The National Republican Congressional Committee is now slamming the Democratic leadership's response to the town hall disruptions with a new press release, saying that the Dems are now questioning the patriotism of their political opponents and calling them un-American -- the same politics they used to denounce during the Bush years.
The target of this is the new USA Today column by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, which declares of the town-hall disruptions: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades." The NRCC also targets Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), who told the Washington Post: "What I don't want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions."
"According to the Democratic leadership, if you oppose an increase in healthcare costs, massive deficits, and higher taxes, you are 'un-American,'" said NRCC communciations director Ken Spain. "By calling town hall attendees 'political terrorists' or questioning the patriotism of their own constituents, Democrats have reduced themselves to the hateful and unproductive rhetoric they once excoriated."
North Carolina Tea Party Revolution has posted videos from their big protest outside Rep. Brad Miller's (D-NC) office on Friday, which they claim had 695 attendees -- and the videos sure to tell you a lot about the nature of right-wing anger right now.
Miller has not been holding town halls, but instead scheduled a meeting at his Raleigh office with a small group of constituents who were also conservative activists. The Tea Party then gathered outside:
These people really do see America as a place that has now been taken over by an illegitimate regime -- note the signs like "Liberal Government + Liberal Media = Tyranny," and "United Socialist States of America." Plus there's a defiance of the home-made shirts of a cracked ACORN logo, with the name spelled backwards to make a new acronym: "Not Really 4 Obama's Communist America." If the government isn't conservative, it's tyrannical.
And just look at this example, of a man saying that our children have been "enslaved" by a $115 trillion debt -- complete with baby dolls in striped prisoner outfits and chains:
"And we're tired of the government's saying that we're paid and that we're organized. We are not. We're everyday citizens," the man explained "We get together on Internet Web sites to figure out where things are going on, and what's going on -- just like the other side does. And we're sick and tired of this, we gotta take back America now."
The former Attorney General, who launched a mini media blitz in May, is back, this time trying his hand with New York Times magazine interviewer Deborah Solomon.
Among other tidbits, Gonzo says he hasn't talked to George W. Bush since the president left office. And he confirms that no law firm has offered him a job in the years since he resigned. (Though his lawyer told TPMmuckraker in May he was engaged in unspecified "legal work.")
Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) -- who last week denounced President Obama for supposedly wanting to create a "death panel" that would condemn her Down Syndrome son to go without health care -- is now calling for civility at town halls, and to not diminish our political discourse. Here's her latest Facebook post:
There are many disturbing details in the current bill that Washington is trying to rush through Congress, but we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment. Such tactics diminish our nation's civil discourse which we need now more than ever because the fine print in this outrageous health care proposal must be understood clearly and not get lost in conscientious voters' passion to want to make elected officials hear what we are saying. Let's not give the proponents of nationalized health care any reason to criticize us.
It would be incorrect to say that Palin is backing off. Rather, she is calling for civility in the manner of the debate, so as to focus effectively on how evil and disturbing her opponents are.
House Democrats have set up a "war room" to help members push health care reform during the August recess, according to The Hill.
The 24/7 war room staff, working out of Rep. Steny Hoyer's (D-MD) office, will answer policy questions from members and closely monitor the news. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will make daily phone calls to freshmen and sophomore members, and there will be more caucus conference calls than usual.
Obama Looks To Regain Momentum Over RecessRoll Callreports that President Obama plans to use the August recess to regain momentum in the health care debate. "It's been confusing for people and there's a lot of misinformation, so the president is going to use August to set the record straight," said an unnamed senior White House official. "He'll be very direct."
Obama's Day Ahead
President Obama is spending today in Guadalajara, Mexico. He will hold a trilateral meeting at 10 a.m. ET with Mexican President Felipe CalderÃ³n and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The three of them will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. ET. Obama will depart from Mexico at 2:15 p.m. ET, arriving back at the White House at 6:35 p.m. ET.
Dean: Palin "Just Made That Up" About The Death Panel
Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean told CNN that Sarah Palin's line about President Obama establishing a "death panel" was simply wrong. "About euthanasia, they're just totally erroneous. She just made that up," said Dean. "Just like the 'Bridge to Nowhere' that she supposedly didn't support.
Gingrich Defends Palin On The Death Panel
Appearing on This Week, former Speaker Newt Gingrich defended Palin on the "death panel" talk, even though George Stephanopoulos pointed out multiple times that the health care bill does not promote euthanasia. "You are asking us to trust turning power over to the government," said Gingrich, "when there are clearly people in American who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards."
Obama: "Outlandish Claims" About Health Care Bill Are "Simply Not True"
In this week's YouTube address, President Obama rebutted what he called "outlandish claims" that have been made against his health care plan:
"So, let me explain what reform will mean for you," said Obama. "And let me start by dispelling the outlandish claims that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That's simply not true. This isn't about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it's about putting you in charge of your health insurance.
Virginia Gubernatorial Race Takes Center Stage In GOP Address
This weekend's Republican address was delivered by Bob McDonnell, the GOP nominee for Governor of Virginia. He delivered a standard conservative message, with a focus on how these issues affect his own state as well as the country at large:
"As I travel throughout Virginia, I listen to our people who are concerned about the jobs they have, worried about finding the jobs they need, and concerned about what jobs will be available for their kids in the years ahead," McDonnell said, later adding: "As Republicans, we believe you create jobs by keeping taxes and regulation low, and litigation at a minimum."
Greg Sargent reports that, in a meeting with key liberal interest groups, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel went on quite the tirade, letting it be known just how he feels about progressive groups targeting House Blue Dogs and conservative Senate Democrats.
Among other things, he called them "fucking stupid."
In the past, White House objections to infighting have been effective. And though a number of groups have insisted that they're not changing their game plans, it'll be interesting to see if the tone or intensity of these campaigns changes.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus might have gotten an earful from President Obama yesterday at a White House health care meeting. Why? Because now he's publicly acknowledging that bipartisan negotiations could collapse forcing Democrats to advance a bill on a party-line basis.
"If Republicans aren't there, it could get to the point where sometime after the recess... Democrats may have to go in a different direction," Baucus said. "I hope not, but we have to face facts."
Baucus has been one of the chief boosters of the idea of passing a consensus bill. That commitment has vexed liberals, but that's part of what makes his statement today significant.