Scattered amongst the now-familiar chants, shouts and cackles at this morning’s Code Red tea party-style rally on Capitol Hill (you know the drill — “Kill the Bill!,” “Shame!,” etc) was a new line of attack on the Democratic health care reform package and the woman trying to bring it to final passage in the House, Nancy Pelosi.
“Treason!” several in the audience yelled as Pelosi’s “deem and pass” plan was criticized by speaker after speaker standing in the center of the circle of several hundred protesters. “Try her for treason!”
Joe Lisanti, a physician from Ohio, was one of the loudest in the crowd calling for Pelosi to face charges for the deem and pass plan. See Lisanti explain his position in an interview with me after the jump.“I would call that stepping on the Constitution,” Lisanti said when I asked him why deem and pass rises to the level of a crime. “And when you take an oath to uphold the constitution and you don’t? Yeah, I think you should be tried for treason.”
Lisanti said this was his fifth rally in DC to stop the reform process, which he said carried special meaning for him as a doctor.
“I took an oath to protect my patients,” he said when I asked him why he keeps coming back. “And that’s why I’m here.”
By a long shot, the rally was not the largest tea party gathering we’ve seen in DC as the movement has fought against health care. But most of the messaging and speaker line up was the same. The biggest difference? Instead of a large, angry crowds, this morning’s rally was a small, angry crowd. As in the past, the crowd held signs calling the reform bill “Senior Genocide” and featuring images of a vampire-like Obama caricature stepping out of a coffin.
The speakers were similar to ones we’ve seen in the past, too. The crowd cheered loudest for Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), who promised that conservatives will kill reform by the weekend, when Democratic leaders say they’ll schedule a final House vote on a reform package.
Bachmann was the star, but other conservative pols who have made it a habit of riding the tea party circuit in recent months also got their chance at the mics. Each tried to offer their own soundbite to the pack of reporters gathered at one end of the circle of protesters.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who’s vying for the tea party vote to support a likely presidential bid, tried to use “Schoolhouse Rock” to make a point that reconciliation and deem and pass were not the way most people think “a bill becomes a law.”
Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) decided to go with some gross-out humor when he described the the anti-choice crowd’s objections to the bill. He brought a copy of what he said was the legislation with him and waved it high over his head.
“I’m sure that there are people here who think abortion is okay, and I don’t want to make you sick” he said, according to video snagged by ThinkProgress, “but I brought an abortion to show you today.”
Other speakers included other tea party favorites like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
In her speech, Bachmann promised that tea partiers will remain in Washington for the rest of the week to press lawmakers to stop the reform bill in the homestretch.