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Laura Ingraham Gleeful About the Republican Thuggery at Town Hall Meetings

Reported by Ellen - August 10, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

I had the “oh I’m so embarrassed for you” cringe moment again Friday night (8/7/09) watching Laura Ingraham play like O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor – complete with the arm swing and the “caution” warning. Yee, gads. Ingraham could barely restrain her glee as she trumpeted, “As more and more Americans rise up against socialized medicine at town hall meetings across the country, Democrats seem to be demonizing the opposition.” With video.

Does she live for this shit, or what?

With eyes glittering like a cheetah with a deer in its sights, Ingraham practically salivated as she played a clip of a right-wing disrupted town hall meeting in St. Louis, and reported that, “. . . a conservative activist who was physically attacked at a St. Louis gathering will be here.” (Just so everybody’s not waiting with baited breath, I’m not likely to give this guy any platform in this post – I’ve seen Fox’ token “black conservative” guests in the past, and I’ll pass.) It went without critical mention by Ingraham (later in the segment, she pooh-poohed it) that one of those same types of conservative “activists” at a Colorado town hall meeting was photographed carrying a sign with a Swastika on it, with the President’s name below it. Ingraham was so busy holding court breathlessly on the evils of the Democrats, she also forgot to mention other “right wing extremists' use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials, hanging members of Congress in effigy, breathlessly questioning the President's citizenship and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like” which, as reported by The Raw Story, “Just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are.” The allies part – that would be you, Laur.

Ingraham tried her best O’Reilly imitation, intoning, “The Democrats versus the people – that’s the subject of this evening’s Talking Points Memo.” Wait, who “people? You mean the 55% who believe that we need major healthcare reform? Or the water-carrier people dispatched by the right-wing conservatives and healthcare industries to disrupt rallies – many, incidentally, carrying signs that smacked of racism? Riiiiight – these protesters are worried about healthcare reform like the tea party protesters were worried about federal spending and the “birthers” are worried about a piece of paper. The worry, as Paul Krugman noted, is based on “cultural and racial anxiety” – you know, the “angry white voter” insisting that the power be given right back to the white guys in a big, fat, flaming hurry!

But, spoken like the good little Foxette that she is, using the same level of “fair and balanced” reporting so encouraged on Fox News, Ingraham stoked the myth that the town hall meetings are just about average concerned people, saying, “Last night, top White House Aides presented . . . Democrats with a battle plan to avoid the embarrassing PR disaster otherwise known as healthcare town halls.” I’m sure Ingraham will get to this, being “fair and balanced” and all, but I thought I’d help out by mentioning that the ones who are usually embarrassed are generally the ones getting handcuffs waved in their faces by cops – such as the “angry mob of near-rioting right-wing protesters [who] overwhelmed a Tampa, Florida Democratic town hall Thursday night organized to discuss health reform, requiring dozens of police officers to control the unruly crowd. Many of the protesters were members of a right-wing Conservative activist group, called Tampa 912 that’s promoted by Conservative Fox News host Glenn Beck. Other members of the right-wing mob were encouraged to protest the town hall by an email blast sent out by the Hillsborough Republican party, which provided the right-wing protesters with ‘talking points’ to challenge health reform supporters. The result was over one thousand angry protesters showing up ready for a fight and armed with racist signs of President Obama, for a town hall event in a room that would only hold about 250 people.”

Yes, I can certainly see how a bunch of right-wing crazy-makers are the responsibility of the Democrats . . . wait, no I don’t. What I do see is that Ingraham chose to ignore this Floridian debacle – along with the other nationwide debacles – that are driven by conservative wingnuts trying to make it look like the opposition to healthcare reform is huge and passionate and earthy instead of narrow and angry and thuggish, and chose to focus instead on the one town hall where a conservative activist may have been injured (but whether or not that was a staged performance to take the heat off the Republican thugs invading the rallies across the country is a legitimate question, one Ingraham never asked, of course.) Hey, I’m sure most of those anti-everything-Obamanites would be willing to take one on the chin for the cause.

According to Ingraham, Democrats are beginning to “dismiss” and “demonize” the town hall obstructionists as the “hired guns of the insurance companies or Brooks Brothers protesters. Far left columnist Paul Krugman accused them of harboring racial anxiety. The fact is, crowds of this size only turn out across the country if there is real, genuine passion about an issue [or real, genuine fear that’s been rammed down your throat] . . . Democrats have sunk to a new low.” Ay yi yi, Laur. Speaking of new lows . . . .

Ingraham, determined to prove her point that it’s the left that’s stoking the flames of divisiveness, cut to a clip of Washington State Congressman (D) Brian Baird lamenting the reality that the disruption of town hall meetings is designed to intimidate those who sincerely want information on healthcare reform – and going on to say some of the rhetoric is “eerily reminiscent” of the kind of things that caused Tim McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma.

“Domestic terrorism – disgusting . . . .” Disgusting doesn’t even begin to cover it. You’ve got the likes of Rush Limbaugh comparing President Obama to Hitler, for Pete’s sake. And if you look at the faces in these “grassroots” town hall protests, it’s a sea of older, white faces – the “angry white voter” mentioned by Krugman. The Republican protesters are like the little kid in first grade (envision, say, a 6-year-old Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity) who keeps tapping you on the shoulder until you turn around, then pretends he’s working so you get in trouble by the teacher. Same principle, same mental age, only using canes as weapons instead of spitballs. When mobs of people disrupt public gatherings for the purpose of harassment and intimidation, it’s nothing other than domestic terrorism.

Continued Ingraham, “. . . The strategy of attacking voters who dare to speak out is backfiring bigtime. It simply widens the gulf of distrust and infuriates hard-working Americans . . . so much for no-drama Obama and a new era of bipartisanship [uh, Laura, bi-partisanship requires cooperation of two – hence the “bi” – parties]. I have an idea . . . why not convince a blue state to do a test run of Obama care for the rest of us. Any takers?” Yes, bring it to Illinois! Give me single-payer healthcare – you know, run by the government the way, say, Medicare is – and free me from the insanity of private insurance. (By the way, as reported by Politico, in a town hall meeting in Texas – predictably swarmed and disrupted by conservative Republicans – a slew of hands shot up when asked who opposed any form of government health care, many of the same hands shot up when the question was posed as to who was on Medicare. What this tells us is two-fold – they don’t have an f’ing clue about what they’re really opposing, and the people storming the joints are no spring chickens.)

Ingraham brought on Fox News analyst, Juan Williams, who, frankly, didn’t seem bowled over with affection for the fair Ms. Ingraham.

“Juan . . . this is getting more ratcheted up by the day,” Ingraham gloated, “The more the Democrats dismiss and now demonize these protesters, the more regular folks seem to be showing up at these forums. What gives?” Regular folks? Since when are individuals dispatched by organizations such as FreedomWorks, American Liberty Alliance (a message board group), FreedomWorks, and Americans for Prosperity (coordinated by the Chicago based Sam Adams Alliance, which does not disclose its donors) -- not to mention employees of health insurance companies dispatched by their employers -- just “regular folks?” Since when do “regular folks” need to be instructed to disrupt town hall events, with advice like “rattle them” and “stand up and shout”? This isn’t exactly like a pick-up basketball game in the park.

Williams said that he believed there is real discontent and concern about the spending surrounding healthcare reform, but he went on to say that he believes a lot of them are being “stirred up” by “scare tactics,” such as talk of rationing and socialized medicine (such as the Glenn-Beck-linked “Tampa 912” group.)

Ingraham argued that 68% of Americans describe their health coverage as excellent or good, and continued to forge forward with her it’s-the-Dems’-fault routine, saying the Democrats were caught “flatfooted” at the level of distrust about a government-run health plan. Williams noted, however, that, “The 68% number that you cite was not that before Republicans made this all about the cost . . . .”

Ingraham brought up, once again, Congressman Baird’s reference to Timothy McVeigh, and pooh-poohed Nancy Pelosi’s comment about swastikas, minimizing the repugnance of the sign-carrier and the concern about it by Pelosi by saying, “I think she’s referring to one sign on one rally where a red line was through a swastika thing, we don’t want socialized whatever . . . their response to the critics is fueling the critics here.”

“It’s not about the people who are actually at the meetings,” Williams said, “Their strategy is to get media attention -- this is really political theatre.”

“No, they care, though, right?” protested Ingraham. She defensively mentioned that the SEIU is in the processing of organizing counter-protests at the rallies, saying, “I mean, they’re organizing people. . . .” What she didn’t mention is that the SEIU wouldn’t need to organize COUNTER-protests if the Republican wingnuts weren’t so gangster.

“Both sides right now are taking this to the streets . . . this is very personal,” said Williams.

“So much for the apathy . . . People are engaged, I love that, left or right,” Ingraham concluded, as the music played and she, thankfully, faded out for the moment.

Her exit line was, I’d wager, the first time anyone on this or any other planet has ever heard Ingraham use the word “love” and “left” in the same sentence.