Yesterday in an conference call that ThinkProgress took part in, GOP Chairman Michael Steele told reporters that neither the national Republican party nor any state Republican parties are promoting town hall disruptions:
STEELE: I had nothing to do with that, I did not encourage that. And we’re not encouraging people to be angry I mean to the point of being nasty and brutish and ugly. That’s not what this is about. There’s no upside for the Republican Party or the people involved to do that. Now some people, you know, that’s how they express their frustration, that’s how they express their frustration. But that’s not something deliberately coordinated by me or any one state party.
Unfortunately, Steele’s statement isn’t true. This past weekend, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) was harassed by right-wing protesters who refused to have a civil dialogue with the Congressman. The front page of the official website of the Texas Republican Party prominently features and endorses the incident. The website headline reads, “Doggett Fields Softballs“:
If you click on the picture, it links to a video of the incident, which is hosted by the Texas Republican Party’s official YouTube account, txgoptv. At the conclusion of the video, the words “Produced by the Republican Party of Texas” pop up alongside a legal disclaimer that proclaims the video was paid for the by the Republican Party of Texas.
The Texas GOP’s endorsement of these tactics joins remarks by Sen. John Coryn (R-TX) that the “fear” and “anger” of Americans over health care reform present “real opportunities” for the Republican Party.
The Texas GOP isn’t alone in encouraging the mob protests, though. On a blog post titled “Here’s to Mob Rule,” Connecticut GOP chairman Chris Healy yesterday listed off the times and locations of several health care town halls. In the post he wrote that “one perrson’s [sic] mob is another person’s concerned’s citizen’s group” and remarked that if members of Congress “get upset because people are shouting at them, maybe they should listen.”
ThinkProgress has contacted the both the Texas and Connecticut Republican parties for comment, but we have yet to recieve a response.