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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. Mac

    We all have the right and duty to protest government we think is against our best specific and collective interests. We all pay taxes, we all have the right to vote, we all have free speech. So both groups need to stop being self-righteous, trying to incite violence and using demeaning retoric about the other side.

    My questions are:
    – If all this was such a good idea why did Obama try to get Congress to shove it thru before summer recess? They now have to answer to the voters. He didn't want them to have to....for some reason.

    – If it's such a good idea, why are the politicos and party bosses exempt? Don't they believe in "fairness for all" or are they elite? Not a one has tried to answer that.

    – If Obama's supporters disdain conservative seniors who are showing up to voice their concerns, why do some union thugs show up to threaten them? That after trying to get union sweetheart exemptions from the "healthcare plan" and get medical care thru govt. backed union pensions.

    – After years of community organized protests that would embarrass Joe Stalin, and outright cruelty to Bush and Palin, liberals have the timerity to call this effort disgusting and uncivilized?

    Hypocrites to the core.

    August 8, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  2. Susan

    When Sarah Palin says that Obama wants to dictate care for her handicapped son, she is lying. When she and Rush say that the plan will decide when people die, they are lying. Period.
    They chose those two topics to incite the most fear in people.
    Currently, insurance companies dictate treatment or not, procedures or not, life and death. Do the Republicans think that the current way of letting for-profit companies decide our level of care is best? Seriously? And by the way, are Palin's parents receiving that horrible Socialist Alaska oil money each year? Are they on that awful government run Medicare or Medicaid? My goodness, better get them off those Socialist programs immediately and find some cheaper and better insurance in the free market. Good luck with that unless we CHANGE the way things are done. Give Obama a chance! He is not the devil.

    August 8, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  3. Dr. Gregory Garamoni

    The "Silent Majority" of Americans, increasingly disillusioned by Obama's collectivist dreams, are awakening to the undeniable fact that PelosiObamaReidCare (PORC) would violate the rights of doctors, patients, and business owners on a massive scale unprecedented in the history of the United States.

    Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine ( cites H.R. 3200 with 10 violations of our rights:

    1. Forcing people to buy health insurance.
    2. Forcing employers to provide health insurance for employees.
    3. Forcing one group (wealthy, soda-drinkers, etc.) to pay for the health insurance of another group.
    4. Forcing future generations to pay for the healthcare of the present generation.
    5. Forcing patients to participate in a government-run plan.
    6. Forcing doctors to participate in a government-run plan.
    7. Forcing hospitals and other healthcare providers to participate in a government-run plan.
    8. Forcing insurance companies to compete with a government-run plan.
    9. Forcing insurance companies to write policies that offer coverage for specific conditions.
    10. Forcing one group (older Americans on Medicare) to accept reduced benefits in order to fund other public health care plans.

    American's believe that the end – universal health care – does not justify the means – gross violations of our rights. However, the left-over lefties behind PORC embrace the idea that the end justifies the means. So did Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez–and Saul Alinsky. The collectivist justification is that the interests of the collective require the subordination and sacrifice of the individual. So much for individual rights!

    But not here in the United States. Our country was founded on the idea of individual rights. Our founding documents are imbued with the philosophy of individualism–the idea that individuals are ends-in-themselves; that we have the right to exist for our own sake; that no one has the right to force anyone to live for the sake of others; that we have the right to be left alone to pursue our own ends in life as long as we do not infringe on the liberty of others to do the same; that we should deal with one another by voluntary means; that the proper role of government is to protect our rights.

    The "silent majority" of Americans have been politically silent, but they are not stupid. They are realizing they must act with a sense of urgency to bring a halt to this leftist-led, lemming-like leap into health care he!l. They are mad as he!l, and they are not going to take it anymore!

    These Americans see politicians turning a deaf ear to them so they sense need to crank up the volume–hopefully, civilly–until they get the message:

    "Earth to politicians: Health care is not a right, doctors are not your slaves, businesses are not your banks, the wealthy are not your wet nurses, and patients are not your pawns."

    Dr. Gregory Garamoni
    Founder, Doctors on Strike for Freedom in Medicine

    August 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  4. jane

    Get a dictionary. Read a book.

    August 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Janeane Garofalo

    Janeane Garofalo was right: They are nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks." "This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up."

    August 8, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  6. TIm

    Again, I'm puzzled by two elements of the "protesters'" claims:

    1. That this is a free speech issue. Yu lose any credibility there when the entire effort is designed to drown out any other opinion, or any chance of any information being exchanged. That's not free speech, no matter how you wish to spin it.

    2. The idea that the nature of the protests comes from any real, factual concerns. Let's look at the most common complaint, the one about "Obama's death panels", as Sarah Palin so "eloquently" put it:

    The provision in the bill that is in reference here simply states that if the patient desires to do so, they may schedule a consultation with their doctor about such things as living wills and end-of-life care, and that their insurance can't deny payment for such a consultation.

    That's it. No language about a requirement, no instructions for the doctor regarding his or her advice, no third party involved. Simply the right of the patient to get medical advice from their personal physician on the nature of such things before going out and creating a living will, DNR order, or other such document.

    So how do we get from there to "Obama is trying to institute eutahnasia"? Certainly one cannot infer that from reading the bill. One would need someone to entirely misrepresent the provision in order to even come close to believing what these protesters are complaining about.

    Let's face it, America's health care, insurance, pharma, and the Republican party all have a vested interest in killing any health care reform. All of them have a financial stake, and the rrepublicans have the further inducement of not wanting Obama to pass anything meaningful that would become part of American life, similar to the stance they took against Social Security and Medicare. Which is why this blatant lie, and the organization of these protests, is all happening on sites linked directly to these groups. It is not about dialogue or disagreement, but rather the total shutting down of such through gross dishonesty.

    So if you're out there protesting "death panels", you are either knowingly lying, or you have been duped. Either way, if you think you are somehow engaging in the democratic process by trying to shut it down, you're probably beyond any facts anyway.

    August 8, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
  7. JoesLovelyMother

    A perfect word....wing nuts, either party if it goes to extreme. My 19 yr old and I discussed end of life when the Schivo case came up. I told him his wife would have more power over him if he were to become a duh. I told him even if a duh, if I can touch you and see you, this Mom would have you at home. Living on a river said flippantly, Mom, put me with the fish.
    I never thought 4 months later I would be sitting in front of the Mortician designing services for my beautiful blue eyed son who had been allowed to die. I gain comfort knowing we had had that conversation and I could relay that to the director, merely the messenger.

    Offering these services is an adult and responsible thing to do.

    To have "citizens" skew this service offering speaks volumes. It is obvious they are uneducated and taking leads not from within about this part of the plan.

    They had 8 years to address the least of US and level the playing field. It is not in their hearts to do, they believe in you are on your own.

    August 8, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  8. Ron Howerton

    Shouting down the opposition is not debate. I do not tolerate such disruption from the left or right. The group that will win my support will do so using reason to persuade me.

    August 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  9. Drew

    Last year, some anti-immigration protesters threatened me personally with pepper spray in the street, and tried to lie about me to the police, simply for going up to them in the street and disagreeing with them – the same kind of jeers, the same kind of screaming, it was ugly. A sixteen-year-old girl was also threatened. These people have no respect for their political opponents, act like bullies, then accuse their opponents of the same thing.

    I'm a young man who could at one point have been convinced to vote GOP. But after watching this, and having been personally accosted by these folks over a different issue, I won't be able to anymore. It's unfortunate that the right wing in America has personally threatened me as a countryman more than al-Qaeda ever has. There is a point where free speech morphs into ugly threats and violent rhetoric, and I think the right-wing protesters are edging closer to that point all the time.

    August 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  10. Kate1149

    In response to Hal – If citizens want answers to questions at these town hall meeings then why won't the people showing up there let the Congressmen speak? They don't want answers – they want to shout others down, disrupt the town hall meeting, distort the facts, and make the evening news. Republicans need to start telling the truth about their motives and stop lying about the proposed health care reform. Republicans you are entitled to their own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. There is only one set of facts – Republicans stop making things up!

    August 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  11. William

    The stupid myths about healthcare that are f'n riduculous:
    1 Obama's death panels.
    This is probably the dumbest thing Sarah Palin has said since Joe Six Pack came into the picture. There is no death panels it is simply the government helping the elderly make wills if they so desire to make one something that both Republicans and Democrat politcians have been recommending for over 20 years.

    2 That this is Socialized medicine and will kill innovation.
    It is not socialized medicine it is 1 private doctors, 2 private hospitals and private manuafactoring of all medical supplies: It is only considered socialized medicine if all those things are in place which its just the governent will flip the bill. Which will actually make healthcare more efficient in all corners of healthcare and the savings will be immense.

    3 This will kill private medicine in this country and you won't have your own choice of anything.
    This is so far from the truth, you can thank Georgia's Congressman for those lies. This public option will work hand in hand with privater medicine by cutting down the costs of private healthcare and everyone knows when their is competition in any parts of business it will only benefit the customers because for the first time private insurers will have to work for your business. And really you this is the first choice in healthcare sure there are over 1000 different healthplans out there but this is the first plan that most of the public can actually tap into without being a federal worker, a politician, a veteran, a poor person or an elderly person.

    These are the top 3 myths about healthcare that are a bunch of BS and need to be taken out of the category of being true about this healthcare debate why don't you stop believing a certain party's lies and get the facts for yourself liking reading the bill for yourself

    August 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  12. Kate1149

    These right wing nuts are out of control and their stupidity is showing. Bill Maher was right- Republicans do not need town hall meetings they need study halls because they don't understand the first thing about the Constitution or how the democratic process works. We are only in the process of trying to decide how to reform health care and shouting down rational discussion will back fire and you will all be exposed for the right wing extremists that you are. Republicans beleive every whaco rumor out there – "Obama is the anti-christ", "Obama is not a citizen", "Obama wants to kill off grandma", "Obama is Hitler". These whack jobs are not only delusional they are proud of their stupidity, and worst of all they think all of this is patriotic when it is just the opposite. In America we talk through our issues and vote on them – we don't use violence and intimiation – that behavior is Anti-American. It is so obvious that their hatred for Obama's policies is race based. When Republicans start shouting that they "want their Country back", what is that supposed to mean? Their Country back from whom? We are all Americans – white, black, hispanic, asian, native american – but these Republican morons think that only they "the white party" own this Country. I have news for you right wing nut jobs, I am white, I voted for Obama, I support health care reform, and I own this Country too! You are traitors to your Country if you continue to support violence at town hall meetings instead or rational discussions of the problems facing our nation.

    August 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  13. William

    Wow this is replying to Scott's how can I say this without being mean lets call his "special little reply". First of all these death panels that Palin was talking about is no more than helping old people to simply make it easy for them to make a will if THEY DESIRE TOO. And you are a veteran you are in a public plan anyway. And abortion it is legal you don't have to agree with it so I'm gonna leave that right there. Why don't you just get the facts. And I thankyou for your service to this country I just don't think you have the truth of the health plan.

    August 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  14. Matthew

    I am really tired of the 'we simply cannot afford the proposed health care programs'... Do you know how much tax revenue the US govt makes? We can certainly afford it. We don't choose to pay for it because health care for all americans is not a priority (sadly). Now death machines and the companies that produce them... they get all kinds of tax dollars...

    The largest social program in the country is the military. I'm all for taking whatever funds we need to cover healthcare from that budget. Who would attack us, we are a bunch of gun toting nuts, a nightmare scenario for any potential invaders...

    August 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  15. Matthew

    Mike from Texas. Great point, except religion has become a for profit industry. It is truly sad that both health care and religion are allowed to operate for profit.

    August 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  16. E. Elliott, Orlando

    Watch Rachael Maddow on MSNBC, she has these clowns cold. They are financed by the guy that sponsered the GOP paid protesters that blocked the 2000 election recount with a phoney protest. That was a canned riot. Result – we got Bush. Many of the sam poeple that participated in that discrace, being out of prison it seems, are the ones actuaslly participating in the disuption of the democratic process. Lesson learned, put these frauds in jail for obstruction, fraud and public riot. Avoid the next Bush. And maybe find out why they hate freedom that much.

    August 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Mason Green

    My suggestions for next week's Wingnuts, which I already e-mailed to the American Morning staff, are:

    Representative Brian Baird (D-WA) who explained that he didn't go to town hall meetings because people with "brown-shirt tactics" would be there. Baird certainly isn't going to make Jewish voters very happy with frivolous Nazi comparisons like that one.

    Sarah Palin (ex-governor of Alaska) who claimed that Barack Obama would set up "death panels" to determine who deserves to live; Palin also tried to use her son Trig (who has Down Syndrome) to score some political points. Given that Palin had previously claimed (without evidence) that the mainstream media had been exploiting her children and dragging them into the political spotlight, it's quite sickening that the only person who actually IS exploiting Sarah Palin's children, Trig especially, is Sarah Palin herself. As the brother of a child with Down syndrome, I 100% disagree with her behavior. This, along with her comments on health care, make her a wingnut in my book. Hands down.

    August 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  18. Anna

    You commies don't even allow certain comments to get through unlesss they are in line with your Hitler like thinking. CNN will go down with the Dems!

    August 8, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  19. Anna

    You call the people of America "wingnuts", but ACORN, Jeremiah Wright, "THE REVEREND" Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson are just normal people demonstrating their first amendment rights. You guys at the COMMUNIST NEW NETWORK just don't get it do you?

    August 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  20. Country first

    Those who oppose fixing health care such as the Republican Party and want to deny those who can't afford it coverage won't fully understand what is going on until they lose their job and health coverage and needs to go to the ER or have cancer and get denied coverage because of pre-existing condition. God help you if your in that situation and nothing get done now to fix our health care system. Lets see how you will feel then. What ever happen to country before party.

    August 8, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  21. Teacher Joe in LA

    I cannot say it an better than Don Wildmon has:

    "The same leftists who for years applauded when demonstrators took over the streets to protest the Iraq war, amnesty for illegal aliens or who attacked churches that supported marriage remaining between a man and woman, suddenly see a few hundred retirees, small businessmen, homemakers, farmers, sales clerks and just plain folks as evidence of 'rightwing extremism.'

    "My friends, the Left believes that name-calling can intimidate you into silence. Don't cave! As an American, you have a right to express your views to the politicians who WORK FOR YOU, even if they don't like it.

    "The fact is, you are in the majority now – not the leftists trying to push European socialism on you. The American people do not want government-run healthcare, as a new poll out today from Quinnipiac University shows. The poll found that '52 percent of American voters disapprove of the way [the president] is handling the health-care issue and 39 percent approve.' Here's more from the poll: By a whopping 72%-to-21% margin, voters don't believe healthcare reform will be paid for or be 'deficit neutral.' And by a 20-point margin, 57%-to-37%, voters say healthcare reform should be abandoned if it adds to the deficit.

    "By the way, the Washington, D.C., newspaper The Hill reported this weekend that labor unions and leftwing organizations "will spend between $10 million and $20 million this month to twist lawmakers' arms over the stalled healthcare reform effort in Congress" and the Employee Free Choice Act. So, ACORN, Big Labor and other groups can organize and protest in support of the liberal agenda, but how dare anyone speak up against it!

    "My fear, given the stakes and emotions on both sides, is that union thugs, ACORN activists and leftwing anarchists (who ransacked the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul during last year's Republican National Convention) will turn violent and innocent people will get hurt. If that happens, the radical Left will bear the responsibility for demonizing free speech.

    August 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  22. John Gary

    The real issue is that elected officials are getting death threats. Some are afraid for their safety. Every person who posted a comment and ignores this fact is in effect, part and parcel to conservative subterfuge.

    A microcosm of the type of people that participate in town hall meetings are on display in this comment thread. There is a touch of rational folks but the majority of you buy stock and trade on nothing but polarization, oversimplification and complete ignorance of the point.

    Look, Obama doesn't need Republicans to push his agenda but he includes you because you are part of America. He wants a bipartisan bill because as one congressman said, no party holds a patent on the truth.

    When you start to realize that we are all in this together – left, right, black, white, gay, straight, pro-life, pro-choice – the faster we can solve issues in our nation and world.

    August 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  23. michelle

    The thing the article is right about is the democrats tendency to play the blame game regarding the previous administration. People are sick of hearing the blame game. Frankly, it makes them look bad and they look like they accept no responsibility for the situation at hand....Does anyone remember the pork laden stimulus package? Obama and his democrats got all their earmarks...Which gee, wasn't there a campaign promise from Obama....mmmmm....about earmarks?

    August 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  24. Stefanie, Texas

    If these people really think universal health care is genocide and tyranny, then why haven't they suggest we go to war to free the Canadians and Europeans from the fascist governments?

    August 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  25. Stefanie, Texas

    How will the Republican party feel when these lunatics start coming to these meetings and shooting people? Don't they see their tactics are one step away from that? Incite lunatic fringe that the government is going to kill your grandparents and your children. Incite lunatic fringe that our President is somehow both a foreign born fundamentalist Muslim who also supports gay rights and is pro-choice. Incite lunatic fringe to riot at town hall meetings.

    August 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  26. Mark Hall

    Bob MacGuffie is a concerned citizen, not a GOP activist. Right Principles has a Facebook group with 23 members and a Twitter account with five followers. CNN isn't reporting that, though. They're once again reporting the Dem's talking points. The media doesn't get it. People are genuinely angry because they see their government being non-responsive, spending more money we don't have. It's about runaway spending. It's about deficits. It's about more of big government encroaching into our daily lives. We want less government, and we're tired of representatives who don't read bills and who stuff them with pork for special interests.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  27. Dan

    All those claiming that government run is bad, should talk to medicare recipients. Most of them like the coverage they have.

    Not one of the proposals in Congress at the moment have the government taking over health care in this country. They all leave the choices to the patients and the doctors. The current bills that are out of committee are health insurance reforms. They set basic standards for health insurance, and some offer a public health insurance option.

    The FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt, see wikipedia for a full definition) and alarmism on this issue is out of control. The health insurance company's executives that testified before one of the congressional committees admitted that they engage in automatic denials of claims, even if they are valid. They also said that they would not voluntarily stop doing so. With behavior like this on the party of health insurance companies, how are individuals supposed to cope on their own. We need basic standards for the behavior of health insurance and real competition in the health insurance market. This is what the current bills in congress are trying to address.

    If you have reasoned opposition to this, then please present a clear, reasoned objection. FUD and demagoguery has no place in civil discussion. While I support freedom of speech, I think if you chose to debate an issue, you should stick to reasoned discussion.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  28. More Commonsense

    Ridicule and mockery embolden more civil protest.

    ObamaCare is a hyper-partisan bill, so undoubtedly many Republican and Independent voters have serious doubts with it.

    Hyper-partisanship of President Obama, Pelosi and Reid kept them from any bipartisan compromise, so voters must do the job of the loyal opposition that their elected politicians could not.

    ObamaCare is crafted to provide a quick path to universal, government-run, single-payer healthcare, despite the misleading Democrat sales pitch. Democrats for ObamaCare naively believe that the Federal government can run healthcare better than private industry.

    Many Americans don't think so, and want alternate ways to controlling costs and improving quality.

    That's why they protest loudly.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  29. Terry Mixon

    I wish we hadn't arrived at this place as a country, but those liberals that sat back and allowed the left-wing activists to do exactly what the right-wing people are doing now and didn't immediately condemn it have only themselves to blame.

    Now I hear all you left-wingers whining about how things are going and I have no sympathy. You wanted to smother free speech when it was something you didn't agree with back in the Bush years, now you're getting a taste of what you did and allowed.

    Doesn't feel so good, does it?

    Your answer? Send in union thugs to silence anyone that doesn't toe the liberal line. That is once again the liberal view on free speech. Free for those that I agree with.

    Well, too bad. Half the people in this country don't agree with you and more are deciding every day that this ruinous spending and crippling of our economy by big spending social programs is wrong. Health care reform is dead because you chose to force your "solution" down everyone's throats. Sure, you may pass something, but as soon as the pendulum swings the other way, your outrageous theft of our democratic rights will be overturned.

    Pelosi thinks she sees swastikas. So do I, on the arms of those killing our democracy from the left. All they believe in is their own power. Why else would they vote to not participate in the health care they want to force on us? Just like they don't participate in social security. Welcome to the shadow aristocracy that is the modern United States.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  30. Liberty1773

    Linda Douglass, Obama’s appointed health care “Czar”, posted a request for citizens to report “fishy” chain emails, websites, blogs, that were circulating with opposing viewpoints on the health care reform bill to the email address Her request is on the federal government website at

    Not only is this a direct violation of your constitutional right, the power which you entrusted to YOUR duly elected representatives in Congress and Senate is being usurped by the Obama appointed “Czars” of 32 different areas including health care who have been given staffs, operating budgets and powers that are not authorized within the Constitution. To make it even more offensive her efforts to crush any opposition to the bill are being paid for with YOUR tax dollars.

    My child is only 12 but when I described this situation to her she likened it to the manner in which Adolf Hitler developed ever increasing control by encouraging youth to report their own parents for violations such as aiding the Jews.

    If you believe that this administration is violating your civil rights with the “Snitch” program please contact YOUR truly and duly elected representatives and act them to act swiftly to correct the situation and prosecute violations to the fullest extent of the law.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  31. Ron Spears

    Regardless of your political persuasion, it is unethical, immoral, and illegal to organize, fund, and transport thugs and hooligans great distances for the sole purpose of disrupting town hall meetings and preventing honest, open and civil dialogue about one of the most important issues in America. One can only assume that NOBODY at CNN has ever read about how Hitler's Sturmabteilung (SA) thugs used these same tactics to obliterate public discourse during his march to power. If there were a journalist worthy of the appellation at CNN, they would be investigating the direct link between Health Insurance lobbyists and these mob riots across America. God help us.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  32. Art

    I guess, since my involvment n Louisiana politics, from way back when the Edwards reign was strong, I always knew that the Democratic party was the most corrupt. Not until Clinton, another Southern Democrat took the Presidency, did I really figure out that, perhaps, that corruptness is not what is best for the nation. That's why I switched to the Republican Party.... a different corruption, but more for building business that moves the economy rather than the self-serving type of individual greed, typical of the Democrats.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  33. drew bowler

    Rational discussion, huh? We tried that with the "make an illegal a citizen bill", otherwise known as amnesty. 3x we had to man the phones, bombard our "representatives" telling them we do not want these usurpers becoming "citizens" where they can further exploit our welfare state, continue their ploy of being "Americans" while funding and supporting organizations like LaRaza and MeCHa (which are racist and subversive groups calling for the seccession of the SW U.S. and incorporation into Mexico under the name of Atzlan), and escalation of the detriment of crime ridden areas by their gangs like MS-13. All to have them continuously threaten us with it again and again. Enough is enough, they have to be called to bear their responsibility for the destruction of our Republic... before it's too late. And what's wrong with our using the same tactics that have eroded our country for the past generation, huh? Sucks when the chickens come back to roost, right????

    August 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  34. Richard Larson

    If the government had spent all their effort in developing a plan that actually would guarantee to reduce medical costs, the people would be much more willing to discuss it calmly and be much less polarized in their discussion. What must be done first? This is my proposal:

    1. A major factor in medical costs is overhead, what it costs medical providers to keep offices, clinics, and hospitals open, liability insurance. This insurance is responsible for most of the increase in costs to practitioners. What to do? Since the insurance industry will not reduce these fees themselves, the government should take a page out of the real estate industry and set up an insurance clearing house like FNMA or FHA that would offer government insured liability insurance at drastically reduced rates, doctors would leave the standard insurance companies in droves thereby saving themselves, and their patients hundreds of millions per year. What would happen to insurance carriers, they would have to compete in terms of price to stay in business. What is good about this is that the government backs the organization, but it creates competition that is sorely needed and that is ultimately important to middle america.

    2. the next greatest contributor to out of control medical costs is institutional waste. What exactly is that? That is when an EMT inserts an IV and hooks it up to a 2 liter bottle on normal saline to keep open a drip and then that IV being removed 30 minutes later because it isn't needed any more, this wastes 98% of the admittedly relatively small cost of a bottle of NS, but the facts are that it is wasteful and the patient has to pay for it. Prepackaging does have benefits, but it does contribute in large measure to waste. In the above instance, why not have a 250cc normal saline pack that can be used by ambulance crews? If more is needed it can be added when the original pack is used up. This can be extended to one-time-use instruments and other items. Individual packaging so that the item can be reinserted into a pre-packed instrument kit as long as the protective covering is not breached. A concerted effort by users and suppliers could go a long way in helping to rein in out of control costs. The "throw-away" culture in medicine must be reversed. Then we get to the real crux of the process;

    3. That crux is the notion that has always been part of our social structure and that it the litiguous nature of our society. The, "Hit me, I need the money." factor in huge, ultimately unsustainable medical costs. What to do? Most states do have some limits on damages, but the limits are on the wrong type of damages. The limits must be put on the "punitive" damages that juries are awarding people who claim injury. Actual damages, those that dorectly relate to immediate medical care and continued care for as long as medically required, should be awarded because that is only fair. Punitive, or "Pain and Suffering" damages are completely baseless and must be brought under control. The only way that will be done is for congress to bite the bullet and prohibit pain and suffering damages in the Federal Courts. The contest in the states will be long and figuratively bloody because this is the life blood of the PI legal practice and we all know that lawyers hate to loose income even more than doctors.

    If these three measures can be effected, there would be little need for a single payer option, but in my personal experience, I have been in a single payer situation since 1975, there is really nothing wrong with it. People must remember, or discover, that all people who are receiving medicare, medicaid, veteran's administration, and active duty military care are in fact under a single payer system and that system is the most efficient in the world, bar none.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  35. mike mullin

    Wingnuts should include cnn's Lou Dobbs. Why is it that on radio You have Rush Limbaugh(wingnut) on Fox you have Beck,Hannity O,Reilly and on cnn you have Loonie Lou Dobbs. These individuals on two cable networks are outlandish. On msnbc you have no wingnuts. You have the intelligence and insightfulness of Olbermann and Maddow. Recently three major sponsors have diiaciated themselves from Beck. Cnn continues to support Dobbs even though he is an embarrassment to other anchors on cnn if they had the guts to admit it.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  36. Lisa from Australia

    I'm from Australia. A lot of Americans think this qualifies me as being European which in-turn apparently equates with being Socialist. We have a health-care system which includes everyone where affordable supplementary private healthcare is also available to those who seek higher quality treatment (win-win). We also have a healthy, well-regulated banking system which will enable us to come through this Recession comparatively unscathed. Must be doing something right us Socialists. P.S. Not much of the healthcare budget is used for treating gun-shot wounds either.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  37. Joe

    Legitimate cncern over health care reform is a part of the democractic process however, concerns are one thing, being entrenched in a certain paranoid ideation about health care reform is quite another. Open honest discussion requires an open mind those that have disrupted the town hall process are not interested in actually listening to the Presidents plan they are more interested in spreading fear and doubt about a vital piec e of legislation. Give me an honest discussion with correct facts and I will listen jumping to misguided conclusions is just a waste of my time.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  38. Arlene

    Listening to these loud-mouthed idiots yelling at each other - simply horrifying. Why do they want the world to see how stupid they sound? Don't people remember that the 'private' insurance companies that currently 'control' our Medicare policies have only been doing this for a few years? And no matter which Medicare Part D company you use, it's still a government-run program. Has been since it was created.

    I don't blame Democratic Reps & Senators for not wanting to holdf town hall meetings anymore. These people are dangerous, They should've all been arrested for disturbing the peace, inciting a riot, etc.

    Someone should arrest certain TV and radio talk show hosts for inciting riots & god knows what else, too.

    Trying to frighten old and disabled people: sick in the head.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  39. Gavin R

    Both parties are using what Robin Williams calls in his movie Man of the Year "Weapons of Mass Distraction". They want to dazzle and confuse the public to draw our attention from the real problems. For example, they have the entire country riled up in the healthcare thing. Meanwhile, the country is in the financial hole by many trillions of dollars. And government spending is out of control to begin with.

    Before conservatives start hounding the liberals about this spending, lets not forget that there was a budget surplus that was considerable when Clinton left office. Within four years of Bush's administration, that was gone, and we were in the hole by 500 billion as I recall.

    Not to mention, that we had become distracted from the search for Osama Bin Laden, who is the real threat to national security. Instead, we sent our manpower and money to oust Saddam under false pretenses (a fake memo SUGGESTING chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in Iraq). And the spineless congress just gave their constitutional power to declare war to the President (an act I view as treason on all their parts by the way). But aside from the treason, I ask this, why would Saddam execute what turned out to be empty threats against us. Even at only 23, I still remember the 1st Gulf war on TV every night as we kicked Saddam's a*s all over his little sandbox. He knew we could reach out and touch him with impunity from the other side of the planet, so why would he give us a reason to blow him and Iraq off the map?

    Similar scare tactics were used a few weeks ago with North Korea. There was the suggestion that a test of one of their missiles over the Pacific was an armed missile that would be fired at Hawaii. Kim Jong Il is crazy, not stupid. He knows that if given the right provocation (like nuking Hawaii and killing hundreds of thousands of americans) he would be lucky if all we do is counterattack using conventional warfare alone. But I would expect nothing less than the use of small, strategic nukes in retalliation. And in the eyes of the world, I don't see how there could be a claim that such a response is unjustified. Exactly what is Obama supposed to do about North Korea without that provocation? Make a preemptive strike that, if North Korea does have nukes, might provoke them to use them when they might not otherwise do so? Not to mention the fact that we would appear to be the agressors in the eyes of the world and that North Korea would appear to be justified in nuking us.

    But liberals are no better for continuing the "Weapons of Mass Distraction" either. They also contribute to the mistaken impression that the country cannot survive without the two-party system. Not true, we can have as many parties as we want, or none at all. All that matters is that the legislature remains bicameral with the House and Senate. The House of Representatives and the Senate are completely separate concepts from parties. But both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans fuel the opposite (and incorrect) understanding.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  40. Hal

    Citizens are concerned about the billions of dollars that have been spent in the 4 months and want to speak to their representative about the issues. The majority of the people attending these meeting have nothing to do with this so called "organizer". Same old liberal media trying to position this story in a "tea bagger" position. Citizens deservie answers from their representatives both democratic and republican. This is what being an American is about.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  41. Joe Pepe NYC

    Keep being a cheerleader CNN instead of covering the news and watch as you loose more readers.
    People leave when you aren't acting as a reporting agency.
    You are becoming Parade magazine.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  42. Joseph Kushner

    this is the problem with the left when conservatives speak out they are told that they are crossing the line just by arguing there point. saying that whats going on at the townhall meetings is not civil disobedience. if that is going over the line how about the footage of the the anti war protests of the 60s when the left did more than just argue at townhall meetings. or how about when the left protesting about the iraq war that wasnt going over the line either. the problem is everybody wants the right to just shut up and take what obama is giving. but of course they cant' say that because that would show how they hate freedom of speech when its against there cause. the left argues and protests and thats freedom of speech and civil disobedience, they beat a protester down and thats okay too you don't report on that. but the right and moderate dems speak out for there children and elders and its going over the line. cnn let me give u some advice start reporting fair and balanced or you wont have to worry about your poor ratings because you'll be off the air.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  43. William

    Let me ask both sides a few questions;

    1- Do you believe Obama should live up to his campaign promise to post ALL bills on the internet prior to signing (this is a BIG bill)? Yes or No

    2- Do you believe you representatives should read ALL bills prior to voting on your behalf? Yes or No

    3- Do you trust the CBO (a bipartisan group with more dems the reps) over a politician with a specific agenda? Yes or No?

    4- Do you believe we could have waited a few weeks to rush through a massive stimulus package, when you look back to find 10% has been spent as of today. Yet again we were in such a rush that there was no time to post or read this package? Yes or No

    5- Do you think it is a tax increase if the federal government raises taxes on merchandise (power, gas, and food, anything except income tax)? I think it’s fair to say these taxes affect all of us not just those making over $250,000? Yes or No

    6- Do you believe Obama should or could do more to keep his promise of change? Yes or No

    7- Do you think we are still at war with terrorism all over the world? Yes or No

    8- Do you believe in freedom of speech? Yes or No

    9- Are you uncomfortable with the White house keeping lists of people that disagree? Yes or No

    I want OUR president to succeed, but I answer all these questions YES and that makes me uncomfortable. I think if you answer even one of these questions YES you may want to slow down the passing of the health care bill. Let’s hold both Republicans and Democrats responsible. Our Medicare and Medicaid are failing, the Post office is billions of dollars in the red, and our public schools are failing. Let’s face the facts WE have failed by allowing those who represent us do whatever they want. Don’t blame them, we voted them in. All we can do now is to start getting involved and not blame each other but hold ourselves responsible.

    August 8, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  44. Pat, CA

    Obama and his goons have had a free ride by the liberal media during the primaries and election - where REAL information about him was repressed daily. None of you liberals objected to that.

    Who the hell was Obama and what the hell did he ever do? Did the media care? NO!. All they knew is that he was black, gave a good speech, and they WANTED HIM because he makes "good" copy.

    Now that conservatives fight back the only way they know how - and you have the NERVE to condemn them!

    I hope sincerely that this is only the START of an American backlash to a totallydeceiving and currupt government that was elected by nothing but a PR stunt that millions of lemmings bought into.

    I look eagerly for opportunities to participate in health care reform town halls - and NO ONE is coercing me to attend.

    I am livid that something good (like our healthcare system) is being prostituted into something that a certain political party wants just because they're now in power - and may not have a chance to have it again!

    August 8, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  45. Jeff in South Jersey

    Follow the money... ask yourself, "Who is funding these 'wing-nut activist groups"?

    If you follow the money trail, you'll find these groups are well funded and heavily supported by the people who stand to lose the most if they are forced into reform... insurance companies and their lobbyists.

    Hopefully CNN will follow up and identify the major players, so we can have an educated American public discussing and debating the issues while recognizing who is behind the curtain.

    August 8, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  46. Independent

    Every poll they take says Americans are against it....what doesn't the Congress understand?

    August 8, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  47. Thomas Jefferson

    And yet another opportunity to wonder what our elected representatives are thinking. Perhaps some of this may explain why Democrats in the House unanimously voted down a proposed Republican amendment to the healthcare bill that would have required all congressmen to supplant their existing government furnished health insurance (which today include 12 different plans all provided by private insurance companies) with the Federal health insurance proposed in their own legislation. Sort or speaks volumes.

    I hope we are all letting our elected representatives know how we feel.

    August 8, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  48. Eric

    John – with regards to, "Oh poor Republicans and poor George Bush...", Obama didn't blatantly lie to justify an illegal war. Obama didn't privatize our army for the sake of bringing in Blackwater and Halliburton to spread their evangelical word with the butt of a gun, or to overcharge the US for services never rendered. Obama didn't deregulate every industry he could for the sake of making his family some money. Obama didn't disregard the Constitution as Bush did on an bi-annual basis. Obama didn't illegally wiretap Americans. Obama didn't start a war with minimal planning and no end game, and then fire 3 four star generals within a month after they told him it was a mistake. We could go on keep playing your "poor Republican" game all you want. The fact is that the right wing has been the evil empire, caring only for their own pocketbooks on the outstrreatched arm of bigotry and national fanaticism over the last 15 years. On top of that, you try to keep your constituency ignorant with fables about the earth being only 6000 years old and global warming being a farce. 18% of this country thinks the sun revolves around the earth! Those 18% are, without the slightest doubt, right wing Republicans and the "base" of your party. It is pathetic that you people care nothing about this country and only for your archaic ideals and only your own pocketbooks. It is down right embarrassing. You have made a mockery of this country.

    August 8, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  49. Eric

    How on earth can you attack Democrats for how you people are acting at these town halls? You are not allowing anyone to speak, to answer questions, to explain any points...rather, you are shouting out per your script, with irrational arguments and flat out lies. It is pathetic that you cannot allow even a town hall to follow through without attempting to physically attack the Congressman or threaten their lives. You are the same people who protested at the Tea Parties about higher taxes, when 97% of you got a tax cut this year, and taxes haven't increased technically for 17 years. Facts mean nothing to you. You say you have a problem with nationalized healthcare, but from what I have seen from the Town Halls, most of you are on Medicare. Basically, you are taking OUR money right now, and fighting to not allow the rest of us any opportunity in our future. You people are parasites and are pathetic.

    August 8, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  50. GTA

    These elected officials find themselves in a quandary; they want to complete this obscene power grab, but they also want to be reelected. The people have figured out that this raw grab for political power will undermine their freedoms and radically reduce the quality of their health care.

    What is hurting the democrat leaders is that they have absolutely no rational answers to the legitimate questions posed by the Town Hall attendees - many of whom are Democrats, themselves. Obama and Barney Frank - and MANY Democrat operatives have made statements captured on video that they WANT "single payer" (government only) health care. This only confirms the suspicions of the increasingly frustrated public.

    The outrage at the Town Hall meetings is the natural result of the stonewalling of elected officials who only seem interested in spewing the Democrat talking points.

    I find it telling that the Left is suddenly interested in whether the Tea Party movement of the Right is truly a "grassroots" movement - or whether the attendees are merely paid shills for some nefarious GOP group.

    The Left has never had a true grassroots movement - not one. That is why nearly the entire Leftist agenda has been imposed judicially, rather than through representative government.

    In addition, I have not heard a peep out of any Leftists regarding FAR more disruptive tactics employed on campuses and other places every week to silence conservative speakers, e.g., eggs, water, and other things thrown at the speakers. Look at the many videos of Code Pink on YouTube.

    Conservatives, both Republican and Democrat, have simply been ignored by several administrations in a row. Our elected representatives have not heard our legitimate concerns. We'd rather not shout, chant, and spend our valuable time tracking down our representatives, but they have left us no choice.

    August 8, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  51. juju705

    Jane-you are exhibiting thoughts of a paranoid-schitzophrenic individual. Run to your nearest shrink for assistance, please!

    August 8, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  52. jill

    The extremely worded messages on this issue illustrate the
    failure of this President to fulfill his most basic promise:
    to unite Americans. If this kind of chaos is NOT what he
    wants, why is he not stepping in to calm things down.
    In fact, his White House has incited its supporters
    to violence: hit back twice as hard. To paraphrase
    Charlotte: Some President.

    August 8, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  53. S. Callahan

    I think there is reason for an American citizen to be concerned. In the last year, if you (media) did your research you would find that the disabled, elderly (or older worker) was litteraly pushed out of the door of their work enviroments into retirement or destitue status. It's happening all over the country, particulary in local and states government jobs, yet no one seems to be convering the story. The long term impact for many is NO health insurance (consider again aging and disabled). Why do you suppose this is happening? Possibly a wave to attempt to gain support of a National Health Ins. ...who really knows....but the bully pulpit is going after the vunable and no one is raising cain about it.

    August 8, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  54. Pay to Play

    Although the thought of the government eventually dictating what medical care you can and can not have certainly is a major underlying concern for most people, one of the biggest immediate concerns appears to be the fact that we simply can't afford the program(s) that are being proposed. Several democrats and democrat appointed officials have readily admitted this. The solution is simple. If we are going to provide healthcare for everyone then everyone should have to pay federal income taxes, regardless of how much money they make or how many kids they have. If you tax the 50 percent of the population that doesn't pay a dime in income taxes you will have the money for healthcare. These people should not get free rides. For that matter, they shouldn't even be allowed to vote. If you want a say on how the money is spent then put some in the pot. If you don't pay to play then stop mouthing off on how the money of those that do pay is spent. Till then, they don't deserve a voice.

    August 8, 2009 at 6:28 am |
  55. Rich

    Single payer insurance? That would make the government the only source for medical care. Are you really willing to trust only the government with your health? I’m sure that the government would never use it as a political tool. I’m sure the government would never use healthcare to manipulate the population for its own desired outcome. Giving the government control over my health with no checks or balances is something I do not desire.

    August 8, 2009 at 6:01 am |
  56. Clint, GA

    Has anyone commenting here read the "proposed Health Care Reform Plan". Come on folks there is no plan written yet. The Democrats and the Republicans have different views on Health Care Reform and both parties should sit down and review what each has to offer. The loud and rowdy disruption of the town hall meetings in not what we need right now.

    I think everyone should go home take a "chill pill" and come back to have some meaningful discussions ... Then we might be able to agree on some type of Health Care Reform. This whole town halls mess over the past few day is not what real protest is about. It's just a lot of name-calling and lies that have nothing to do with Health Care Reform. The Republican are still mad that the "black guy" is the President and the can't get over it. I thought the American way was to be able to disagreed, but in the end respect the Office Of The Presidency.

    What the hell is going on is crazy and it's getting us no where ... Everyone should stop for and moment and say a prayer and get your hearts right with God, because that is what we truly need in this Nation and I mean right !!NOW!! PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL.

    August 8, 2009 at 5:05 am |
  57. al

    This is just another example of the hypocrisy within the Republican Party. They verbally pull on the cloak of Christianity while proceeding with their unChristian behaviour. Finding a Good Samaritan among the Republican faithful is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I expect most Republicans are evolutionists in hiding.

    August 8, 2009 at 5:04 am |
  58. thomas Lybbert

    CNN and the dems feel one group of Repub organized a nationwide packing of the town hall meetings is rather incredulous. CNN and the dems feel Americans are to stupid to be angry all on their own. Those are Americans doing their duties as citizens while the dem congressman are busy pushing dictatorial edicts down their throats. Now obama called out his ACORN thugs to beat up, intimidate and shut up our grandmas and grandpas.

    August 8, 2009 at 4:19 am |
  59. Ed S

    @Shingo, are you referring to the 4 SEIU members that beat that consevative black man that was selling American Flags senseless in St. Louis at last night's town hall meeting? If so, I don't think they were Republicans. However, if you are referring to the mobs of people that appear angry at all the town hall meetings across America, they are comprised of both Reublicans and Democrats. They all appear to be very concerned fellow Americans. Whoever they are, hooligans or citizens, I hope they keep it up. Not because of what they are doing to your civil rights, but because I like the numbers I'm seeing in the polls since these town hall meetings started.

    One good thing for you concerning this issue at present, is that you have your 1st Amendment right to free speech. It is undeniably protecte by the Constitution. That is, as long as nobody tries to CHANGE that as well. God Bless America and keep her safe from all enemies, both foreign and domestic!

    August 8, 2009 at 4:13 am |
  60. California Resident

    The right-wing is doing what it does best: Generating hysteria among the ignorant. Our country is now in mortal economic danger in large part because of the greed and excess of the free market health insurance system. We need a single-payer, government-sponsored health care system ASAP! We can't afford to wait anymore. It's time to stop listening to the Republicans – the official party of the ignorant.

    August 8, 2009 at 3:24 am |
  61. D. Tree

    Thanks for the balanced article. I would like to reiterate something you said: this reform is not about "Universal" healthcare OR "Euthanizing Grandma:"

    Its actually a very "centrist" plan, and not at all the "radical experiment" critics make it out to be.

    #This is a "Private & Public partnership" There will still be a thriving health care market, and everyone will benefit.

    The Public Option is based on what our own senators an troops have access to... shouldn't we all have the same choice?

    August 8, 2009 at 3:18 am |
  62. Ajax

    The GOP is committing suicide before our very eyes.
    They've gone from opposition to insane asylum.

    August 8, 2009 at 2:36 am |
  63. Shingo from CA

    I'm embarrassed I was ever a registered Republican. After 35 years they lost me last year when to be a Republican you had to lean far to the right. Now they lack the backbone to step up to the plate and stop these hooligans at the town halls. They have stepped on my civil right to have my voice heard. This will hurt them with health care and in the polls.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  64. June

    America needs a "Public Option" health care plan to help 47 million uninsured and under insurance Americans. It 's discrimination against the sick and poor not to offer a "Public Option" health care. Remember "I am my brother/sister keeper". The Republican leadership needs to step up to the plate. A monkey can run their party as long as it get a TV show or a radio deal. America is much smarter.

    August 8, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  65. John

    I dont like being called a mob when all I want to do is get the facts straight. The only way for some people to learn is with these events. By the way dont some of you remember the treatment republicans and anyone else got when just asking a question. How about the many interruptions on the colleges when speaking. Guess that is ok. The only side of the discussions some of us get is by President Obamas many press events. One sided. How about the names and the treatment President Bush received. Short memories. Dont make you feel good does it.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:47 am |
  66. tony

    So Bill, why is it you assume that members of unions can't be motivated by concern for their country as well?
    BTW, the equation of union members with Brown Shirts is particularly off base– suppression of organized labor being a primary goal of fascism.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  67. Richard Larson

    The righteous right have found a cause. That cause appears to be taken right out of Hitler's "Mein Kampf", and that is the new revolution of the Brown Shirts. The Brown Shirts being the extreme conservative / minute man base that describe anyone who does not believe exactly as they believe as being anti-american and socialist. The GOP apparently think they can ride this phenomenon to victory in 2010 by condoning what is being done as people expressing their opinions as they have the right to do. Well, that right is ok with me if you allow me to express my differing opinions.

    The Jews and ordinary peace loving Germans tried to ignore what was going on, but the problem is that these kinds of people do not understand that there are well defined limits to that free speech. Those limits are breached when murder is threatened, when criminal conspiracies to deprive law abiding people of their political rights, and when the political process is hijacked for the express purpose of abrogating the Constitution. The Brown Shirts won in Germany and more than 60 million people died as a result. Fascism was temporarily defeated. We had relative peace. Now, the same cancer on peaceful political discourse is threatening our country. I call upon those responsible persons on the GOP to bring all the pressure to bear that they can to prevent such a disaster from being reenacted in America today.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  68. Dude

    Please people....socialism will lead us to the utopia that we all want. We can be the USSA, how great would that be! Socialized medicine is just the first step. Next we will need to shut down the fast food chains, no more of those 750 calorie Mcgriddles with cheese and hash rounds. That's very bad for you. Everyone will be required to be at or less than ideal body weight per the charts in most pharmacies. You know the ones that say a 6'2" man should weigh 180lbs. Hopefully the big O will hire a Food Czar to tell us all what we can eat. He can also make cigarettes illegal. Also, we it would be nice if they forced everyone to join a gym and work out at least twice a day. If the big O could enforce these few things, then we will all be skinny in good shape, no diabetes, no heart disease, look sexy in a swimsuit, look like the guy on the Bowfles commercial. If we all are perfect there will be no need to go to the doctor. Man this socialism thing sounds great! Time to invest in granola!

    August 8, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  69. Francis Oklahoma

    Why is everyone's answer always more gov't control? Look at California and New York. They both have a lot of gov't control, medicare being one of those controls. They are both failing at an alarming rate and are dependent on federal money. If the gov't decides to stop the life support to these states they WILL go bankrupt. While the current medical system NEEDS to be overhauled, gov't takeover is NOT the answer.

    Furthermore, Why do these people need to be "hired" to be there protesting? I am a conservative who did not vote for Obama, I think borrowing our way out of debt is as smart as giving a shopaholic a credit card with a trillion dollar limit. It never ends, then at some point the collectors are going to start calling in that debt. I think adding "Universal Healthcare" to that bill will just make things even worse.

    As for everyone who is criticizing Bush for what he did in office; What would you have done instead? For those of you who think he "plotted" 9-11 or "just let it happen", you need to check your heart and mind. What would you do if some random person just slugged you in the mouth? Sit there and cry? Perhaps just let the guy keep pummeling you until you are know longer recognizable? NO, you are going to push him away, gather yourself and fight back! Iraq did not start on good terms. No WMDs were found. In turn people were absolutely angered because we did not find WMDs that they wanted Bush Impeached. If the war was about Saddam's mass murders, the Iraq war would not have had such a bad wrap. Democrats said that the surge would not work and that we have lost the war. Way to support the troops! Democrats are now using this same tactic, the surge, to fight in Afghanistan.


    I used to think President Obama was trying to make this country fail, I was wrong. He is trying with all his heart to do the right thing, but in the process I feel that it will bring this country to a place we have not been, were Russia is and this will let China climb the economic latter.

    Bush was not a good speaker by any means, but I don't remember him telling ANY of the American people to "shut up" and move out of the way. Obama continually blames the Repubs for the economic situation of this country, but lets get this straight, THEY BOTH FAILED!!! HUD homes were the worst idea ANYONE could have come up with. Blame the banks and rich all you want, it starts with policy on the Hill first.

    I have not done this yet and have only myself to blame; to pray for our President and the House and the Senate. They have a lot to do and little time to read what they have to make in to law. God hear our prayer and guide our elected officials. Help them come up with a good debt free way to move this country in a good direction. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!

    August 8, 2009 at 12:35 am |
  70. Curtis

    In reading all of these comments, you people are saying that everyone is against health care reform. This is not the case! People are against this bill. If you would actually read it, you would find that most of what these protesters are saying is true.

    Please read the darn thing and then make the accusations. It contains items that will make you cringe. Stop being ignorant and read it.

    Protesting is not un American.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  71. Ed S

    These do not appear to be small groups that are gathering at these meetings. And I can see why most of these people are angry. I also agree that all legal Americans should have access to healthcare, but I do not believe it would cost us 1.5 TRILLION Dollars to achieve this. I personally feel that if the proposed heaalthcare reform bill passes, that Medicare, Medicaid, and eventually Social Security will all end.
    After we have paid into these programs all of our lives, they will suddenly be taken away – and we will have voted for it. Also, I did not know that "CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN" actually meant that eventually our government was going to be running everything, with the exception of illegal immigration – they certainly are not controlling that aspect of our lves.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  72. Brian

    The media once again shows that the only thing bigger than their ignorance is their arrogance. They can't seem to understand that there are people that don't bow down to the 2 party monarchy like they do. So if some one is against a BAD policy coming from one of the parties, they must belong to the other party. They couldn't possibly just be against a bad idea. No, that could never happen. And they wonder why people no longer trust the media.

    August 8, 2009 at 12:05 am |
  73. Grace

    I'm sorry, but there never was any attempt at bi-partisonship by the President. The Democrats hijacked the system when they would not consider any other ideas but their own. Obama with his socialist, elitist attitude just ASSUMED Americans wanted a public option; he never asked the public what we wanted. Why would we want a public option that has the POSSIBILITY of eliminating the insurance we now have? Of course we are for healthcare coverage for everybody, but the rest of Congress never even looked into John McCain's suggestion during his presidential campaign of vouchers (wow-isn't that what they've done with education and now cash for clunkers?). OBAMA IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH WHAT AMERICANS WANT. And frankly, calling us to snitch on people or companies that do not agree with his healthcare plan sounds quite Communistic to me. See . Running so much propaganda is also a tool that Hitler used.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  74. Jon Fosdick

    This entire affair of interrupting town halls has been created by CNN. Their refusal to report honestly on things like the tax day tea parties has enraged the populace. The continued effort by various news organizations and our beloved congressional officials to silence the voice of the American people will only result in furthering our social difficulties. I am a non partisan, I went to a tea party as a neutral observer. Anyone who claims that these have been orchestrated by some GOP , or other ambiguous source clearly was not present at the events. These are ordinary Americans with legitimate concerns. I believe the more you try to paint them as kooky or nuts, or as some kind of organized protest the more you will increase their resolve to be heard. I personally am most near to being a true anarchist. I feel the government has no place at all in my dealings. For me things are simple I am an outlaw, and I just ignore the law. But these people obey the law, and are serious, they should be treated with the respect and dignity that everyone deserves. Had this happened from the outset you would not be seeing the kind of ugly scenes you are now witnessing.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  75. Rev Keith

    I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and I am not a fan of President Obama. As a minister, I have some interest in both speaking the truth and in treating my neighbors with love and respect.

    There may be plenty of reasons to disagree with the health care reform plans currently before Congress, but to characterize those plans as "evil", or to compare them to the Holocaust is flagrantly, sinfully dishonest, and it trivializes the suffering of the victims of the genocide by the Nazis.

    I have no problem with putting hard questions to our elected representatives, but disrupting town hall meetings, shouting down people who have different viewpoints, and engaging in bald-faced character assassination are clearly against the fundamental teaching of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves, and of basic, humanistic decency.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  76. Shaun

    This is insane. It's okay to disagree but shouting and screaming; sending death threats, is childish. Here's an idea, "If you have concerns about the plan ASK WHAT, HOW, & HOW MUCH" I am an 18yr old who will be starting my freshman year at college; I have family who serve this nation, and I am proud to call myself an American but the "outrage" I see is pure hatred. This is not the nation I love and its sickening, if these people don't use the brains god gave them, I truly fear someone is going to get hurt or worse. To the people who fan these fires stop! No good will come from the methods you are using. Most people want health care reform, so don't assume that these people represent the American people. When I was in high school I despised the belligerent students who ruined class for everyone else. I thought that it was only temporary, that adults would act more mature. I always thought this nation was funded on the principals of healthy debate and compromise. I guess I was wrong.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  77. Lynne

    Sarah Palin gets my vote for Wingnut of the Week

    According to Palin's latest rant, any reform of the health care system will ultimately result in the death of her Down's Syndrome son AND her parents.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  78. Ed Ant

    I have no idea who MacGuffie is.

    But I've known for a long time that government interference in business, banking, healthcare, along with less privacy and especially government-sponsored activist groups is a nightmare recipe that has been played over in the history books. Who has read them? It doesn't end well.

    January comes around and the vocal watchdogs of one group won't open an eye to any criticism of the other.

    All that has made this country different will soon be lost. Since I will be ridiculed if I express myself, I will simply watch the fence be slowly built around us. We are ruined.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  79. Timothy

    Republicans: you lost, get over it. The majority of the American people wanted change and we're trying to give it to them. Keep up the racist imagery and send your party further into a downward spiral.

    My health care is your responsibility.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  80. Another Bill

    Ender you are an idiot just like the rest of the liberals in this country! The real Americans in this country and I don't mean the far right wing or left wing nut jobs, are tired of the bs Democrats are trying to force down our throats. There is no debate. The Democrats have the majority and are pretty much telling the Republicans it's there way or no way. Most people in this country have the intelligence to know a Government run healthcare plan is a very bad idea! For example Medicare, Medicaid are bankrupt and the VA system is less than stellar. Currently most doctors will not accept Medicare or Medicaid, but supposedly this new nation wide Medicaid is going to be better. If you believe the government can run something without it going bankrupt you are and idiot. Now they are saying the post office is bankrupt. They did not expect the reaction they got at these townhall meetings. That shows how out of touch they are. They are clueless just like you. Why would Chuck Schumer propose the procedure to pass this bill with 51 votes as opposed to the 60 vote minimum if he was truly interested in a bipartisan solution? I can't believe there is a add sponsored by the DNC that calls the American people an angry mob for voicing there outrage and there opposition at these townhall meetings and blantantly lying that these Americans are GOP or insurance company operatives put in place intentionaly to disrupt the discussion. That is a slap in the face! They make the statement that "Tea Baggers" are back. I've been to several tea parties. These tea parties have absolutey nothing to do with the GOP! The people at these tea parties are good (Independent) Americans who are equally disgusted with both parties. We realy don't care that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Air America, John Stuart and all the other sickening liberals out there want to misinform (lie) to the country about who is attending the tea parties and the townhall meetings. It makes no difference. There will not be a Democrat/liberal left in Congress in 2010. Obama has made history as the first black American to hold the office. I am proud that we have a Black man in office. If he was a moderate, he would go down in history as a great President. Now he is pushing far left policy that goes against everything that Americans hold sacred and what makes us pround to be Americans. If you think people are pissed now, wait and see what happens if the Democrats pass this bill with 51 votes.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  81. Chicago Bob

    I personally like the guy at the townhall meeting with his Bluecross Blueshield polo shirt yelling obsenities. Congress have government healthcare, Seniors have Medicare, Military Veterans have the VA Hospitals, and the poor have Medicaid. When are the small business men/working middle class are gonna get theres?
    You Tea baggers are not foolin anybody. Come on, this has nothing to do with healthcare, it's all about a blackman living in the whitehouse. GOP get a life.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  82. Bobby in Smyrna, GA

    These wingnuts are just following the orders of their leaders (Rush, Hannity, Boortz, Coulter...). Their not interested in the details of the Health Care reform, their just being good German soldiers. If they can't win an argument on the merits then they will shout you down to drown you out.

    Someone please remind me what was done with respect to health care reform between 2001-2006 when the Republican controled the White House and both chambers of Congress? What, if anything, did the Republican do to control the cost of health insurance or see that those individuals who could not obtain health insurance because of a pre-existing medial condition or who were dropped from their coverage? WHAT DID THEY DO?

    Now that the Democrates are trying to advance the issue and put in place reform and make it easier for individuals to get and pay for coverage the Republicans want to pull out all the stops to prevent this from happening. The Republicans are filling the airwaves and town hall meeting with lies and misinformation to stop any sort of progress. Enough is enough, fair minded individuals in favor of health care reform cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and let this opportunity for reform slip by again. If it does not happen now, with this Administration, it won't happen for whatever time Obama remains in office and it will not happen under any type of Republican leadership. I'm imploring all fair-minded individuals to stand back up like we did in November and make sure that our voices are heard once again. President Obama and the Democratic leaership in Congress needs to hear our support and know that we have their back! Please, Please, Please contact your Senators and Represenatives by phone, email, or in person to know that HEALTH CARE REFORM MUST TAKE PLACE AND IT MUST TAKE PLACE NOW!

    August 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  83. Scott

    Being a veteran of the United States Marine Corps of 22 years I believe my voice should be heard at our town hall if they decide to have one. If given the chance I will ask WHY we are paying for illegal aliens health care, abortions and counselors to tell me what I i should do in my golden years end of life. Than I would ask Why are they going to take away my health insurance as a veteran well not really take it away but make unaffordable according to the CBO and I would have to go to a public plan. So call me a racist or unpatriotic or right wing nut case but I feel I have real concerns. I do not want here the rhetoric but the truth for once

    August 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  84. Another Bill

    This is great, I post 3 comments opposing healthcare, and the Communist News Network deletes all 3. Just like a bunch of pansy libs!

    August 7, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  85. Jose

    Look at the polls...the majority don't like what they are
    trying to do with health care....... this means that Republicans
    aren't the only opposition.

    The majority want it fixed.... not destroyed.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  86. Chas

    What nonsense! This is just more of the same old republican playbook. Anybody remember the phoney "protest" in so. Fla. during the recount? Some of the same right wing operatives are involved in this shout em' down tactic. The lies and hypocricy from the conservatives is disgusting! Just like the nazi's, conservatives seem to believe if you tell a lie often enough and loud enough, it becomes the truth. If the dems and reasonable americans allow these rightwingnuts to succeed...shame on us!

    August 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  87. clau

    I would love to know what the GOP's solution to the healthcare problem is, but all we hear are their efforts to shut down Dem reform efforts; they never propose an alternative. McCain had an interesting idea–taking the responsibility away from companies for providing healthcare and instead providing a credit for every taxpayer to buy his/her own plan. This is a real solution that allows the US workforce to compete in a global economy–and yet the GOP waste their time on this kindergarten stuff? They are pandering to the lowest common denominator, and the worst part is, the stupider citizens are taking the bait. It's a lot easier to whip up a frenzied mob than actually govern, i guess.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  88. William

    This whole notion that the people that are yelling, shoving, starting fights are doing their civic duty as Americans that could not be farther from the truth. YOU ARE ADULTS ACT LIKE IT! A town hall meeting is for people to have a debate on the issie at hand healthcare not for people that want to act like children thinking that they are helping the cause. You are just making yourself and whatever party you are affiliated with look unprofessional and down right dumb. This may pass if you were 5 years old fighting your parents on how late you want to stay up but these people look over 30 and older. And I'm talking to those people that went to those townhall meetings that did nothing but yelled,pushed people around and did nothing that talked about the issue in a non- intellectual way grow the hell up stop acting like a bunch of Limbaugh's and why don't you read the 1018 page bill it will probably take you 2 weeks like I had to do for my class since i'm a major in Political science read it and you will see how it will hold private insurers accountable, lower costs of healthcare down without bringing down the value (eventhough it is not the best healthcare we are somewhere between Morrocco and Slovakia for obvious reasons cause the high cost of an inefficient system and a the quality of the healthcare system. So do you're research read the bill yourself before you follow your politician's view on the bill because they don't read the whole bill anyway they get a 25 page summary of the bill.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  89. Dave in Illinois

    The biggest "wingnuts" are people like Avlon who can't accept that everyone doesn't share their viewpoint. In America, however, we have freedom of speech so both sides of the issue can be heard.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  90. Dan The Man with the Sarah Palin Plan

    wingnuts??? Childish name calling, sir.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  91. Benny

    Obama has deferred to Pelosi & Reid for domestic policy because he is so inexperienced with regard to providing leadership. His approval is going to continue to trend down since he doesn't have the guts to show true bipartisan leadership. Obama is a one-and-done president.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  92. Mike

    Once again, those who disagree with or are concerned by Obama's policies are marginalized and branded as crazy. If you don't bow to the left-wing, you have no legitimate views. Obama is the most thin-skinned politician I have seen in a long time. The vast majority of the media & blogosphere is in the tank for him, and he can't answer the critics who have reasonable concerns about the ridiculous spending he has put in place. Obama is a one-termer, and the so-called "progressives" are frightened to death. That's why they can't allow critics of Obama to be taken seriously. It will be so great to see Obama voted out in 2012. Maybe then we'll have a proven, experienced leader in office.

    August 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  93. Smells like Nazi Spirit

    – Mobs organized to shout down and prevent public meetings and discussions.

    – Labeling anyone concerned about the excesses of super-concentrated wealth a Socialist.

    – Assassinating doctors.

    – Operating a secret, off-the-books government that hides and lies about its activities to the legal, elected government.

    – Trumping up false reasons to launch an unprovoked, aggressive war.

    – Advancing a hyper-partisan political agenda at any cost, regardless of the damage done to the country.

    These are tactics of fascists.

    August 7, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  94. Anna deBlanc

    I am an independent and I did not vote for Obama. When he investigated Joe the plumber , he killed any chance I would vote for him. He is doing just what I thought he would do with Ms. Pelosi and the rest of the radical left in power. Healthcare may need reform, but total government take over is not the answer. Cap and Trade is a slap in the face of hard working Americans and we will really be hurt in the long run by it. We are also being hurt by the deficit spending Mr Obama has done on his own, blaming it on Republican tax cuts. He is taking back what Mr Bush gave me. I am not happy and I do not trust the Democrats. They should change their name to what it is , Socialist party of America.
    I would go to the town hall meeting, if they had them, but I would not put it past the present administration to have agitators there to make it look like regular citizens, who are angry, are unreasonable.

    August 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  95. Objective thinking

    So between some people on the right that may be hijacking it, and others who showed up out of concern, you people choose to spend your energy responding with hate to the orchestrators while ignoring the truly concerned.

    This is typical, and mirrors what happened with the tea parties. Libertarians have been having tea parties every year, including under Bush. This year Obama is in office, the mainstream Republicans flock to the tea parties, and the press and liberals only pay attention to the Republicans, calling them hypocrites for only protesting under Obama and not Bush.

    Well what about the Libertarians that WERE there under Bush?!??! What do you have to say to them???

    August 7, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  96. Orlando

    We should emulate third world models where health care is only for the wealthy and there are no social relief institutions. Revoke medicare and social security and make everyone accountable for themselves. Bring back the nuclear family and have everyone take care of their own.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  97. CLIFF

    I cracked up reading the comment by Larry about "courrupt Republicans!
    There has never been an administration or party as courrup as what we now have in office!
    They run the entire spectrum...from racist to crook.
    Hope the Obamites are happy with the "change" the Democraps are putting on our financial backs.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  98. Hypocrites_are_everywhere

    I voted for Reagan but actually started to enjoy watching the right wingnuts get slaughtered with the same fervent as what they had dissed out to the left wingnuts over the last 8 years!

    Obama is very smart and effective. If the pirate situation is an indication, we can count on Obama's 3 checkmate moves!

    1. Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation
    2. Mullah Omar and/or Osama bin's head (by July 4th 2011 or, at the latest, 9/11/11!)
    3. Healthcare reform squeaks through

    Middle East's long-lasting (I.e. most stable thus far) peace will be in place! And the economy will heal itself by 2012! And the right wingnuts still don't know what hit them!

    Just watch!

    August 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  99. Wynter

    "Populist Outrage" from the Republicans? On Healthcare? Give me a break. There hasn't been a peep from the Conservatives on the Healthcare issues destroying out economy these past eight years and NOW they suddenly come out in so-called tea parties to complain about Healthcare issues? It is completely fake and staged by the GOP political wonks. The GOP wingnuts call their wranglers like Rush Limbaugh, Fox News others to stir up the venom on the airwaves so that the far right wing gets all riled up with outrageous false accusations and give them places to meet and buses to transport the angry mobs wherever they would do the most damage.

    Typical GOP... No ideas... Just alot of spin.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  100. STEVE

    First, I'm for voting the whole of Congress out and starting fresh.Second, term limits for all goverment elected positions Even the good guys go sour after being in office 20 years.In his Chicago days,did not Obama teach these kind of tactics to people when they went to share holders meeting..YES he did. So now the tables have turned and if you smell something"fishy"..let the White House know.
    Obama has wanted "public opton" for years for goverment health programs...he has said it time and time again.Now if you think the goverment can run health program....just look at the Post Office...7 Billion dollars in the hole. If illegals are allowed to have this health program, they are going to flood into this country and really bust the budget of the health system..7 billion would be a drop in the bucket.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
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