Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.
The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:
– Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”
– Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”
– Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”
The memo above also resembles the talking points being distributed by FreedomWorks for pushing an anti-health reform assault all summer. Patients United, a front group maintained by Americans for Prosperity, is currently busing people all over the country for more protests against Democratic members. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the NRCC, has endorsed the strategy, telling the Politico the days of civil town halls are now “over.”
Read the rest here.
And to be sure, these astroturfers, along with a few legit wingers, are following the playbook. [Teabaggers Try To Shout Down Health Care Reform At Town Halls | TPMDC] Congress folks have been shouted down, had chanting mobs follow them to their cars, and been forced to cancel town hall meetings or call security in locations all across the US. And our fellow citizens on the right are gloating about "shouting down" and "heckling" their representatives, besides, when they should be ashamed of such disrespectful behavior. They're largely a self-interested, corporate controlled mob, and they're getting ugly.
Updates as I find 'em:
More examples and folks proud of the hooliganism:
American Power: Dogging Lloyd Doggett: 'Just Say No"; to Obamacare!
Gateway Pundit: Lib "Blue Dog' Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) Booed, Mocked & Laughed At During Town Hall (Video)
Delegitimizing Obama by any means at hand - docweaselblog
More folks saying astroturfing & acting like an unruly mob is no way for American citizens to treat each other:
Rachel Maddow on GOP Thugishness at Town Halls: This is Called Hooliganism | Video Cafe
The danger in the right's anger - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com
Is Obama’s Vaunted Political Operation Getting Outworked By Tea-Baggers? | The Plum Line