RIGHT-WING MOBS FORCE PHYSICAL CONFRONTATIONS…. It’s getting worse. Conservative activists, angry and confused, have made the transition from disrupting meetings to threatening lawmakers to physical confrontations.
Bitter divisions over reforming America’s health care system exploded Thursday night in Tampa amid cat calls, jeering and shoving at a town hall meeting.
“Tyranny! Tyranny! Tyranny!” dozens of people shouted as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, struggled to talk about health insurance reforms under consideration in Washington, D.C.
“There is more consensus than there is disagreement when you get right down to it,” Castor offered, immediately drowned out by groans and boos.
She pressed on, mostly unheard among screams from the audience estimated by Tampa police to be about 1,500.
“Tell the truth! Tell the truth!” “Read the bill!” “Forty-million illegals! Forty million illegals!”
The spectacle at the Children’s Board in Ybor City sounded more like a wrestling cage match than a panel discussion on national policy, and it was just the latest example of a health care meeting disrupted by livid protesters.
Right-wing activists said they’d been organized through Glenn Beck’s “9/12” operation and the local Republican Party. There are no reports of major injuries, but there were apparently some fist fights, along with shoving, screaming, and pounding on windows in a near-riot atmosphere.
A similar meeting in St. Louis was arguably even more raucous, and six people were arrested, while some sustained injuries that sent them to the hospital. Conservatives, in this case, were apparently organized through the local “Tea Party Coalition.”
Watching some of the video clips from local affiliates, the rage in both incidents grew when the room filled to capacity. As Josh Marshall noted the pattern: “Relatively small venues (200 to 300 size spaces) get quickly filled to capacity. The doors get closed because of fire codes. And then locked out teabag activists start banging on doors and windows demanding to be let in and yelling about various forms of political oppression. From what I can tell, the shoving and whatever fisticuffs took place grew from that. In post-event retellings on the right fire code enforcement became a form of political repression of teabaggers.”
It’s not quite democracy in action, but rather, organized madness on a national scale.