Apparently the conservative rabble rousers attending Rep. Jim Moran’s town hall meeting the other day upset the delicate sensibilities of an American Spectator columnist Quin Hillyer.
Even in a reliably liberal district, though, it was a poor reflection on conservative organizations, especially so close to D.C. where cable networks were sure to cover the event, that conservatives were so badly outnumbered and out-organized. Where were all the D.C.-headquartered national “grassroots” groups? What was the Republican Party of Virginia doing? Where were the area College Republicans? Conservatives need not be regimented into blue-shirt cadres for there to be some sort of phone-banking or e-mail efforts to get them out to such an important event.
On the other hand, what the conservatives lacked in numbers, many of them made up in sheer rudeness. I even heard one very thoughtful-sounding caller to Rush Limbaugh the next day boasting about how at one point they had effectively shouted down Howard Dean so he couldn’t speak — and she clearly was proud of herself. What she doesn’t realize is that she wasn’t merely infringing on speech rights of a wild-eyed former political candidate; she was infringing on the rights of everybody else who actually was at the event to listen and try to learn. And there were indeed a number of such people. They were turned off by the rudeness. The rudeness hurt, not helped, the conservatives’ cause. I was there; I saw it; I saw the looks on the faces of people who clearly were not partisans or ideologues.
There is a time and place for venting. A town hall meeting is definitely one of those times. Nothing is wrong with loudly expressing displeasure. Nothing is wrong with giving a little hell to mendacious politicians. But a little hell can go a long way in rattling the pols enough that they make fools of themselves. Too much hell, on the other hand, makes the hellions look bad.
Hillyer notes earlier in the piece that Obamacare opponents were outnumbered about 70 to 30 by astroturf supporters.
There is something obnoxious and robotic about the way they operate. They all clearly have marching orders. They get their pre-made signs from young women in absurdly tight-fitting tops, and most of them are in their pre-fab pro-Obamacare shirts, and they chant and applaud on cue. The one thing they don’t do, at least not inside the hall, is try to drown out the speaker — but then again, Messrs. Moran and Dean are their speakers. Their nationalizing, legislation-distorting, liberty-destroying speakers.
They gladly shout down and disrupt those with whom they disagree. We’ve seen this countless times, especially during the Bush Derangement Syndrome pandemic. Now that the left has power of course they act civil.
But is it really civil for paid, union and other political operatives to show up at a local town hall to support a national issue? Is it really civil for Moran and the organizers of the event to allow their supporters to enter the auditorium ahead of the rest of the crowd and pack the room?
Don’t know if that’s what happened, but come on – 70 to 30 in favor of Obamacare? Matching t-shirts? Pre-printed signs? Organized chanting and clapping? Sounds like the same tactics used at other town halls where “community organizers” are allowed in to stack the deck in favor of the debate.
The appalling thing about Moran’s asking to see the I.D. of a man asking a question is that probably few, if any, of the supporters of Obamacare were from Moran’s district.
But they were polite, by God.
Sorry. No polite discussions for me. No calm deliberation and debate. We’ve let the left define the terms of debate in this country for too long. When conservatives speak in public they get shouted down and attacked. But when libs speak, we conservatives are supposed to be polite and respectful.