Since members of Congress have been returning home to their districts for the August recess, a consortium of industry-backed right-wing groups have been planning ambushes to harass Democrats for supporting health care reform. ThinkProgress obtained a leaked memo from a volunteer with Tea Party Patriots, a website sponsored by lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, that details how members should be disrupting town halls and “rattling” Democratic members of Congress.
Last night, Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) and Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) were apparently the latest victims of this strategy. Kagen, whose town hall was targeted by the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity, was “repeatedly disrupted” by “incomprehensible” shrieks and shouts from angry conservatives. Watch it:
Driehaus politely allowed an already angry crowd of tea party people into his town hall, and greeted them by saying, “I know that there are those with the tea party group and I welcome you and I welcome them to my office.” Despite his offer for constructive dialogue, within minutes, members of the right-wing crowd began booing and hissing with repeated howls of “move to Europe!” Watch it:
Greg Sargent reports that Rick Scott, the disgraced hospital executive bankrolling the anti-health reform group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, is now joining the effort to disrupt health care town halls. The for-profit health industry is contributing a great deal of resources to pressure lawmakers against reform. Last weekend, the health insurance lobby announced that they will be sending staff to “confront” lawmakers at town halls and will be transitioning to negative ads.
“In spite of the loud, shrill voices trying to interrupt town hall meetings and just throw a monkey wrench into everything,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “we’re going to continue to be positive and work hard.”