Reform Debate Shifts to Protesters' Tactics
By Ben Pershing
Just as the White House is increasing its focus on Web-based grass-roots activism in hopes of boosting support for health-care reform, the on-the-ground tactics of reform opponents have become a subject of heated debate.
As the congressional recess begins, liberal blogs and activists have been highlighting the disruptive behavior of protesters at Democrats' town-hall events on health care. ThinkProgress last week posted a leaked memo from a volunteer affiliated with the conservative group FreedomWorks urging activists to "rattle" and "yell out" at Democratic lawmakers, "not try to have an intelligent debate." Democrats call them ""angry mobs of rabid right-wing extremists," similar to the more controversial attendees at McCain-Palin campaign rallies last year. The DNC is spreading Web ads highlighting the protesters' most disruptive tactics.
Josh Marshall mocks the demonstrations, writing: "with all the antics and ferocity, let's be honest, it's hard to deny there's a certain 'Waiting for Guffman,' 'Best in Show' quality to the whole scene." Democratic members say they are prepared for the disruptions but don't plan to escalate tensions by fighting back aggressively, preferring to let the GOP tactics be judged on their own.
Posted at 8:24 AM ET on Aug 5, 2009
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