SEIU FACES THREATS…. The raucous event in Tampa last night was hosted by two Democratic policymakers and the Service Employees International Union. The event in St. Louis, which led to six arrests, also had SEIU members in attendance to support reform.

Given the toxic environment, I suppose this was a predictable reaction from the far-right.

An official with SEIU, which has been sending members to town halls to counterbalance the Tea Party brigade, sends over this audio of a phone call the union received on its central voicemail system, threatening to teach union officials a thing or two about “the Second Amendment.”

The call seems to refer to reports today to scuffles in St. Louis between SEIU members and town hall rowdies.

“I suggest you tell your people to calm down, act like American citizens, and stop trying to repress people’s First Amendment rights,” the caller says. “That, or y’all are gonna come up against the Second Amendment.”

You stay classy, conservative activists.

In fact, SEIU seems to have quickly become the new focus of far-right activists. A reform opponent in New Mexico, for example, has been using Twitter to encourage conservatives to consider violence. In one message, he wrote, “If ACORN/SEIU attends these townhalls for disruption, stop being peaceful, and hurt them. Badly.” What’s more, there’s at least one right-wing protest scheduled for an SEIU headquarters — and Rush Limbaugh has been reading the address of the headquarters on the air.

It’s part of a growing effort to encourage physical, if not outright violent, confrontations. When a caller to Lou Dobbs’ radio show threatened to “brawl” with reform supporters, Dobbs stuck up for him. Glenn Beck suggested today that a caller should show up at policymakers’ homes. Michael Savage said he’d like to see anti-reform protests include “violent motorcycle groups.”

I continue to think mainstream America — the families who’ve been hoping to see meaningful health care reform for decades — will see and hear about these tactics and run in the other direction. Right-wing mobs may think they’re proving that there’s a sizable group of Americans who are siding with the corporate interests who’ve made reform necessary. In reality, they’re proving how crazy and borderline-dangerous the far-right base has become.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.