HUFFINGTON POST: When Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) came to the National Constitution Center to answer questions about health care reform, they were greeted by an overflow crowd of approximately 400 people, the majority of whom were supporters with legitimate questions. Unfortunately, though, a well-organized, belligerent and loud group of right-wingers stood in the aisles and across the back and disrupted the town meeting throughout. They yelled, shouted and jeered, and it was clear that they were not there to participate, but instead to try to disrupt the meeting and make it difficult as possible for anyone else to ask questions. They jeered from the moment the director of the Constitution Center stood to welcome everyone. For a few days leading up to the town meeting, e-mails circulated around Philadelphia warning that the “tea-baggers” were planning to protest the meeting and, although there were fewer of them than there were supporters–they made more noise shouting about “socialism,” “abortion,” and “assisted suicide.” MORE
THINK PROGRESS: This morning, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by “angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior” at local town halls. For example, in one incident, right-wing protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety. This growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. Recently, right-wing demonstrators hung Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) in effigy outside of his office. Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms. The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress. MORE
PHAWKER: This is the Gulf Of Tonkin Incident of the War On Health Care Reform
INQUIRER: None Of This Is Mentioned In Our Story
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RELATED: The Brooks Brothers riot was a demonstration by Republican activists at a meeting of election canvassers in Miami, Florida on November 19, 2000, organized for the purpose of bringing about the cancellation of a hand recount in which 10,750 ballots remain uncounted in the recount of the 2000 United States presidential election. The name refers to a traditional brand of suits associated with conservative business attire like that of the protesters. At least half a dozen of the identifiable rioters were paid by Bush’s recount committee.  The crowd was reported to have been directed by Congressman John E. Sweeney, a Republican from New York.