GAME ON?…. There are a lot of things missing from the right-wing mob protests against health care reform — honesty, civility, class, intellectual seriousness — but one of the key unseen elements is a counterweight. We’re hearing quite a bit from a mobilized, confused, and enraged minority, but the majority isn’t stepping up.
Jonathan Cohn had a good item on this the other day: “Don’t Whine. Organize.”
…[P]rogressives need to get their act together — to start creating a push for reform that can meet, and overwhelm, the push against. The proliferation of these right-wing demonstrations only makes this more urgent, as others (including Josh) have been arguing. Nobody is suggesting progressives should adopt the tactics of right-wingers and start shutting down discussions. But progressives need to show themselves in large numbers, to make their voices heard.
Progressives also have to start playing offense as well as defense.
I get the sense that idea is starting to catch on in larger numbers. Greg Sargent reports this afternoon, “For the first time, Obama’s formidable political operation, Organizing for America, is calling on supporters to go to town meetings and show support for Congressional Democrats, as a way of countering the Tea Party brigade’s efforts to lay siege to such gatherings.”
OFA is also reportedly organizing calls to lawmakers “to prove to members that there’s more support out there for health care reform than rowdy town hall attendees would like you to think.”
What’s more, the AFL-CIO is on the case: “The nation’s largest federation of labor organizations has promised to directly engage with boisterous conservative protesters at Democratic town halls during the August recess.” A memo sent out by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney explains that the town-hall meetings have become the “principal battleground” for reform, and cites the “hooligans” who disrupted the vote count in Florida as an example of what reform supporters are up against. Sweeney called for “major union participation” to go up against the right-wing activists.
Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is also distributing a new strategy document that “outlines the various ways reformers and activists can respond when town hall events with members of Congress are interrupted.”
The battle is (finally) joined?