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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Democrats Vs. the Tea Parties Day 9: Everything According to Plan

There's a great joke about a donkey and a camel and the punch line ends with "shut up A$$hole, I know what I'm doing". For the last week and a half, everyone seemed to criticize the town hall protesters. Speaker Pelosi called them un American. Most of the mainstream media mocked them. Even the Fox News panel said that they were counter productive to their cause because the story became about them. Yet, the facts are bearing out that these town hall events are drawing attention to the flaws in the bill and they will, as I predicted, put the final nail in the coffin of the President's health care bill.

First, if you were watching some of the riveting television yesterday, you might have thought you were in an alternate universe. Both Senator Arlen Specter and Senator McCaskill held town hall events yesterday. They were contentious to say the least.

Then, the president held a town hall meeting and it was a down right love fest.

The first question came from a local Democratic lawmaker (in the New Hampshire area that is) who proclaimed that if the Republicans refuse to get on board wouldn't it make sense to move forward on "needed reform" without them. Then, there was the 11 year old girl that asked essentially why so many people are lying about his health care reform bill. It turns out her mom is a major Dem fundraiser and the girl has been on the campaign trail with Obama in 2008. Now, if you only watched the President's town hall, you might believe that health care reform is a good idea. Of course, if you have been watching the news at all over the last two weeks, then you know that the president's town hall was nothing more than theater.

Then, there's the latest Rasmussen poll. Support for Congress' health care reform is at its lowest leve so far. Support is down to 42% from 47%. I predicted that support would fall into the 30's by the end of the month. Now, we'll never know if support is falling due to reaction of the events, or if the events reflect the falling support. What we do know is that there isn't a single poll that shows any support for the President's plan. As such, the folks that are showing up are NOT plants, astro turfers, or the extremes, but they reflect the country at large.

As this has unfolded, I have made several predictions about how this story would unfold. I predicted that the town halls would become more polite as they unfolded. Yesterday, we saw some of that at least at the Specter event which was confrontational but respectful, for the most part. I also predicted that town hall protesters would begin to show up on television in interviews. That's what starting to happen.

So, what happens when these same folks show up on interviews? First, everyone can see that they are citizens and not some plants. Second, they can show their disgust for the Speaker characterizing them as "un American". Third, they can reiterated their disgust with the health care bill as it is.

We still have nearly three more weeks of this story gripping the nation. There are so many angles to it and there will be plenty of time to cover all of them. That's what's happening. One of the angles is that the public isn't merely opposed to the plan but viscerally opposed to it. These are voters. They are Americans of all stripes from all parts of the country. That's what becomes more obvious every day.

It isn't merely that the public is overwhelmingly opposed to the plan. It's much more that the opposition has all the passion, energy, and life behind it. That's playing out in the town halls. Politicians would have to simply stubbornly decide to do as they please if they ignore what is happening to them right now. If Claire McCaskill goes back to D.C. and signs onto this plan she is simply ignoring the will that her voters are expressing. If Arlen Specter signs on, he is doing the same. There's no politician that can walk away from a town hall that could determine anything but that their constituency doesn't want this. If politicians are convinced by the town hall events, they need only to look at the polls which say the exact same thing.

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