Over at ThinkProgress, Lee Fang has detailed how corporate and GOP funded right-wing extremists are orchestrating an astro-turf campaign to disrupt Democratic town halls and derail comprehensive health care reform. This past weekend, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) fell victim to the right’s strategy, where protesters followed him and chanted “just say no” to health care.
During an appearance on CNN, Doggett revealed that the Republican party filled the event with “volunteers” who shouted scripted bumper sticker slogans that were “totally as phony as the grassroots nature of this organization.” “There was never any willingness any give and take,” Doggett said, “we could write that bill any way one would want to write it nothing would satisfy them.” Some protesters even advocated overturning Medicare and Social Security:
Well, I know in reference to the Republican Party because its on the website of the local party chair, both urging them to come and thanking them for coming. It’s interesting that they decided to set all this up as a video opportunity. So that what you just showed was film taken by the Republican Party of Texas….They were waving the 10th amendment, the rights reserved to the states, and actually admitted to me, several of them, in the discussion, that they didn’t only want to stop health care reform, they wanted to repeal Medicare and social security.
Indeed, Republicans have a long history of opposing Medicare and demonizing health care reform as a socialistic government-takeover of health care — regardless of the actual proposal. As GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz admitted in an interview with the New York Times magazine, “we don’t know what he is proposing. We want to avoid “a Washington takeover.”
The overwhelming majority of Americans, however, support the tenets of comprehensive health care reform:
As CAP’s Ruy Tiexiera points out, “Health care reform is still quite popular, contrary to what you may have heard. What’s taking a hit is the multiple reform plans being batted around in Congress, which have confused the public and given conservatives a terrific opportunity to road test every antireform argument they can think of. After all, with so many plans floating around, how can the public be sure that these arguments don’t apply to at least one plan or provision of a plan that might possibly become law?”
SANCHEZ: You say these people are basically being orchestrated by the Republican Party and, uh, who else did you say?
REP. DOGGETT: Well the insurance industry has a hand in it?
SANCHEZ: The insurance industry? How do you know that? I mean, that’s a heck of a thing to say.
REP. DOGGETT: Well, I know in reference to the Republican Party because its on the website of the local party chair, both urging them to come and thanking them for coming. It’s interesting that they decided to set all this up as a video opportunity. So that what you just showed was film taken by the Republican Party of Texas. On a new YouTube video, they proudly proclaim that their edited version one snidbit of one question was produced by the Republican Party of Texas. Today’s New York Times reports the coordinated effort of some of those groups that have insurance company funding. They’ll do anything they can to block health care reform for working Americans.
SANCHEZ: I got the impression that a lot of the things that were being said in one were also being said in two and were also being said in three. Some of the very parallel statements, if you will, and I’m wondering if you have stopped to think about where these folks are getting their information. Cause they do have a very parallel ideology, do they not?
REP. DOGGETT: Well, they do have a script. I think this is disseminated through the Republican Party, through websites, that they are going to, and through some of the private organizations that are helping orchestrate this and its pretty much the same script everywhere. Government takeover, euthanasia, socialized medicine. They like to use bumper strip slogans that are totally as phony as the grassroots nature of this organization. There was never any wiliness, any give and take. I became convinced, Rick, that we could write that bill any way one would want to write it. Nothing would satisfy them. I would like to make this point because I think it’s important.
REP. DOGGETT: They were waving the 10th amendment, the rights reserved to the states, and actually admitted to me, several of them, in the discussion, that they didn’t only want to stop health care reform, they wanted to repeal Medicare and social security. Because that’s the same philosophy as no rights for the federal government to plan a role in helping its people with their individual choice,