Big Picture


The reports from the ground are still sketchy. But in both cases of unrest this evening we appear to have a similar pattern. Relatively small venues (200 to 300 size spaces) get quickly filled to capacity. The doors get closed because of fire codes. And then locked out teabag activists start banging on doors and windows demanding to be let in and yelling about various forms of political oppression. From what I can tell, the shoving and whatever fisticuffs took place grew from that.

In post-event retellings on the right fire code enforcement became a form of political repression of teabaggers.

More broadly, there’s a more general pattern — escalating mayhem and near-riot behavior from teabaggers escalating into physical confrontations. Already, not surprisingly, right wing websites are attempting to blame these developments on pro-health care reform advocates.

Late Update: I have an unconfirmed report that what touched off the outburst at the St. Louis event was that after the doors had been shut, two SEIU employees who were staffing the event (SEIU was a sponsor) came to the door and were allowed in. This provoked the teabag contingent, who believed this was prima facie evidence of discrimination against their political views.

Video of this moment after the jump …This is video which I am told but have not been able to independently confirm is of the moment in question (note the “someone let us in, Acorn!” … I’m not clear that ACORN was involved in this event at all but it seems to be an all purpose teabag/Beck taunt …)


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of