Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tea party tantrums prove effective

Our Rep. Doggett had his first hometown Q&A rally (this past Sunday) since the health care bill was signed into law. Since last August when he was one of the earliest targets of the Dick Armey/Glenn Beck minions at what was previously a regularly scheduled, civil, and organized town hall style meeting, it has become necessary to have more provisions for the security and safety. The last couple were held at the AFL-CIO meeting hall, and both times the room has been filled to capacity and beyond (to the point where the Fire Marshall has to be mindful of crowd size) and these are mostly supporters plus people who aren’t necessarily supporters but just people who are able to ask a question in a civilized manner. I don’t know how many people the room holds but it looked like a good 200-300 people, and they put speakers outside the building so the overflow crowd can hear.

But, out of this rally of a few hundred supportive or otherwise civil people, who gets all the news coverage? It’s the Tea Party tantrum (which looked to me like maybe a dozen people at the most) which protested with yelling, a bullhorn, yelling into a bullhorn, etc., that gathered outside. To add to the newsworthiness of it, there was a skirmish (captured on video and posted by a rightwinger) which they called a “fight.” It was not a fight if they are talking about what is shown here. An “Organizing For Change” (OFA Obama-oriented group) person decided to stand near the opposition and try to out-yell them – then was manhandled by a security guard. All the news media jumped on this incident and the presence of the dozen protesters (one even reported that a thank-you rally turned into a fight! It didn’t! We were there, indoors where the event was taking place, and were barely even aware of any skirmishes outside.

Mayor Leffingwell also said a few words, and a reminder that the City Council of Austin voted to endorse a single-payer bill back in 2008 (when Leffingwell was a Council member), and as we know, single-payer is now pie in the sky, at least for the time being until this country (and the government) becomes more progressive. Doggett has been working hard on this health care bill, including preserving the Public Option, and although most of us (him included) would have wanted a more progressive product, we finally got something that I believe still has a ways to go but is a major improvement.

[edit 4/3: Video now available of Doggett speaking at the event]

Local rally coverage
[KXAN] [News8]

Lloyd Doggett: "We Must Turn Down the Volume on Hate" [video]

[addendum: The Statesman breaks ranks and posts more accurate coverage here.]
[addendum: Link for OFA Austin site]



I'd like to be at one of those meetings and show them what really rude behavior is...I can still throw a good punch for an old lady.

Blueberry said...

They aren't worth a bruised knuckle - mean, hateful people.

Professor Chaos said...

so sad, the more they act like spoiled children, the more attention they get.