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Grassroots Activism For Me, But Not For Thee

Democratic legislators are complaining vigorously about the push-back they are receiving on health reform during town hall meetings. House Majority Leader Pelosi stated that reform opponents were "carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare" and dismissed them as "Astroturf" rather than a grassroots movement. An editorial cartoon in the Washington Post similarly suggests that the protests are being orchestrated.

Senator Reid views protesters as a "fringe that is trying to mess up our meetings." The White House Deputy Chief of Staff has advised legislators if "If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard." The Administration is asking individuals who hear things that are "fishy" to submit them by email. Paul Krugman concedes that anti-privatization activists" who opposed social security reforms during the Bush Administration were "sometimes raucous and rude, [but] I can't find any examples of congressmen shouted down, congressmen hanged in effigy, congressmen surrounded and followed by taunting crowds." Krugman concludes this is "something new and ugly" -- and reforms opponents must be motivated at least in part by racism.

Krugman's claim that protests of this sort are unprecedented is wrong. A virtually identical scenario played out in 1989. By an overwhelming margin, Congress had enacted the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act in 1988. The Act provided more extensive hospitalization benefits and prescription drug coverage, but it imposed the costs of that benefit on the elderly.

Congress was soon flooded with angry letters and there were numerous confrontations with angry constituents when individual congressmen returned to their districts. As Andrea Mitchell observed on ABC News, "the elderly are not against the new benefits -- unlimited hospital care, new at-home benefits, prescription drug coverage; they just don't want to pay for them."

The turning point came on August 17, 1989, when Dan Rostenkowski, House Ways and Means Chairman and one of the most powerful men in Congress, found himself fleeing a crowd of irate senior citizens protesting the Catastrophic Coverage Act.

Representative Rostenkowski had scheduled a meeting in his home district to hear constituent concerns and speak about the advantages of the Medicare catastrophic coverage act. A crowd of angry senior citizens waved signs protesting the fact they would have to pay more taxes to fund the covered benefit. People shouted "coward," "recall," and "impeach" after Representative Rostenkowski refused to speak with them and got in his car. One senior citizen (Leona Kozien) even jumped on the hood of Congressman Rostenkowski's car to stop him from leaving.

The picture below was taken moments before Ms. Kozien jumped on the hood -- she is the women in the rose-colored heart shaped glasses. (The picture appeared in Newsweek and the Chicago Sun Times, and was taken by Tom Cruze)

Representative Rostenkowski got out of the car and ran a block, chased by the crowd. He was then picked up by his car and whisked away. The incident resulted in front page coverage nationwide. The TV news ran footage of Rostenkowski fleeing from his constituents. Rostenkowski reportedly asked his press secretary whether the issue would go away in a few days, and was told "Let me put it this way Congressman. When you die, they will play this clip on television." Three months later, the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act was repealed.

As with today, the media had little sympathy for the protesters. The New York Times editorialized that "there's little reason to sympathize with the aggrieved affluent elderly," whose complaints were "short-sighted and narrow-minded." In the New Republic, one commentator condemned the "selfishness" of the "affluent elderly," and asked "so long as we continue to provide enormous subsidies to the affluent elderly, why shouldn't they help pay for the poor of their generation?" (You can read more, and find the sources for the enclosed in chapter four of my book on Medicare.

It is understandable that the Administration and Congressional Democrats are unhappy with push-back to their plans. But, August is proving to be rich in ironies. The Administration of a former teacher of constitutional law is unhappy that individuals are exercising their Constitutional right to petition the government for redress of grievances. The Administration of a former community organizer is complaining about community organizing. Congressional Democrats have long relied on community organizing (and union members), and are suddenly appalled at organized communities.

And, perhaps the richest irony of all -- the organizer of the protest against Rostenkowski was Jan Schakowsky -- then Director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens -- and currently Democratic representative from the Ninth Congressional District of Illinois, and chief deputy whip to Majority Leader Pelosi. You can read Schakowsky's account of the incident, her role, and her views on the importance of citizen involvement in government here -- at a lecture she gave at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research in 2002, entitled "Why Citizen Activism Matters: The View From Washington."

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. The Perils of High Public Office: II
  2. The Perils of High Public Office
  3. Grassroots Activism For Me, But Not For Thee
Steve:
Whether you agree or disagree that attempting to shout down a question-and-answer session with cries of "tyranny!" constitutes "an exercise of one's Constitutional right to petition the government for redress of grievances" may depend on whose ox is being gored, but I would suggest that an objective answer actually exists.

Yes, you have a right to bring a swastika to a meeting about health care. Pointing out that the other side is bringing swastikas is also a part of the political process.
8.7.2009 4:48pm
Jason Arvak (mail) (www):
Krugman is being a bit disingenuous by limiting his finding to no *Congressmen* burned in effigy during the Bush administration. Anti-war and anti-Bush protests that burned the President and/or VP and/or SECDEF in effigy were fairly commonplace.

Imagine that — Krugman twisting the truth. :rolleyes:
8.7.2009 4:49pm
DangerMouse:
I am thoroughly enjoying the hypocrisy of the left here. It is wonderful to see them hoisted by their own petard.

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism... except when against Obama.

Community Organizing is noble... except when against Obama.

Protests are the voice of the people... except when against Obama.

Ace has done a great run-down of the MSM's amazing bias in presenting how the libs protest verses how the right protests.
8.7.2009 4:54pm
Badness (mail):
Violent vigorous organized protest is not new to the American political scene. One might call it a natural consequence of the Founders' not having found a suitable way to bar organized parties without sacrificing liberty.

Still, that one is free to protest vigorously does not imply that such protests are beyond reproach, nor that they are wise.
8.7.2009 4:55pm
Twinky:
Wow.

Krugman wrote: "I've gone through many news reports from 2005, and while anti-privatization activists were sometimes raucous and rude, I can't find any examples of congressmen shouted down, congressmen hanged in effigy, congressmen surrounded and followed by taunting crowds."

DH Wrote: "Paul Krugman concedes that anti-privatization activists who opposed social security reforms during the Bush Administration were 'sometimes raucous and rude'...Krugman's claim that protests of this sort are unprecedented is wrong. A virtually identical scenario played out in 1989"

DH,

You totally failed to rebut Krugman. He was talking about 2005, during the George W. Bush administration, not 1989, during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Basically Krugman said that nothing this bad happened in 2005 during George W, and then you try to rebut this with a counterexample from 1988-89 during George H.W.
8.7.2009 4:58pm
Ken A (mail):
Let's not fall into the trap of conflating what people have a right to do (give expression to their anger, petition the government for redress of their grievances) with the right way to go about it (i.e., civilized and constructive).

It seems that Mr. Hyman and a couple commenters are muddying the difference.
8.7.2009 5:00pm
PlugInMonster:
So if 5 swastikas out of 100,000 protesters that means what? It's typical of Pelosi and the libs to cite the rogue idiot as representative of all the oppposition. Read "Rules for Radicals". this is a typical Alinskyites tactic.

What if I say that all liberals support Hamas because I saw a few at a anti-Israel protest? I'm sure they would cry bloody murder over that one!
8.7.2009 5:00pm
PlugInMonster:
Community organizing for me, not for thee....

Read "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky to know the minds of Obama, RahmBo and other flunkies.
8.7.2009 5:01pm
name:
I don't see the administration complaining. They're just promising to fight back with their own side of the story. Isn't that exactly what you'd expect from a constitutional law professor?
8.7.2009 5:02pm
roy:
Twinky,

I made the same mistake you did initially. But while part of Krugman's statement is limited to 2005, he goes on to write about the trouble as "something new and ugly". It's not new if it happened in 1989, and DH found that it happened in 1989.
8.7.2009 5:04pm
Ken A (mail):

What if I say that all liberals support Hamas because I saw a few at a anti-Israel protest? I'm sure they would cry bloody murder over that one!


Nah. We're used to that kind of criticism, PlugInMonster. And not from random commentors on blogs, but from GOP leaders, pundits, and media giants.
8.7.2009 5:05pm
DangerMouse:
I don't see the administration complaining.

Oh really?

Obama: "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking"
8.7.2009 5:06pm
Professor Chaos:
Twinky, I think DH was responding to Krugman's claim that this sort of vigorous and, yes, perhaps organized protest is "new and ugly." If Krugman wants to claim something is new in politics, I don't think he can validly limit his sample to a single, convenient year.
8.7.2009 5:06pm
NorthernDave (mail):
Actually, isn't the concerning issue the Administration's request to have any and all opposing voices reported and catalogued (by hearsay even, but that's another issue) during the course of public debate over major legislation?

Will the First Amendment soon be functionally defunct?
(Much as Lenin's Freedom of Religion clauses in the old Soviet Constitution - they were still on the books until the end as I recall, but functionally ignored by the State....)
8.7.2009 5:06pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I think we are supposed to forgive Krugman because he's an economist. As such he gets to theorize with little attention to how well theory fits the facts. If they disagree, then too bad for the facts. I'm not sure he can distinguish between the abstractions that inhabit his inner mind and what happens out here in the real world. If we lived in a sane place many economists would he doing their work from a padded cell. But calling people "racist" who disagree with him is a new low, even for the demented Krugman.

Economists have even made up their own phony Nobel Prize officially know as the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) Prize in memory of Alfred Nobel. You can get a economics "Nobel" even for false theories such as the thoroughly discredited Capital Asset Pricing Model.
8.7.2009 5:08pm
nomilk:
You totally failed to rebut Krugman. He was talking about 2005, during the George W. Bush administration, not 1989, during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Basically Krugman said that nothing this bad happened in 2005 during George W, and then you try to rebut this with a counterexample from 1988-89 during George H.W.

Krugman has already been taken down on his point about 2005.

I think D.H. was just adding additional historical perspective. You know, like the old saying: an ounce of history is better than a pound of Krugman.
8.7.2009 5:15pm
name:
@5:06

Nope. I don't see how that clip could be construed as him "complaining" about either individuals petitioning the government or community organizing.

It's hard to tell without the context, but I'd guess his comments are directed at the Bush administration (those would be "the folks who created the mess"). Also, given that he's smiling and laughing, I think he might be joking!
8.7.2009 5:18pm
The Court's Friend:

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism... except when against Obama.

Community Organizing is noble... except when against Obama.

Protests are the voice of the people... except when against Obama.


Somehow, the people protesting against socialized medicine are Nazis but the Sheehans and the Code Pink loons are true patriots!?!?!?

No one but the limousine leftists like Pelosi, Boxer, Kennedy, and their media lapdogs could utter this stuff with a straight face!
8.7.2009 5:18pm
gerbilsbite:
Democratic complaints aren't really about what's happened already in most instances, David, but about what's inevitably going to happen next.

And when it does happen, the deflection and projection that's characterized so much of the Republican defense of God(win)-fearin' and occasionally racist Teabaggers, town hall rioters, and (let's be honest) completely insane Birthers will be used to say that the persons who took their anger out on a crowded meeting hall at some civic center were really the victims here (or, of course, that they were not true Scotsmen). will say that he'd have personally stopped everyone if only he'd been there, and the usual suspects will say that all could have been avoided if only more people went to civic meetings with concealed weapons.

There's already been a melee in St. Louis, and it's only the 7th of the month. I'll be truly surprised if there hasn't been a killing by Labor Day (hey, maybe that will be when SEIU
gets theirs!)

I'll admit it: we're scared of your side. Can you really blame us?
8.7.2009 5:22pm
PC:
Somehow, the people protesting against socialized medicine are Nazis but the Sheehans and the Code Pink loons are true patriots!?!?!?

The Code Pink people are left wing loons and the people comparing Obama to Hitler are right wing loons. Not sure why that's so hard.
8.7.2009 5:26pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
If you were really scared of the other side, you wouldn't call them vile names like 'Teabaggers', would you, gerbilsbite? And you might want to note that the "melee in St. Louis" put one black conservative in the hospital and six people (including either 1 or 3 SEIU members, depending on who reports it) behind bars.
8.7.2009 5:28pm
DangerMouse:
I'll admit it: we're scared of your side. Can you really blame us?

Too funny. SEIU thugs start fights and get arrested, and you're the one who's afraid of violence?

Here's some advice: buy a gun. There, now you won't be afraid anymore, and you can sleep soundly on your Messiah pillow.
8.7.2009 5:29pm
Spartacus (www):
Do a Google Images search for Bush Swastika:

8.7.2009 5:31pm
Spartacus (www):
8.7.2009 5:31pm
Spartacus (www):
Can't get the link to work, but the results are pretty typical.
8.7.2009 5:31pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Krugman writes:
That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that's behind the "birther" movement, which denies Mr. Obama's citizenship. Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don't know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn't be surprising if it's a substantial fraction.
Thus we see how what's in Krugman's head gets projected out into actual events. As far as I can see he has no evidence whatsoever that the "birthers" and the health care protesters share many members. He just makes stuff up.
8.7.2009 5:34pm
PC:
Can't get the link to work, but the results are pretty typical.

Loons. Still not sure why this is difficult.
8.7.2009 5:35pm
gerbilsbite:
Dr Weevil: I don't care who started it in Tampa or in St. Louis--it's a destructive pattern of confrontation that accomplishes nothing to further either side.

DangerMouse: I knew I could count on you for the requisite ironic gun-fetishism (incidentally, I own two, and don't draw a false sense of security from either one--you really think a third will help?).
8.7.2009 5:38pm
PC:
As far as I can see he has no evidence whatsoever that the "birthers" and the health care protesters share many members.

Google is often useful.
8.7.2009 5:38pm
nomilk:
Nope. I don't see how that clip could be construed as him "complaining" about either individuals petitioning the government or community organizing.

It's hard to tell without the context, but I'd guess his comments are directed at the Bush administration (those would be "the folks who created the mess"). Also, given that he's smiling and laughing, I think he might be joking!


Or given that he's at a Virginia gubernatorial campaign event, maybe he's talking about the Democratic governors who've held the Virginia Executive Mansion for the last 8 years? Who knows what the hell he's talking about?
8.7.2009 5:40pm
Federal Dog:
About these swastika allegations: The only images that I have seen are a few swastikas with lines drawn through them (signaling opposition to National Socialism). Are leftists who are decrying these images professing support for Nazis?

And why exactly are they consistently concealing the fact that the images expressly designate opposition to what the swastikas represent?
8.7.2009 5:41pm
cirby (mail):
It's also pretty hilarious how the various leftists complain about astroturfing and the potential for mayhem in protests, but were strangely silent during the massive, heavily astroturfed antiwar protests of 2003... many of which resulted in violence and disruption (and rudeness! Oh, the horrors!) that dwarfed anything that's even being predicted for the current round of anti-pork protests.
8.7.2009 5:43pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
You want Bush Swastika images try here, here, here ...
8.7.2009 5:43pm
Brian K (mail):
Grassroots Activism For Me, But Not For Thee

you don't remember the bush years, do you? or are you conveniently forgetting them?

the same people who now say it is our patriotic duty to protest, back then said exactly the opposite.

i guess pointing out the hypocrisy runs both ways is a little above you though.
8.7.2009 5:43pm
DangerMouse:
you really think a third will help?

If you're so deathly afraid about the possibility of a free people voicing dissent to your Messiah, then maybe it'd be safer for your mental stability to seek professional help than to depend on yourself for your own protection.

I'm sure Nancy Pelosi could recommend a good psychologist.
8.7.2009 5:44pm
Nunzio:
Nancy Pelosi is not the majority leader. She's Speaker of the House. Steny Hoyer is majority leader.

That the Speaker of the House feels free to lob incendiary generalizations about people who disagree with her does not speak well of her.

Krugman's economic columns are engaging, but most of the rest of them show him to be a partisan hack.
8.7.2009 5:45pm
ShelbyC:
I wish more of these folks showing up at town hall meetings with the congresscritters really were teabaggers. That would make for some funny photos :-)
8.7.2009 5:46pm
raven397 (mail):
I think it would be amusing to flood the White House snitch site with bogus reports accusing Libs and Lefties of anti-Obama thoughtcrime.
the address is flag@whitehouse.gov
8.7.2009 5:46pm
name:
@5:40. I don't know. For whatever reason, the people who posted the clip only saw fit to give us 56 seconds. I'm starting to suspect that they want people to take it out of context.
8.7.2009 5:46pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
PC:

Google is often useful.

Have you looked at those hits? Hardly proves anything one way or the other. Of one will find an occasional "birther" at a tea party or health care protest, but how does that establish a substantial overlap?
8.7.2009 5:48pm
Flash:
Today's news....

New Mexico Independent, “Local libertarian advocates ‘retaliation…be it verbal or physical’ at health care town halls” Aug 7, 2009:
“If ACORN/SEIU attends these meetings for disruptive purposes, and you have a license to carry….carry.”

“If ACORN/SEIU attends these townhalls for disruption, stop being peaceful, and hurt them. Badly”
8.7.2009 5:48pm
Michael H Schneider (mail):
exercising their Constitutional right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Isn't there another word in that phrase? Doesn't it say 'the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for redress of their grievances"?

The problem is that the current efforts are not peaceable, and they are not simply efforts to petition for redress. Instead, the goal is to prevent supporters of health care reform from exercising their right to speak, to prevent reasoned debate.

Whether it also happened in any particular previous year, and by whom, strikes me as irrelevant. Any effort to stifle debate is bad, and saying "but the Clintons did it first" is no justification.
8.7.2009 5:53pm
DangerMouse:
The problem is that the current efforts are not peaceable...

Yelling at a congressman is not peacable? Are you going to arrest them now? Gosh, you libs sure do turn into statist thugs very quickly when the rabble don't listen...

This is a typical Alinsky tactic: have your union thugs cause violence, claim that things are out of control, and then shut the opposition down because things are out of control. Typical libs.
8.7.2009 5:59pm
Houston Lawyer:
The protestors, other than the union thugs sent by the Democrats, have been peaceful. They are not required to be gagged to be peaceful. They may be raucus, but they haven't been violent. We leave the violence to the Lefties.

Since all of the networks, other than Fox, are actively cheerleading the Obama agenda, it's not like the Democrats can't get their views out.
8.7.2009 6:00pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Yes, you have a right to bring a swastika to a meeting about health care. Pointing out that the other side is bringing swastikas is also a part of the political process.


Given that the Belgian model for universal coverage (which has been extensively studied during the Clinton years as a possible model for a US system) was brought there by the Nazis, I think the label of it being a Nazi system is quite appropriate.

Whether that is sufficient reason to oppose the system is another matter. We don't oppose bans on the use of asbestos as a building material just 'cause the Nazis did that first, for example.
8.7.2009 6:01pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
gerbilsbite:

I'm not sure what you are afraid of. Conservatives as thugs? You have to be kidding. Conservatives write letters and blog postings. Come on over to Berkeley and I will show you what the left does when you disagree.

1. My friend got his arm broken for making positive statements about Israel in the Berkeley Jewish Community Center. His attacker was not arrested-- this is a people's republic after all.

2. Conservatives who give talks on campus need bodyguards to enter the campus.

3. Professor Arthur Jensen required a personal police escort to simply leave his building and go to the library. This went on for at least a year.

4. If someone at a demonstration dares utters anything contrary to the mob, you can hear them yell "shut him up."

Now Obama is getting some deserved push back and all of a sudden we have brown shirts in the streets. You must be kidding.
8.7.2009 6:04pm
PC:
. Of one will find an occasional "birther" at a tea party or health care protest, but how does that establish a substantial overlap?

I don't know if there's a substantial overlap, but there is certainly overlap. I would guess that if a person is a birther, there is a high probability that person is a Tea Party member too. But that doesn't mean every Tea Party member is a birther. Same goes for truthers.
8.7.2009 6:05pm
gerbilsbite:
DangerMouse: have you ever even read Alinsky, or is that just another buzzword you use like "socialism" "fascist," "ACORN," "SEIU," or whatever the liberal boogeyman du jour happens to be?
8.7.2009 6:07pm
dearieme:
"reforms opponents must be motivated at least in part by racism": Goebbels would be proud of mr Krugman.
8.7.2009 6:13pm
Edward Lunny (mail):
" Krugman's economic columns are engaging, but most of them show him to be a partisan hack. ". Fixed it for you.
8.7.2009 6:15pm
Bored Lawyer:

the same people who now say it is our patriotic duty to protest, back then said exactly the opposite.


Is it possible that there is a difference protesting a proposed domestic policy and protesting -- and possibly undermining, depending on what is said -- a war effort abroad which the majority of the country through its elected representatives has chosen to pursue?
8.7.2009 6:20pm
PC:
Yelling at a congressman is not peacable?

One might say it's loud and tumultuous.
8.7.2009 6:22pm
PC:
Is it possible that there is a difference protesting a proposed domestic policy and protesting -- and possibly undermining, depending on what is said -- a war effort abroad which the majority of the country through its elected representatives has chosen to pursue?

iirc, the people protesting the war, both before it started and after, were called traitors. Treason can carry the penalty of death. In this case some people are being called teabaggers.

/me does a quick search of the constitution

Yeah, calling someone a teabagger doesn't carry an implied death penalty with it.
8.7.2009 6:26pm
gerbilsbite:
A. Zarkov:

You think of a Jewish community center, I think of a Holocaust Museum (I suppose we each look for examples closer to our geography).

I escorted Bill Ayers to a campus talk at Georgetown Law last year. We were kept in a locked room under armed guard before the talk, and immediately whisked to a waiting vehicle amidst a phalanx of armed guards afterwards. It's bad when this stuff faces Ann Coulter, and it's bad when it faces Bill Ayers, and it's completely unacceptable when it faces members of Congress.

I have no problem with dissent. This ain't that. I have no problem with opposing the reform effort. This ain't that, either. These are confrontations at best designed to provoke, at worst intended to intimidate members of Congress (wonder where I got the idea that intimidating them was a goal...). It's an attempt not to win an argument but to cow an opponent. And it won't end well for either side.
8.7.2009 6:27pm
gerbilsbite:
Bored Lawyer:

Is it also possible that, given the different scales at issue in those two events, the worst of the protesters in the domestic agenda one shouldn't be emulating the worst of the protesters in the foreign policy one?
8.7.2009 6:29pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
PC:

"I don't know if there's a substantial overlap, but there is certainly overlap."

"Substantial" is Krugman's word, not mine. I'm sure there's some overlap, but calling it "substantial" is purely speculative on Krugman's part. Surely if someone writes a column in a major newspaper, he should back up what he says, if only a little bit. How is reading Krugman on this stuff any better than talking to a New York cabbie? I'm assuming at least a few must speak English these days.
8.7.2009 6:34pm
AJK:

These are confrontations at best designed to provoke, at worst intended to intimidate members of Congress


Of course they're supposed to intimidate members of Congress -- specifically, to let them know that if they vote the wrong way, they'll be out of a job.
8.7.2009 6:40pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
gerbilsbite:

"I escorted Bill Ayers to a campus talk at Georgetown Law last year."

Unless you were somehow obligated to do that, this does not speak well of you. Ayers wrote Prairie Fire, and I have a copy. He dedicates the book to Sirhan Sirhan. The rest of the the book is even worse. He's a very inflammatory figure. On the other hand, my friend is a relative nobody simply expressing a opinion in the Jewish Community Center. One would think it safe to say something positive about Israel in such a place. But no, not in Berkeley.

Would you have escorted David Duke (who is not as bad as Ayers)?
8.7.2009 6:40pm
PC:
"Substantial" is Krugman's word, not mine. I'm sure there's some overlap, but calling it "substantial" is purely speculative on Krugman's part.

The article is behind a registration wall and I'm lazy, so sorry for missing that. It's an interesting question and we have the technology! If I get a chance I'll see if I can pull up some numbers. I've been meaning to look at the overlap of birthers and PUMAs anyway.
8.7.2009 6:45pm
gerbilsbite:
A. Zarkov:

Duke is worse than Ayers--the election's over, you can stop the fire-breathing hyperbole anytime. Ayers is probably better compared to would-be assassin G. Gordon Liddy, if you want to draw a bad equivalency with anyone.

But to answer your question, if Duke had written a book about and worked tirelessly on education reform (the reason he'd been invited initially), and had agreed to take any and all questions from the audience regardless of relevance to the subject at hand (as Ayers did), then yes, I'd escort him. I'd probably punch him once or twice for good measure, but I'd escort him to an academic setting to face criticism in the open light (as Ayers did).
8.7.2009 6:51pm
Brian K (mail):
Is it possible that there is a difference protesting a proposed domestic policy and protesting -- and possibly undermining, depending on what is said -- a war effort abroad which the majority of the country through its elected representatives has chosen to pursue?

so it's not okay for people to undermine causes you agree with but it is not okay for people to undermine causes you don't agree with? last i checked democrats were elected in a landslide on a platform of health care reform, why are you undermining it?

so, in other words, your defense against my claim that republicans are being unprincipled, is to admit they are being unprincipled but that it's okay.
8.7.2009 6:55pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
PC:

"The article is behind a registration wall and I'm lazy, so sorry for missing that."

I quoted Krugman with that word here.

BTW often a google link will take you directly to the article without the need to register.
8.7.2009 6:57pm
Brian K (mail):
whoops...it should read:

so it's not okay for people to undermine causes you agree with but it is [] okay for people to undermine causes you don't agree with?
8.7.2009 6:58pm
Priority:
Of course they're supposed to intimidate members of Congress


Raleigh NC, WTVD, ”North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller has received a death threat over the health care plan”, Aug 6, 2009:
Officials said a phone call came into the Democrat's Washington, DC office earlier this week.


The caller said, “it could cost him his life.”
8.7.2009 7:01pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
gerbilsbite:

Duke is worse than Ayers.

How is that? I don't know that much about Duke, and it's probably a bad example, but as far as I know he never tried to kill anyone. Do I have to quote from Prairie Fire? Do I have to quote from the FBI agent who infiltrated the Weather Underground? Do I have to quote from Fugitive Days.

So anyway, we know your standards. Write a book. Answer questions. That seems to rehabilitate anything.

As for calling Ayers an education reformer, I'll quote Sol Stern,

"Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer."

I'm sorry to be so confrontational, but I think Ayers, and Duke and many other should be ignored-- banished form public discourse.
8.7.2009 7:08pm
ShelbyC:

The caller said, "it could cost him his life."


If they screw up healthcare it could cost everyone their lives. How's that a threat?
8.7.2009 7:13pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
What ShelbyC a 8.7.2009 7:13pm said.
8.7.2009 7:14pm
Steve C. (mail):
Frankly, I'm a bit surprised by all this. I thought the tea party thing would fade away, but it seems to have the kind of legs that prop 13 had in the seventies. Add in health care, where pubic opinion is decidedly leaning to "change" but not so much change that it represents a threat to the 250 million people who have insurance or Medicare and you have a potentially explosive mix.

I submit that we will know how authentic the dissatisfaction is come next November. The Democrats and their minions could be right about these protests being manufactured. Or maybe their wrong, but their "go to move" is to decry the protesters as being "inauthentic".

If you are a Democratic Congressman, which course do you choose? Abandon Pelosi and risk her wrath? Abandon your voters and risk being un-elected?
8.7.2009 7:15pm
Alisa (www):

congressmen shouted down, congressmen hanged in effigy, congressmen surrounded and followed by taunting crowds.


Damn, I wish I was in the US right now - I seem to be missing all the fun!
8.7.2009 7:19pm
gerbilsbite:
A. Zarkov: Again, the election's over. Find another boogeyman.

And try reading some J.S. Mill one of these days--not just for course credit. It'll do you some good.
8.7.2009 7:22pm
Steve:
Given that the Belgian model for universal coverage (which has been extensively studied during the Clinton years as a possible model for a US system) was brought there by the Nazis, I think the label of it being a Nazi system is quite appropriate.

Well, you're welcome to go with that argument if you think it helps politically.

I enjoy the suggestion that highlighting the "relatively small number of swastikas" in a crowd of right-wing protestors is a tactic trademarked by Alinsky. When Karl Rove and the rest of the Republicans threw a screaming fit about one anonymous entrant in a Moveon.org contest submitting a "Bush = Hitler" video, did they also prove themselves to be disciples of Alinsky?

I oppose the war in Iraq, but I don't go to those anti-war rallies because I don't want to give the impression I support the anti-Israel types who inevitably assume a high profile. My advice, for those who don't want their movement associated with swastikas, is not to hang around with the guys with the swastikas.
8.7.2009 7:27pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
If you are a Democratic Congressman, which course do you choose? Abandon Pelosi and risk her wrath? Abandon your voters and risk being un-elected?
This is the problem, and it is compounded by the fact that fairly conservative Democrats were recruited to run in districts that had tended to vote Republican. It worked, and they were elected. But then, they are expected to vote for stuff that the majority of their districts appear to dislike, and many dislike intensely.

That is why I contended in another thread that the reason for this push to get everything passed yesterday is that Pelosi, et al. know that this is their one chance at this, and are likely to lose those seats in the next election, esp. if all these new Representatives are being forced to vote for stuff that their constituents don't like.
8.7.2009 7:29pm
Len:
"Yeah, calling someone a teabagger doesn't carry an implied death penalty with it."

It does, however, establish that the speaker has serious psycho-sexual fixations that warrant serious psychiatric intervention.
8.7.2009 7:29pm
ShelbyC:

It does, however, establish that the speaker has serious psycho-sexual fixations that warrant serious psychiatric intervention.



All those town-halls, and all those teabaggers, and still no pics of a congresscritter with nuts on his face :-).
8.7.2009 7:33pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Frankly, I'm a bit surprised by all this. I thought the tea party thing would fade away, but it seems to have the kind of legs that prop 13 had in the seventies. Add in health care, where pubic opinion is decidedly leaning to "change" but not so much change that it represents a threat to the 250 million people who have insurance or Medicare and you have a potentially explosive mix.
And that is why, I think, that you are seeing so much ferment right now. It just isn't plausible that more people can be covered for less money without losing health care services. The more that the President tries to convince us that these bills can, the madder people seem to be getting.
I submit that we will know how authentic the dissatisfaction is come next November. The Democrats and their minions could be right about these protests being manufactured. Or maybe their wrong, but their "go to move" is to decry the protesters as being "inauthentic".
Agreed. The next election will really answer a lot of these questions. But in the meantime, polling can give us some ideas of where things are going (not that they can't reverse course).
8.7.2009 7:35pm
PC:
My advice, for those who don't want their movement associated with swastikas, is not to hang around with the guys with the swastikas.

I'm. So. Screwed. I knew I shouldn't have been an usher at my friends' Jain wedding. Maybe that's what the teabaggers are really saying? Obamacare will be a system that respects all life?
8.7.2009 7:35pm
PC:
It does, however, establish that the speaker has serious psycho-sexual fixations that warrant serious psychiatric intervention.

Or...lulz? I say potato, you say serious psychological fixations based on a few comments made on the internets. Serious business.
8.7.2009 7:38pm
Priority:
Miami Herald, “Health care debate degenerates into brawls, death threats” by David Goldstein, Aug 7, 2009:
On Friday, a Democratic lawmaker from Washington received a faxed death threat a day after he described angry town hall demonstrators as "a lynch mob." Rep. Brian Baird of Washington, who supports President Barack Obama's push to overhaul the health care system, said that he also received threatening phone calls.
8.7.2009 7:38pm
/:
A. Zarkov, you don't seem to understand that murdering people for the ideal of Communism isn't a bad thing, whereas instead of calling for people to stop murdering Jews might you might as well drop a bomb in a nursery: the effect is the same, namely oppression by way of speech. Instead of shouting "I disagree with you", you might as well defecate on a Congressperson's lifepartner and slit their throat. Relatedly, education reform to quickstop badthought must continue plusgood.
8.7.2009 7:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
gerbilsbite:

"Again, the election's over. Find another boogeyman."

Ayers didn't die with the election, he's still alive and making trouble. I don't see why one should have have a poor opinion of those who choose to associate with him.

"And try reading some J.S. Mill one of these days--not just for course credit. It'll do you some good.

This is your way of saying "I give up-- I really can't defend the indefensible."
8.7.2009 7:43pm
kiowa (mail):
Pelosi sure is brave when she is shooting her mouth off in congress but can't even attend a town hall meeting and listen to citizens on Obama healthcare horror reform. how does she even hold her head up what a chicken hearted person. What a short change America got with this bunch in Congress.
8.7.2009 7:49pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

I escorted Bill Ayers to a campus talk at Georgetown Law last year. We were kept in a locked room under armed guard before the talk, and immediately whisked to a waiting vehicle amidst a phalanx of armed guards afterwards.


So? He was a terrorist, a leader of a terrorist organization.

He is exactly as bad as David Duke. Because you guys are on the same side, he's ok?


Find another boogeyman.


You brought him up as some sort of martyr to free speech.
8.7.2009 7:54pm
geokstr (mail):

PC:
I don't know if there's a substantial overlap, but there is certainly overlap. I would guess that if a person is a birther, there is a high probability that person is a Tea Party member too. But that doesn't mean every Tea Party member is a birther. Same goes for truthers.

Are you actually trying to insinuate that the "truthers" are on the right???That's insane!!!Leftists will say just about anything, won't you?

Last I heard, 35% of Democrats believed that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance and another 26% weren't sure. That's 61% who at least entertained that whacko theory.
8.7.2009 7:56pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
How many members of Congress get death threats in a two year period?

I'd say about 435.

How many have been killed? Or even assaulted? In the whole 219+/- years that there has been a congress?

Death threats are about the least serious thing imaginable. People who kill just do it, they don't threaten.
8.7.2009 8:03pm
Brian Sc (mail):

Dr Weevil: I don't care who started it in Tampa or in St. Louis--it's a destructive pattern of confrontation that accomplishes nothing to further either side.


So what?

Congresspeople are intimidated. So what?

People shout and there is no "reasoned" debate. So what?

It appears that your essential complaint is with protest that works. If the protests were ineffectual and pathetic, you wouldn't oppose them. It's only because they're actually working that you oppose them.

This is fairly typical of the left. If right-wingers start a boycott and the boycott is effective, it's a "blacklist". If right-wingers hold a protest and the protest is effective, it's "intimidation". Apparently the only time you're allowed to undertake a political action according to these people is when you fail and are a pathetic joke.
8.7.2009 8:11pm
PC:
Are you actually trying to insinuate that the "truthers" are on the right???That's insane!!!Leftists will say just about anything, won't you?

Alex Jones.
8.7.2009 8:13pm
Alexia:
I love this story - thanks for posting it!
8.7.2009 8:13pm
Angus:
Frankly, it's an insult to the original in 1773 that the current "teabaggers" or "teapartiers" took the name. Unless they are willing to actually invade Congressional offices and destroy legislation, they need to stop using the name. The originals knew what they were doing was highly illegal and could land them in prison.

Teabaggers are instead childish, cowardly, ill-informed, rife with conspiracy nutcases, and, in short, deserve all of the mockery they get and more.

Imagine, MOCKERY in POLITICS. Unheard of in history!
8.7.2009 8:13pm
geokstr (mail):
The tea parties are populated by what Nixon called the "Silent Majority" over 40 years ago, the average middle class working stiffs who actually are the backbone of this country. All this time, while the country was gradually being dragged to the left by the one-way rachet of collectivism, we've put up with it. We were like the proverbial frog in the pot of water as the heat was slowly being turned up.

Only now it's gone too far, too fast. This "crisis" was caused by the left, including Obama and his beloved ACORN, forcing lenders to abandon rational standards. This has hit the middle class the hardest, in their home values and 401Ks, and employment. And now Obama is trying to yank the country the rest of the way to the Collective using this crisis.

I don't think we're going to stand for it this time.
8.7.2009 8:14pm
Anon21:
The tea parties are populated by what Nixon called the "Silent Majority" over 40 years ago, the average middle class working stiffs who actually are the backbone of this country.

And who elected Barack Obama this past November, on a platform explicitly promising major healthcare reform.

Oh, wait, I'm sorry. By "average," you meant "white." Well, so long as you're talking about whites with no college in the general area of Appalachia, I suppose that's fine. Enjoy your shrinking slice of the demographic pie; we'll take electoral majorities, and healthcare reform, which is still going to pass.
8.7.2009 8:26pm
DonP (mail):
"Raleigh NC, WTVD, "North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller has received a death threat over the health care plan", Aug 6, 2009:
Officials said a phone call came into the Democrat's Washington, DC office earlier this week.

The caller said, "it could cost him his life."

We seem to get the alleged "death threat" popping up every now and then as a final way to demonize any opposition. As in "See what monsters my opponents are". The media usually runs with it with no substantiation, so it must be true if Keith Olberman says so.

How about claiming they threatened to kill a stray puppy instead, considering the esteem in which most congress people are held, that would seem to be a far more effective threat.

Usually this kind of claim is aimed at NRA members, bloodthirsty SoBs that we all are of course.

Just once I'd like to see a little real evidence of the alleged "threat", the message, letter, tweet or e-mail. Something other than the fevered imagination of the congress critters senior staff aide, to prove it actually happened. Not that I think a congress person would lie outright to make themselves look better and more sympathetic, but it has been known to happen ... once or twice.

It seems to be the last refuge of those that have no place else to turn in an argument to make them an object of both sympathy and pseudo heroism.

I'd also like to be sure it was an opposition protestor and not the justifiably angry father of one of his interns.
8.7.2009 8:26pm
/:
The president encouraged callers to DoS a radio show and encourages neighbors to report on subversive activities. There's no way these people would send death threats to implicate their enemies.
8.7.2009 8:31pm
Brian Sc (mail):
Don't talk to me about Obama's "platform".

I attempted to find a silver lining in Obama's election, and I thought I had found it in his various claims to stand for transparency, civil liberties, and accountability. Since he decided to piss all over those promises, I guess lots of people who thought they knew what an Obama administration would mean are just going to have to be disappointed. Since all his civil liberties and transparencies promises were lies, I see no reason for us to regard the health care portion of his platform as some kind of sacred bargain with the voters.
8.7.2009 8:32pm
Brian Sc (mail):
Hey guys, someone just called me and said that if health care doesn't pass, they're going to kill me.

I demand that health care reform advocates cease all of their activities, or they will be shown to be operating in sympathy with people who make death threats.
8.7.2009 8:34pm
Brian Sc (mail):
Sorry, that should have read "tranparency promises".

I did not mean to imply that Obama had made any promises concerning items to be shown on overhead projectors.
8.7.2009 8:36pm
Teabaggin Obama:
If those who oppose health care "reform" are teabaggers, we need a name for those who support it. I suggest we call supporters "Sacklickers" based on the fact that most of them are licking thier chops trying to get Obama's sack full of goodies passed before anyone realizes how awful some of this legislation is.

Sure it's pathetic and sad to use that kind of language in a political discussion, but what the hay- one juvenile embarrassing announcement of intellectual bankruptcy deserves another. So come on all you Sacklickers- stand tall, be counted, and get your lick on.
8.7.2009 8:38pm
/:
So come on all you Sacklickers- stand tall, be counted, and get your lick on.

Sir, your suggestion is unhygenic and a threat to public health. If you fail to cease promotion of such harmful activities as defined by MedGov, your insurance policy will be voided and *checks chart* your fillings and pacemaker will be reposessed.
8.7.2009 8:43pm
Angus:
The Palin has spoken, and contributed to the reasoned debate begun by the "teapartiers":


"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil,"

Oh, please, please let her run in 2012 with idiocy like that behind her.
8.7.2009 8:47pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
All these new left retreads talking about Bill Ayers and the Weathermen and how great they were, are missing the real fun. How about your stands on the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss?
8.7.2009 8:55pm
Teabaggin a crat:
Great point Angus. If she was really smart she would have said that in Austrian. What a dummy.
8.7.2009 8:56pm
gerbilsbite:
A. Zarkov:

Unless you have a pathological fixation with him, I bet you don't have any clue whether or not Ayers is "making trouble."

And the J.S. Mill reference is because you seem perfectly willing to overlook the value of yanking the fringe into the light so as to expose their ideas to ridicule and scorn if necessary (or critical analysis when warranted), instead supporting the idea that simply excluding people from the discussion entirely is a better way of preventing them from getting their way. Notice how I'm not trying to keep the crazy birthers from spouting their insanity: I want them to get called out for it, and my beef is with Republicans in Congress and in the media who give them cover and encouragement.

But if it makes you feel better to believe that you hold the key to moral and intellectual justice, and that no viewpoint espoused by any person you don't personally approve of can possibly be valid on any subject, you go right ahead.
8.7.2009 8:57pm
/:
Angus, that's dangerous to say, even if sarcasm. Don't court defectives or their families to positions of power; that makes eugenics so much harder to direct. On the other hand, we wouldn't know how defective their genes if they had done the smart thing in the first place, so we have that going for us.
8.7.2009 9:08pm
Spanky von Spankowitz:
and that no viewpoint espoused by any person you don't personally approve of can possibly be valid on any subject, you go right ahead.

That isn't the issue. The point is that some people engage in conduct so completely unacceptable that they have no place in civilized society. In a decent world, these people are outcasts. In our current world, they live on as the Senior Senator from Massachusetts. In Ayers case, they have their papa's money buy them "legitimacy" from people who wouldn't give them the time of day if they used the word "fag" but are cool with it if they actively try to kill innocent people. As long as they tried to kill the right people of course.

This is disappointing, and frankly, a little embarrassing to our society as a whole.

It would be one thing if either person I just referenced demonstrated an ounce of remorse for their savagery and/or attempted to "atone" for it- in Ayers case, he has done just the opposite.
8.7.2009 9:14pm
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
This is not complicated.

Use of swastikas - NOT LEGITIMATE

Shouting down of authorized speakers - NOT LEGITIMATE

Use of unsubstantiated platitudes - NOT LEGITIMATE

And trying to lob claims of "hypocrisy" at members of this administration who don't want to put up with this is NOT LEGITIMATE either. You can bandy about that the swastika carriers and shouters are only a few of the protestors and that the administration should just shut up and "let the public be heard", but that's simply not true. These are tactics that are being employed at-large.

These tactics were BS when the far-left used them against Bush, and they are BS when the far-right is using them against Obama, Pelosi, etc.
8.7.2009 9:17pm
Houston Lawyer:
Use of unsubstantiated platitudes - NOT LEGITIMATE

That would be Obama you're referring to.

Anyone who believes that the people showing up at these meetings are anything like organized belongs to the Lyndon LaRouche end of conspiracy theorists. When you threaten to change things that people like and depend on, you will get a reaction. Fighting back against these people only convinces them and many others that they are right.
8.7.2009 9:28pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
You forgot something, mbilinsky:

Thugs in union jackets beating the crap out of a guy who is not carrying a swastika and not shouting down a speaker, but only trying to hand out 'Don't-Tread-On-Me' flags - NOT LEGITIMATE and DOWNRIGHT CRIMINAL.

Why do you omit the far worse that your side is doing?

Lobbing charges of hypocrisy at members of this administration who don't want to put up with these perfectly legal actions, and demonstrate their unwillingness to put up with them by sending union thugs to beat up the people doing them, is perfectly fair. They are hypocrites.

All the things you list, though deplorable, have been done quite frequently by Democrats for years. I don't recall any of the hundreds of BushHitler banner-wavers, or any of the people who routinely shout down conservative speakers on college campuses or throw pies at them, ever getting beaten up by organized thugs urged on by President Bush. Do you?

One more thing. If your opponents accuse you of acting like Nazis, the worst possible thing you can do is send thugs to beat them up for saying it, since that makes you look like (duh!) Nazis, thus making them look prescient rather than stupid.

Which reminds me: I once had a (university) student who told a classmate he thought she would make an excellent dominatrix. She was naturally outraged and slapped him, and he said "See what I mean!". That was of course the worst thing she could do.

It's the same here. It's the same here: if you don't want to be compared to Nazis, don't act like them, and don't defend those who act like them.
8.7.2009 9:33pm
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
There's a difference between unsubstantiated platitudes and generalizations.

I'm looking for more detail from the President on the health bill as well and his failure to give it is troubling. But if you're trying to equate him referring to "run-away costs" or "those who got us into this in the first place" with protestors shouting down speakers with claims about health care "coming out of my paycheck" when their health care is already coming out of their paycheck via their employer plan, then you are grasping for straws.

Reactionary responses are inevitable, but a whole helluva lot of this stinks of partisan smear tactics, not genuine discourse.
8.7.2009 9:43pm
/:
I don't recall any of the hundreds of BushHitler banner-wavers, or any of the people who routinely shout down conservative speakers on college campuses or throw pies at them, ever getting beaten up by organized thugs urged on by President Bush. Do you?

That's because it was safe to do so.

Now we just have to make it not safe to do the same.
8.7.2009 9:48pm
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
Dr. Weevil, don't you realize this isn't about "my side"?

And moreover, HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU EQUATE MY COMMENTS WITH ME CONDONING PEOPLE BEING BEAT UP?

I addressed the topic of this post, which was the conservative protestors to the health care program.

I EVEN STATED IN MY COMMENT THAT I DON'T CONDONE THOSE WHO CLAIMED BUSH IS A NAZI.

Your distortion of what I said is absolutely ridiculous.
8.7.2009 9:49pm
PC:
Anyone who believes that the people showing up at these meetings are anything like organized belongs to the Lyndon LaRouche end of conspiracy theorists.

Speaking of which, you might want to see who is organizing your local Tea Party. If the name LarouchePAC comes up, things may not be what they seem.
8.7.2009 9:53pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
mbilinsky:
How could I think you condoned people being beat up? The fact that you strongly criticized what some (very few) Tea Partiers are doing, which is legal, if tasteless, and had not one word to say about the (over)reaction on the part of the SEIU members, who committed assault and battery. Have you not heard what happened in St. Louis yesterday? Much of it was caught on film. See GatewayPundit for several posts.
8.7.2009 10:08pm
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
Weevil, you out-right said that I was defending those who act like Nazis. Where did I do that? Where? Point it out. Please I'm dying for you to.
8.7.2009 10:15pm
PC:
Please I'm dying for you to.

If Obama's "death panel" has anything to say about it you will be.
8.7.2009 10:17pm
/:
mbilinsky: Your ambiguous use of "not legitimate" makes you seem willing to encourage reprisal of such speech you don't consider could legitimately be spoken, which I can only take as "not covered by protection from prosecution by free-speech laws." If you meant that the logic is bad, you could've said so more easily without actively inviting the understanding that the opposite of the government "shutting up" is having as a policy political snitching and Executive-organized counter-protesting.
8.7.2009 10:24pm
name:
Wait. Ted Kennedy has "no place in civilized society"? I must have missed something.
8.7.2009 10:29pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
mbilinsky:
I didn't say you defended those who beat up a Tea Partier yesterday, but it sure looks like you condone them. I haven't read one word of criticism from you, even when I reminded you of them. If you haven't heard about what happened in St. Louis yesterday, you need to find out what's actually going on before you write another word. If you know what's going on, how can you criticize the legal things the Tea Partiers have done without so much as mentioning the violent reaction on the part of the Democratic party's union allies?
8.7.2009 10:31pm
PC:
Seriously, could someone define "loud and tumultuous" for me? I feel like we were having a discussion about that phrase a week or two ago. Is a group of people yelling and screaming while holding up signs of swastikas "loud and tumultuous?"
8.7.2009 10:38pm
PlugInMonster:
Sarah Palin is a genius and I will vote for her early and OFTEN.
8.7.2009 10:43pm
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
Weevil, the post I was writing a comment in reference to was about the conservative protestors.

I hereby condemn what happened in St. Louis. There was quite a bit in my original post that implied as much.

Your claim that it appears that I support them is completely disingenuous and baseless so I'd kindly request that you don't distort my views on legitimate forms of protest as support for violence.
8.7.2009 10:47pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
I'm looking for more detail from the President on the health bill as well and his failure to give it is troubling. But if you're trying to equate him referring to "run-away costs" or "those who got us into this in the first place" with protestors shouting down speakers with claims about health care "coming out of my paycheck" when their health care is already coming out of their paycheck via their employer plan, then you are grasping for straws.
Here is an article asking: Will health care reform cause lower wages? And suggesting that it will.
8.7.2009 10:48pm
Kirk:
gerbilsbite,

You have sympathy for Mr. Ayers, who never received any real justice for the crimes he committed because of a corrupt local political establishment? Count me out, I certainly won't join you in that sympathy. Ayers having to be a bit nervous now and then is a pathetic, minuscule fragment of what he deserves.
8.7.2009 10:55pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
I'm glad you disapprove of union violence against even unruly protestors, mbilinsky, but your original post implied nothing of the kind. All you wrote about "members of this administration who don't want to put up with this" is that we shouldn't call them hypocrites, with no suggestion that they have any duty to confine their 'not putting up with' to legal methods.

Try not to pretend that the violence in St. Louis is somehow irrelevant to the topic of this post. The second paragraph of the post includes this: "The White House Deputy Chief of Staff has advised legislators if 'If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.'" The man in St. Louis didn't hit a legislator, or anyone else, but still got punched hard. Is that really irrelevant?
8.7.2009 10:56pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Obama's SEIU union thugs beat up Kenneth Gladney at a Russ Carnahan (D) event in St. Louis. See here
8.7.2009 11:16pm
Off Kilter (mail):
I condone the initiation of violence, independent of who initiates it. There. That's out of the way...

Dr. Weevil, while I'm generally one of those who also supports the political position you seem to be taking, I'm at a loss to understand how not mentioning the impropriety of an action can be automatically equated with condoning the action. That's not likely a principle you'd want applied to you, as I imagine every day there are quite a few acts of violence you don't explicitly denounce, and suspect that would be true even if restricted to ones you'd heard about. If I were mbilinsky, I'm be frustrated by the illogic of your position.
8.7.2009 11:22pm
gerbilsbite:
Off Kilter: I think you may have the wrong word there. I hope so, at least. :)

Kirk: I really don't think you, or any of us, actually understands what it's like to be the most virulently and actively hated person in America. I think you may want to spend some time thinking about that before condemning anyone to suffer it.
8.7.2009 11:36pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Off Kilter:
My problem is that mbilinsky seemed to implicitly condone the violence in his first post by calling the Tea Partiers' various actions "NOT LEGITIMATE", which seems awfully strong for things that aren't illegal, and insisting that no one should call those "who don't want to put up with this" hypocrites, without any reference to their legal duty to 'put up with this', or at least to refrain from committing crimes of violence in trying not to put up with it.

I was willing to assume that that was just poor choice of words, and would have gladly accepted a restatement of his point if he had come out and said that he didn't mean to imply that violence was a "LEGITIMATE" reaction to his list of "NOT LEGITIMATE" actions. But he was oddly reluctant to give such a statement, which looks an awful lot like condoning to me. Even his "I hereby condemn" looks forced, as if he really hates to condemn the SEIU. Perhaps he just responds poorly to snarky objections, or can't stand to admit he's even partly wrong.
8.7.2009 11:39pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
gerbilsbite:
Are you calling William Ayers "the most virulently and actively hated person in America"? He's not half as virulently and actively hated as Sarah Palin, for one. And of course Ayers -- like David Duke -- has done a good deal to earn the hatred directed at him.
8.7.2009 11:43pm
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
Weevil, thank you for explicitly admitting that you distorted my comments and made tenuous logical connections. And I only admit to being partially wrong when I actually AM partially wrong. Which is apparently more than you're capable of.

Adios. Don't distort my words again.
8.7.2009 11:51pm
PlugInMonster:
The way America is descending into Civil War 2.0, it won't be long until Volokh users will be openly advocating violence. That will be interesting to see.
8.7.2009 11:54pm
PlugInMonster:
Oh and you can thank Obama and his Alinskyite tactics for pushing American into a 2nd Civil War. Thanks Alinsky!
8.7.2009 11:55pm
PlugInMonster:

Adios. Don't distort my words again.


You don't deserve any courtesies the way you demonize anyone who is opposed to Obama.
8.7.2009 11:59pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Thank you, mbilinksy, for confirming that you are a horse's ass. I do not admit, explicitly or otherwise, that I have distorted your words. I have done my best to interpret their meaning, giving you several opportunities to convince me that my first impression was wrong. You have failed to do so, and your aspersions on my character are an obvious example of projection.
8.8.2009 12:03am
EH (mail):
Maybe the answer is to provide Free Speech Zones a few blocks away.
8.8.2009 12:07am
Paul Hirsch (mail):
Mr. Hyman: I am sure it was said in the 100-plus comments preceding this one, but thanks for reminding me of the Rostenkowski episode. I enjoyed it at the time but forgot.
8.8.2009 12:10am
mbilinsky (mail) (www):
Plug In Monster, go read my original post again.

I clearly did not "demonize anyone who is opposed to Obama". I demonized the form of protest. And moreover, I extended the demonization of that form of protest against our former president as well.
8.8.2009 12:23am
PlugInMonster:
Ah yes, "Free Speech Zones" defined by Obama and his goon squads.
8.8.2009 12:24am
Kirk:
gerbilsbite,

Sorry, even taking your hyperbole at face value, No. Since I think Ayers deserves, and should have gotten, the death penalty for his terrorist activities, the fact that he seems to be living out a fairly full allotment of life while working an interesting job in academia (instead of breaking rocks in the hot sun, in case what he really deserved was only life in prison) means, again, that he's getting off much easier than he deserved.

And does he appreciate the generosity of the country he tried to destroy? Based on his interview that ran on 9/11, wherein he said he wished they'd tried harder and done more, I'd say no he does not.
8.8.2009 12:27am
freshlegacy (mail):
Let's see. Nixon promised to "bring us together." Clinton wanted us to "stop shouting at each other and start listening to each other." Bush wanted to be "a uniter, not a divider." Obama wants to "go beyond petty politics."

Toss a controversial issue out there, and it doesn't work so well, does it?
8.8.2009 1:03am
Ken Arromdee:
Use of swastikas - NOT LEGITIMATE

Claims of use of swastikas, when they were swastikas with lines drawn through them - VERY MISLEADING.
8.8.2009 1:51am
PlugInMonster:
Claims of thuggery, when in fact initiated by Obama union thugs - NOT LEGITIMATE
8.8.2009 2:33am
PlugInMonster:
Oh btw, now that Democrat Congresspeople have openly said I'm not an American and a political terrorist to boot - I feel no obligation any longer to show loyalty to this government. Interpret that however you like.
8.8.2009 2:37am
Jimo (mail):
When will police bring out their tazers and bring order by arresting these people for disturbing the peace? One's right of speech ends when it interferes with my (and everyone else's) right of speech.
8.8.2009 4:17am
/:
One's right of speech ends when it interferes with my (and everyone else's) right of speech.

No, it ends beyond property that belongs to you or the government (or beyond "public spaces", arguably commercial land without an expectation of privacy). Your definition allows for the absurd result that one person blocking a poster at ten paces is violating the freedom of speech of the poster's publisher, when in reality even the perverted doctrine of incorporation of the rights doesn't go that far.
8.8.2009 5:47am
MnZ (mail):
Shorter version: Democrat politicians were apparently those kids in school who loved to dish it out, but couldn't take it themselves.
8.8.2009 7:48am
pot meet kettle (mail):

nd all of a sudden we have brown shirts in the streets


Awrighty, zarkov. You lost all credibility when you played Godwin.
8.8.2009 8:27am
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Wow. All the "swastika" talk and suddenly "brown shirts" is Godwin?
8.8.2009 10:01am
Miami model:
Herd 'em all into a free-speech protest-pen.

Let the cops hit 'em with flash-bangs, pepper spray, and OC.

You people know about the Miami model? It's been around awhile—got refined in places like NYC and Twin Cities.
8.8.2009 10:11am
Burn the Witch (mail):
I'd say the credibility of anyone supporting and sympathizing with William Ayers is pretty much shot.
8.8.2009 10:44am
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
The Left throws bricks in universities to protect free speech. Its members take over their cafeterias, proceed to swing at police officers when confronted, all the while crying out over civil rights. There's an astonishing record of faked hate crimes, usually perpetrated by the hands of the complainants, at these same venues. Incidents like the "Jena Six" case and the "Group of 88" Duke Lacrosse travesty have become established examples of liberals crying foul when they in fact perpetrated the injustice. And you expect us to believe that you're all of a sudden scared of the tea partiers, given your abysmal history of "discourse"?
8.8.2009 10:50am
PC:
Loud? Tumultuous? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
8.8.2009 12:49pm
Raoul (mail):
THE TRUTH: Tea baggers look like idiots and there is a probably a high correlation between them and birthers. What they are protesting is sketchy, as there no bill yet. Reform is coming, if they want to be part of the process, less yelling would help (it will not happen);as it is they are simply marginalizing themselves.
8.8.2009 1:30pm
Len:
Raoul:

The truth is that people like you, who make a public display of their obsessive-compulsive fixation on putting their scrotum in other people's mouths (or having them placed in your mouth) need to air that stuff in a psychiatrist's office, not here.
8.8.2009 6:26pm
GaryC (mail):
gerbilsbite:

Kirk: I really don't think you, or any of us, actually understands what it's like to be the most virulently and actively hated person in America. I think you may want to spend some time thinking about that before condemning anyone to suffer it.

I'm trying very hard to think of somebody who deserves more to the the "most virulently and actively hated person in America." Advocating the execution of 25 million fellow citizens is going to be hard to beat, so Ayers (and his helpmate Bernardine Dohrn) may win by acclamation. Still, I need to check out Dr. Ezekiel Ehmanuel and John Holdren more fully to decide whether there are possible competitors. Peter Singer is clearly not in the same class.
8.8.2009 7:08pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Bob from Ohio (mail):
How many members of Congress ... have been killed? Or even assaulted? In the whole 219+/- years that there has been a congress?

More than zero. Senator David Broderick (D-CA) was killed in a duel (in 1859). So were Senator Armistead Mason (D-VA; 1819) and Representative Jonathan Cilley (D-ME; 1838). Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY) was assassinated (in 1968); so were Senator Huey Long (D-LA; 1935), Representative James M. Hinds (R-AR; 1868), and Representative Leo Ryan (D-CA; 1978).

As for assaults: in 1856, Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA) was beaten senseless in the Senate chamber by Representative Preston Brooks (D-SC).

Death threats are about the least serious thing imaginable. People who kill just do it, they don't threaten.

A while back a Holocaust survivor in Israel was asked what he had learned from it. He said "When someone says he will kill you, believe him."

There have been many women whose ex-spouses or ex-boyfriends threatened to kill them - and did.
8.8.2009 9:12pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
How many of those were killed by disgruntled constituents? I'm too lazy to put in the links, but a few minutes with Wikipedia and Google tells me that Sen. Broderick was killed by the Chief Justice of his state, Sen. Mason by his brother-in-law, and Rep. Cilley by a fellow Congressman, while Sen. Sumner was (as mentioned above) brutally caned by a Congressman. No sign of danger from constituents there.

James M. Hinds was killed by "a member of the Ku Klux Klan, namely George A. Clark, Secretary of the Democratic Committee of Monroe County, who was drunk at the time" (Wikipedia), so that's one.

Sirhan Sirhan probably counts, though he was not technically a constituent of RFK. I'm not even sure he was a citizen -- he'd only been in the U.S. for 12 years.

Leo Ryan was killed by a former constituent, Jim Jones, but had to fly to Guyana to make that possible.

I was surprised to see from Wikipedia that there's some doubt as to whether Huey Long was assassinated at all, rather than punched in the mouth by a politician he'd (supposedly) wronged and then hit by one or two stray bullets as his bodyguards were busy putting 61 bullets in his assailant.

All in all, a given congressman's chances of being murdered by a constituent who disagrees with his views seem fairly slim. Politics is probably safer than military, police, or fire work, and possibly safer than driving a cab or working the night shift at the 7-11.

Does that sound insensitive? I've found from personal experience that two good ways to get death threats are (a) blogging on politics and (b) teaching high school. I've gotten at least one threat that was explicit and detailed but gave no hint as to whether it was my blog or my teaching or something else that inspired the hate. Disquieting, but not enough to make me buy a gun, much less quit blogging or teaching.

One of my students did have a chat with the police once, but he brazenly lied his way out of any legal repercussions for his sick fantasies and my then principal couldn't be bothered to provide the evidence to refute him. (The threat came from an on-campus computer, so it would have been possible to search the voluminous log files and see who was logged on to that particular terminal at that particular time, but it would have taken a few hours.)
8.9.2009 12:00am
yankev (mail):

Yes, you have a right to bring a swastika to a meeting about health care. Pointing out that the other side is bringing swastikas is also a part of the political process.



And so is pointing out that the other side, in order to distract attention from legitimate concerns of the protestors, is making false accusations about bringing swastikas, funding of prostestors and the character of opposition to the health insurance bill.


If ACORN/SEIU attends these meetings for disruptive purposes, and you have a license to carry….carry


What good does carrying do? You are not allowed to use or brandish unless you are in reasonable fear of death or grievous bodily harm, and have retreated to the maximum extent possible. Absent a reasonable fear that the SEIU thugs will kill you or inflict serious harm, deadly force is not warranted.


The problem is that the current efforts are not peaceable, and they are not simply efforts to petition for redress. Instead, the goal is to prevent supporters of health care reform from exercising their right to speak, to prevent reasoned debate.


If speakers are being shouted down or silenced, debate is being stifled. If people are asking questions that the speakers and supporters find inconvenient, pssing out Gadsen flags, or laughing and hooting in response to false or misleading statements by the speaker, that IS debate. The problem is not that debate is being prevented, the problem is that supporters of the bill want to prevent debate and to substitute cheerleading instead, no matter how dishonest or misinformed the cheerleading is.


Ayers is probably better compared to would-be assassin G. Gordon Liddy, if you want to draw a bad equivalency with anyone.


I don't have much use for either of them, but how many bombs did Liddy set? How many people did Liddy kill compared to how many Ayers killed?


I don't know that much about Duke, and it's probably a bad example, but as far as I know he never tried to kill anyone.

Come on, Zarkov, Duke is a klansman. Can we agree that Klan leaders are examples of peaceable dissent? I find the Weathermen disgusting, but compared to the Klan the Weather Underground is an amateur.
8.10.2009 12:21pm
yankev (mail):
Sorry, that should have readd

Can we agree that Klan leaders are hardly examples of peaceable dissent?
8.10.2009 12:22pm
Joe The Plumber (mail):
Yes, you have a right to bring a swastika to a meeting about health care.

Too bad nobody is bringing swastika's though, huh?
8.11.2009 9:55am
Joe The Plumber (mail):
You totally failed to rebut Krugman. He was talking about 2005, during the George W. Bush administration

Laugh out loud funny.

Some 2005 now constitutes the entire Bush Presidency?

Huh?

You and Krugman of course have no point.
8.11.2009 9:57am
Joe The Plumber (mail):
What they are protesting is sketchy, as there no bill yet.

Really?

Um, could you then explain this?

THE TRUTH: Tea baggers look like idiots

I think you should engage in more projection.
8.11.2009 10:00am
Joe The Plumber (mail):
Teabaggers are instead childish, cowardly, ill-informed, rife with conspiracy nutcases, and, in short, deserve all of the mockery they get and more.


Ignorant liberals like you are childish, political cowards, laughably stupid, and believe Bush actually blew up the WTC.

In sum, you and your silly ilk deserve to be ridiculed and mocked endlessly.

Isn't this fun?
8.11.2009 10:06am

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