Taking on the mob

TAKING ON THE MOB…. Pondering the “unfolding drama of the health care townhall teabaggery,” Josh Marshall last night considered his favorite example of right-wing madness thus far.

“High on the list has to be the group of Tea Baggers who hanged an effigy of Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) from a noose in front of his district office a few weeks ago,” Josh noted. “Then there was the case yesterday where a few folks at a tea bag protest outside a townhall meeting in Hartford called on Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) to commit suicide as a way to cure his recently diagnosed prostate cancer. And even though it lacked any clear appeal to the murder of public officials or even a good suicide joke, I’m still pretty fond of this case on Tuesday where the head of the local Tea Party group up in Rome, New York just started yelling ‘liar’ over and over at a clearly befuddled and caught off guard Steny Hoyer.”

Let’s not forget the protestor carrying a tombstone with Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s (D-Texas) name on it — at the same event with an activist carrying a sign with Nazi “SS” lettering.

The point, of course, is that the House has been in recess for a few days, and already examples like these keep piling up. With this in mind, the Democratic National Committee is seizing the opportunity the right-wing activists are providing. The party unveiled a new video this morning with footage of enraged conservative activists, and holding Republicans responsible for “inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists … to disrupt” town hall meetings.

“They lost the election,” the narrator says. “They lost on the recovery act, the budget and children’s health care. They’ve lost the confidence of the American people after eight years of failed policies that ruined our economy and cost millions of jobs. Now, desperate Republicans and their well funded allies are organizing angry mobs — just like they did during the election.”

Soon after, Jen O’Malley Dillon, the DNC’s executive director, sent a lengthy email to the entire party’s list with the “five facts about the anti-reform mobs.” It argues that far-right thugs who are trying to stifle public discussions are “funded and organized by out-of-district special-interest groups and insurance companies,” have been “fed frightening lies,” are “getting more extreme,” intend to “shut down legitimate conversation,” are being “irresponsibly cheered on” by the Republican leadership.

As I said yesterday, if and when the anti-reform campaign becomes synonymous with right-wing lunatics, organized by insurance companies, it becomes far easier for the political mainstream to dismiss their legitimacy, while regular Americans think, “Well, I don’t want to be on their side.” It’s a point that Democrats are apparently prepared to emphasize heavily in the short-term.