue how the majority of Americans feel about this issue!!!

    August 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  67. OldUncleTom

    Whatever your point of view, or motivation for attending Town Hall meetings, if your tactics include sign-waving, shout-downs, or other forms of intimidation, YOU NEED TO TAKE IT OUTSIDE.

    Theoretically, we are grownups; this means we can discuss, and even argue, without disruption of process. I learn more from people I disagree with than I ever had from those who share my views.

    Perhaps more listening, and less shouting would lead us to understand that there are no Nazis on either side, regardless of the rhetoric.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  68. Mike from Texas

    Health care should not be a for-profit industry any more than religon should be. Everyone should have access to some form of healthcare. Poor people can't afford healthcare. Rich people can afford healthcare. Middle class people can barley afford healthcare. The governmet can run things: ie. the military, post office, medicare, etc. Why don't republicans say anything about that. Why don't the crazy right wingers just admit that they are mad because we have a black president who wants to better ALL of society, not just the white members of society. Right-wingers: Do you really think Jesus Christ would agree with your principles?

    August 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  69. Pat

    “Rocking the Town Halls – Best Practices” and written under the banner of MacGuffie’s group “RightPrinciples” Wow you guys are good, this guy has 5 followers on twitter and what 25 on facebook, what an important person... So I guess grassroots only is "real" if its a liberal cause. You know those bussed in Acorn people all waving the same pre-printed signs. Ok, go ahead and focus on a couple morons and try to paste the majority of Americans who disagree with government trying to run everything. Wake up you coolaid drinking liberals, this is going down. NO one with any common sense wants the government in charge of our health care. This is the first step toward single payer system. If that happens, were will the Canadians and Europeans that want good healthcare go???

    August 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  70. CSchoot

    Screaming and yelling didn't solve anything. I don't care if they have been arranged by someone to be there and disrupt or if they are doing it on there own accord. They are so wrong, conservatives should be embarrassed. These people are making them look like children who have just been told there favorite toy is going to be taken away.
    The only way we will solve these issues and come up with solutions for the whole country is going to be from organized peaceful discussions. It is not right that these angry people are preventing people from being heard. They are currently even preventing people who wish to speak about the very stance the hecklers mean to take, from speaking. People who are angry can not make good decisions and do not appear rational. If you are against healthcare reform, that is your prerogative, but give your views and ask your questions in a manner that allows others to share theirs.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  71. Chas

    Anyone who shows up at a town hall meeting to disrupt the session instead of contributing to a open debate should be removed.
    Anyone with a point of view to express can do so within the procedures of the forum to express their opinion or concerns.
    Those who choose to simply disrupt the sessions are totally out of line and only add to the general disgust with the party of no.

    Most of thier montra as perscibed by Dopey and Dumbo are generated from out of context soundbites, half truths and downright fiction and do not promote the GOP viewpoint to anything more than comedy.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  72. Mark

    Who is going to pay for it you liberal idiots?? Our debt is too dangerously high now. Wake up and quick being a liberal no mind.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  73. Mark

    The protest where fine and dandy until the liberals got control. Now you are either a domestic terrorist or tea party wing nut. The govt spending is out of control! someone needs to speak up.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  74. James

    They just need to keep it up. Bush just needs time for his legacy to be written. Just like calling out Iran and North Korean as well as Iraq as seats of evil turned out to be sooo wrong, huh? So will Obama's legacy of driving this country into the second or third world status with really neat programs but no funding to pay for it. That is unless you like to work for 2/3 of the year before you get any take home cash. Sounds like a South American Country.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  75. another Chuck

    I haven't been to any town hall meeting. I believe in respectful dialog wherever possible – I can't condone the hyperpartisanship that has plagued *both* sides of the debate. It is stupid and counter-productive.

    I do believe that our health care system is in need of some reform. But the end of the matter is this: I believe that the legislation currently under consideration is the wrong solution and will ultimately reduce the quality and availability of care while increasing the costs. I've been writing and calling my senators and congressman. I may even attend one of those town hall meetings and seek to influence their vote.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  76. Deborah/Kansas City

    Maybe the Republican strategy, of only allowing people in to these town halls who agree with Democratic healthcare reform; and who will cheer loudly every time they throw them the "red meet" would work. See how Republicans like it, since they don't know how to behave in a "bipartisan" group.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm |


    August 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  78. thinker

    It shows how criminal and treasonous the republican party has become. They deny others their civil rights, and they are too stupid to realize that medicaid/medicare are government run health care, and they run pretty good.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  79. jane

    When professionally organized and t-shirted SEIU and ACORN folks disrupt lectures, when they threaten executives in their homes , when they trespass on foreclosed properties, when Black Panthers stand outside of polls and intimidate voters, when these folks disrupt the legitimacy of the political process with voter registration fraud,
    I hear no repudiation by "liberals". When Code Pink and students at Columbia shout down guest speakers, I hear no repudiation by "liberals".
    No one showed more disrespect than liberals who caricatured Bush and of course there were left-wing nut jobs who accused our government of complicity in Sept. 11. No group has been more cruel than liberals who have exploited a child with Downs Syndrome in order to belittle his mother . And, what should we think about the young liberals, most of whom have neither the
    character nor the courage to serve this country in the military, who have thought if humorous to insult a war hero by holding his age in contempt?
    But when an eclectic group of folks representing
    Americans from all classes, all parties and all ages dare to
    shout out at public meetings, they are "mobs". The reason
    they are shouting is because their representatives in Congress
    seem to be deaf, refusing to answer either telephone calls,
    e-mails or even polls with anything but talking points or contemptuous
    How ironic that Liberals who espouse activism and free speech
    and how hypocritical that a President who came to power by organizing civil disobedience and unrest should find this upsetting.
    How ironic that the defenders of Bill Ayers criticize a bunch of
    middle class Americans who have concerns about health care.
    If you want to really become informed, read the works of
    David Horowitz, a reformed '60's radical. Or better yet, read
    Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. And if you have the nerve,
    read Chapters 4 and 12 of Mein Kampf. You will find some
    disturbing (but well documented -unlike Pelosi's accusations)
    similarities to the path on which this country has embarked.
    But of course, it is easier for some Americans to get their
    news from Comedy Central than read a book or open their
    minds to alternative viewpoints. What can be said about
    Americans who have rated John Stewart, a great comedian, but
    not a journalist, as the most trusted newsman in America?
    And now, of course, I must worry that some of you will report
    this "fishy" response to the White House. What times we live in!

    August 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  80. I'm here

    Come on guy's, let's be honest. The Health Care bill is full of things that use health care to gain control of your life. You have to read it if you have not. Don't be naive. Many of my Dem friends understand only a small portion of it and they are against it. Be smart, not passive.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  81. Jackie in Dallas

    I'm all for freedom of speech, and I'm all for legitimate forms of protest - I did it myself back in the late 60s and early 70s. However, there is a world of difference between people who voice legitimate questions and have legitimate doubts, and those who are being agitated into shouting, threats, and disruptions. The first group are exercising their rights as Americans for freedom of expression and freedom to disagree while the second group are preventing others from exercising their legal rights - and that is definitely UN-American.

    While the wingnuts are shouting about socialism, they are practicing fascism - and if I have to choose between the two "isms", I'll choose socialism! There are still people alive who remember "Kristallnacht" when rampaging Hitler Youth, SS, and others destroyed homes, synagogues, and businesses, and killed or sent to concentration camps thousands of Jews. THAT's fascism – where dissent is not allowed, where only "right thinkers" are allowed expression, and where the strongest bully is considered "right." We saw a taste of that during the election, when the country was divided into "real Americans" and "others" simply by where they lived.

    Politically, I am a moderate. I have some doubts about various programs in the works, but I'm waiting, like most intelligent people, for the Senate and the House to define their individual health care reform bills, and the result of the Joint Committee's attempt to align them before I make up my mind. I'd love to ask some serious questions, but I certainly don't want to caught up in the type of near violence seen in some of these town meetings - nor would I condone the violence being threatened to any duly elected Congressperson, no matter which party.

    August 7, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  82. ender

    Anyone who believes this is an honest showing of "concered citizens" is extreamly niave. Especially given the proof that some in the far right wing are orchestrating this and strongly suggest that people not allow the Democrat hosting the meeting to speak.

    Look, the republicans in this nation wanted the process slowed down so questions could be answered and concerns could be adressed.

    Fine. You wanted it, you got it.

    BUT. The republican party has decided not to allow the Democrats to speak to the concerns of the people and that is, quite frankly, ignorant.

    If you think this is going to help you GOP, you are mistaken. Were this 20 years ago you would have gotten away with it. BUT, there is too much information flying around now. Too much distrust in your party. People can not only see these Town Halls being disrupted, but they see the disruption is from a small group of disenfrachised who wish to have "more voice" than the rest of the nation.

    They can see that these people are not interested in participating in the democratic process but in hijacking it.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  83. Matthew Smith

    No one is suggesting that opponents of the proposed legislation be excluded. Folks from the whole political spectrum *should* participate and engage in tough, informative question-and-answer sessions with their congressmen at these events–but in a peaceful, respectful, and constructive manner. What is unacceptable are these disruptive tactics used by a handful of unscrupulous individuals to intimidate others and drown out lively discussion! Nothing could be more at odds with the American spirit. It is ironic that these few individuals, who claim to oppose totalitarianism and purport to defend liberty, are themselves adopting the very strategies used by totalitarian groups throughout history! Liberty is advanced when people educate themselves and others and work toward an open and candid discussion of issues in our political forum!

    August 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  84. Barry Story

    The precedent has now been set, from now on any politician dem or repub who is conducting an informational gathering will be fair game for the opposition to organize a bunch of misfitts and shout down the speaker.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  85. cedgar

    I m so tried of every one stating the people are right wing nuts.
    If you have facts report them other than that be quite.
    I can tell you if what I saw on the video (U tube) of some one pushing
    that old man THAT IS JUST WRONG!
    I do not care if that man was standing there yelling that is un-called
    We do not treat our senior citizens that way!
    The big guy in the Hawaiian shirt should be thrown in jail.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  86. Kevin in Dallas

    I love how so many people are dismissing these people because they're protesting against a proposed government takeover of health care. Democracy dies when the people who disagree don't count.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  87. Kim Bannon

    Obviously, "Bill" is asleep listening to gasbag Rush. Try actually reading the proposals your self, Instead of being a follower do your own research. Why would anyone defend the insurance companies for ruining our heathcare? Brown Shirts sounds racist and is not very descriptive, merely reactionary and a Limbaugh referance. Why get your soundbite from a prescription drug addict..

    August 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  88. Independent Guy

    A prime example of both parties playing politics instead of just sitting down and work out the issues. The Dems are on a major power trip and they are doing these "town hall" meetings, but they are also not letting the spirit of the town hall meeting happen. The Rep are striking back at the power hungry Dems (just as the Dems have done when Rep were in control).

    Oh and Chuck, don't be too hard on McCain, he's one of the few people in D.C. actually trying to get the parties to sit down are discuss issues (you know, they're job). He has not gone out of his way to make life hard for those who disagree with him and he has been part of many constructive debates on many issues over many years. Obama is glad to have in the Senate. He accepted his loss and chose to continue his job representing the people of Arizona. If he had won, he would be facing many of the same challenges as Obama and I think he too would be doing all he could to ease party tentions. He probably wouldn't be doing as well, not because of his skill, but because of the attitude of "the other party" that has taken America away from the purpose of having different parties.

    For all the Obama fans out there... I didn't vote for him, but I knew he was honest in his desire to change America for the better. I still don't agree with alot of what he does, but he is doing a good job so far. As his exeriance level grows over the years, we will continue to see some changes on how he handles things. President Obama has a big job and Congress has a habit of making life hard on every president. Good luck Mr. President, your country may yell alot over every little thing (and the big things too), but we are behind you, regardless of personal feelings... You are the President of the United State of America.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  89. Aaron Seattle

    Deb – I totally agree with you. People are going there just to disrupt debate are doing no one any justice. Whether you are for or against, there needs to be rational discussion rather than just chanting, or booing, or interrupting. I don't think ANYONE at these town hall meetings has all the facts which is why it is important to LISTEN to one another's concerns.
    It is good to question our elected officials but it is important to hear what they have to say first. People really need to stop blindly following ideologues and need to start thinking for themselves. Every piece of legislation has its good points and bad points, but I do believe this legislation is trying to maximize the good. Health care really is unaffordable for many Americans, do they not deserve the same treatment as others w/ health care coverage simply because of social status? To deny them such is falls on the political spectrum with fascism. I would rather be socialist and for the greater good than a greedy pawn to large corporations who don't care about me anyway.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  90. parrothead

    Everyone has the right to make a point and to speak their mind in a town hall setting. Regardless of your position you are stealing the rights of everyone there to have an intelligent conversation about real concerns if you trample all over the rights of everyone at the town hall to get your way.

    It harkens one to think, maybe the Republicans did have it right during Bush's tenure. dont allow anyone that disagrees with you to attend any event. that way whatever outcome the establishment wants to offer will not be contested , disagreed with, or even probed.

    Makes one want to believe, that the Republican party is not a party of the people. It is a party of strongarm, "shout out" wingnuts that are so concerned with partisanship that they would rather the whole country go down the tubes if they cant get thier way.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  91. robert Jay

    I find the Republican position on helth care simply self centered pathetic narrow minded selfishness. To begrudge the less fortunate access to quality health care is contray to God's law. For religion spouting Republican hypocrites like Bonehead Boehner and his like bonehaded colleagues to even have an opinion after what their party and it's paranoid cowardly leaders (Bush/ Cheney) have done to this country is disgusting. I sincerely hope caring people will use the power of the vote to DESTROY the Republican party and it's members!

    August 7, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  92. Bill

    I am an American. I live in a small town in Idaho. I am a Democrat. I am very Angry. Rush L. called me a Nazi this morning. I believe it is our duty to provide health care to every American. We must fix this problem. If the current lies and taunting continue there will be trouble. I am through listing to all this evil talk and name calling by people who can’t think for themselves. The time for action is now.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  93. Justme

    At least these people aren't being paid as the protestors during the Bush years were. They also get to these meetings on their own. Not bussed in from somewhere else.
    Bottom line is, ALOT of us see how badly run Most if not ALL gov't programs are now. AND DO NOT WANT OUR HEALTH CARE RUN THAT WAY.
    Since our reps don't seem to listen when we call and email, how else is one to be heard if they don't start shouting?

    August 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  94. Dan

    How about the Huffington Post calling for people to throw nets over these Town Hall protestors and drag them from the room? How's that for Liberal "Wing-nuts" who take the cake? They are advocating violence. In the same article they advocate exploiting handicap people to shut up discussion.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  95. PRThomas

    NMost of the high profiles disruptions are orchestrated and then there are some crazies. There is a middle ground and town halls are an excellent place to ask questions and raise concerns but shouting and making accusations is not the way to accomplish anything. These people are not there for debate or discussion they are there to further an agenda thru disruption.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  96. Deb

    Again, so many wingnuts so little time.

    Btw, Bill (7:30 am comment), there are people at town hall meetings of their own volition – some of them to participate in an actual discussion/debate, others to disrupt. If they follow MacGuffie and other GOP's suggestions to disrupt and derail, they're still there of their own volition. Most of the folks there to honestly express their personal concerns – no matter which side of the issue they fall on – are not getting heard b/c of MacGuffie's "MacGoons."

    August 7, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  97. CHUCK


    August 7, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  98. Larry

    MacGuffie writes memos, and the Republicans deny it.

    It wasn't till recently that I realized how corrupt the Republican party is.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  99. Bill

    I don't know anything about MacGuffie's memo other than what I've read/heard on the news, but I do know many people around the country who are attending these meeting of their own volition and concern. In response to our honest, personal concerns, the Administration and Dem's are misrepresenting us, calling us names, demeaning our intentions, and now sending out bus loads of union members to the meetings. For what? To peacefully discuss their point of view or to intimidate and bust heads as necessary? Will they be wearing their "Brown Shirts"?

    August 7, 2009 at 7:30 am |
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