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Un-American

The Outrage of the Day, apparently, is a USA Today op-ed by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer in which they assert “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

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Now, Congressmen probably shouldn’t go around calling their fellow countrymen “un-American.”  It’s unhelpful in persuading opponents and not particularly shrewd politically.  But, considering that I both disagree with Pelosi and Hoyer on the direction we should take our national health care policy and preceded them by three days in asserting that “we should be able to agree that shutting down public debate on the matter in the guise of ‘being heard’ is not only unproductive but un-American,” I’m hard pressed to muster much outrage over this one.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s unhelpful in persuading opponents and not particularly shrewd politically.

    Nancy Pelosi probably doesn’t have any political opponents she needs to worry about in her home district and as long as what she’s saying keeps the folks back home happy, that’s about as shrewd as it gets.

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  2. Alex Knapp says:

    So, are the people decrying this suggesting that “drowning out debate” is American?

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  3. Steve Plunk says:

    Political protests have been a fixture in America since it’s beginning. These protests are not designed to be town hall meetings meant to allow raport but are meant to grab the attention of the populace and the government. These are protests, not meetings, that are going on and are not un-American. Where else might an angry citizen find their congressional representative but at a town hall meeting? That’s why the protests are taking place there.

    The un-American label is wrong. This is political dissent and very much American.

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  4. hallo says:

    Holy cow, setting up that link buffet must have been a pain in the ass.

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  5. PD Shaw says:

    Alex, you mean you didn’t read the links? For shame.

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  6. Alex Knapp says:

    PD,

    A random sampling of the links indicated that most people outraged by this editorial did not, in fact, read it.

    Steve Plunk,

    If a meeting is set up so that a Congressman can take questions from his constituents, and protesters do not physically allow anyone to ask questions, that is not a protest. It is an act of intimidation. I don’t care if the protests are from the left, right, middle, or diagonal. Intimidation and coercion in the name of politics is un-American.

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  7. Triumph says:

    The only thing “un=American” here is Nancy “The Commie” Pelosi and her buddy Lil’ Steny.

    They are red liberals, through and through.

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  8. James Joyner says:

    Political protests have been a fixture in America since it’s beginning. These protests are not designed to be town hall meetings meant to allow raport but are meant to grab the attention of the populace and the government. These are protests, not meetings, that are going on and are not un-American. Where else might an angry citizen find their congressional representative but at a town hall meeting? That’s why the protests are taking place there.

    Why not picket outside? THAT’s a protest. But what Alex said about doing it inside the meeting.

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  9. Steve Plunk says:

    Alex, We seem to disagree.

    Given the general unavailability of our congressmen to citizens why are they of limits for protests when having a town hall meeting? There’s no real discussion at these things. Mostly photo ops and a place for the member to give a speech. They are certainly not the place for policy debates. That makes them fair game for a protest.

    Plenty of these disruptions have taken place over the years and most were staged by the Left but no one dared call them un-American. Remember when dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Have the rules changed now the Right is protesting?

    I hardly see this as intimidation for anyone except for the congressman who suddenly realizes it might be un-American to vote on bills he hasn’t read. Or he may realize socialized medicine seem un-American to many of his constituents. Perhaps he might even realize that Dems meeting in secret writing bills appears un-American. The person seeming most un-American is the Speaker who jets around while telling us to go green.

    These people are angry and rightly so. Who’s intimidating who when they hurl accusations of being un-American to those who stand up to be heard? And why wouldn’t people be panicked given the fast track, no discussion nature of legislation these days? Anger, fear, panic, that sounds like a recipe for disruptive receptions at these meetings. If congressmen wanted a warm welcome they should have done a better job before leaving town and not put people in such a panic.

    I’ll stand by my assertion this is a reasonable response to what Congress and the President are up to. Un-American my foot. At least they left the pitchforks at home.

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  10. J says:

    So, are the people decrying this suggesting that “drowning out debate” is American?

    It’s a bald-faced mischaracterization of what is happening in the first place. American citizens have every right to voice their disapproval to the actions of their elected officials. I don’t agree with the shouting and so forth, but when those elected officials are elusive, manipulative, and dishonest about their policy actions which will have broad-reaching effects upon everyone, the anger is understandable.

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  11. With all due respect, what is this debate that is being spoke of? Where have any of the proponents of Obamacare from the Obama Aministration or Congress actually engaged in a debate with their opponents? Hell’s bells, how many people are even informed enough about the legislation to debate it from the pro side?

    Town hall meetings are not debates. They are usually little more than dog and pony shows with either planted questions or generally uninformed citizens getting a moment of glory with the speaker responding with a talking point that may or may not have anything to do with the question asked. Nothing wrong with a little PR or staying in tough with the hoi polloi, but debates they aren’t.

    As noted previously, I am not in favor of shouting people down or trying to silence anyone. But when so many with legitimate questions offered up in a civil manner are being either ignored, lampooned, insulted, or even beaten, I can start to understand how things have detiorated to the extent they have. Unless and until our current Masters of the Universe move back toward the mainstream a bit and stop being so condescending to those who disagree or earnestlky seek more information I expect things to continue to deteriorate farther.

    Town halls have ceased to function and are being cancelled all over. It will all be blamed on those extremist, misinformation spreading, un-American, obstructionist Republicans (some of whom might be terrorists!), but somehow I don’t think it is all their fault. If the Masters of the Universe decide that no further public debate is feasible and go forward with their plans anyway, perhaps some will start to wonder whether or not that was their plan all along. Well, the conspiratorially-minded extremist, misinformation spreading, un-American, obstructionist Republicans anyway.

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  12. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I guess you can discuss reasonably with someone who is supposed to take his instruction on how to vote from those who put him in office, but when all you get is administration talking points from that individual, some folks get angry. I just watched a video on You tube which showed a Doctor (Medical not philosophical) asking a Georgia congressman a question concerning health care. The Georgia congressman went ballistic on the doctor for asking a question he was not prepared to answer. He claimed the Doc had hijacked the town hall. Bet that guy is not returned to Congress. My own congressman, Mike Thompson, 1st district in California is not posting town halls but did have a telephone equivalent in which the calls were filtered, no doubt and Mike got to explain why he was not voting the way the people who voted him in to office want him to. I wrote him that he should start looking for a job now. The left started the tactics of shout them down. What I want to know is why are unions involved at all in this? They will be exempt from any government run program.

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  13. Bessie Relvas says:

    I am a Democrat 82 yrs old and still work 5 days a week. am 1/2 American Indian and the other 1/2 Dutch (my ancestors came over on their own sloop in 1640)
    I pay taxes, I and my employer pay into S.S Medicare.
    Why do I work , because Bush’s Prescription Plan raised the cost of my medicine 500% . I just had my bone med refilled yesterday $96.00 for 12 pills. My glaucoma medicines cost me $68.00 for 40 days drops. So therefore before I eat must pay $6000 rent a year, $4000. for medicine , $1156.80 for Medicare A &B and $948.00 supplement insurance this is $2104.00 My S.S is $11676 a year so what can I do but work, unless like so many other I could set on my rump and let welfare take care of me . NO Thank you , I was raised by and Indian mother who said , there is always something out there to do if one has the guts to go out and do what ever is necessary to do it . She raised 9 children after my father was killed in a cyclone in 1928. she was over forty and held down 3 jobs to raise us, she cooked in the school during the day, she sewed couch cover and cloths at night and on week end she baby sit for th D. A.’s and his brother’s children. then during the war she worked as a bomb maker . I went to work for F.W Woolworth and went to school for 13 to 16 then worked at night at Ma Bell and went to school during the days until 18. We sent one girl and one boy to college , not on scholarships are any free stuff. each of us gave up something to send them . I wore hand me downs for 4 years . others gave up that much or more . Teach people to take care of themselves rather than always giving to the lazy and taking from those who help themselves. THIS HEALTH CARE BILL IS GOING TO BREAK THIS COUNTRY. SEND THE ILLEGALS BACK TO THEIR COUNTRY AND MAKE WELFARE RECIPIENT’S DO SOMETHING , EVEN IF IT CLEAN TOILETS . Hey if that the only thing I could find I would do it

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  14. I wonder how the left is going to go about disowning the SEIU for being unamerican.

    Legislative Forum

    Purpose: Congressional representatives are coordinating forums on the health insurance crisis around the state for constituents to come share their personal stories and hear proposed solutions being debated in Washington, DC.

    Agenda: Congressman Jim Himes (D-4), who has already been hard at work organizing his peers in Washington DC for health insurance reform, will speak and listen to our concerns.

    Action: Opponents of reform are organizing counter-demonstrators to speak at this and several congressional town halls on the issue to defend the status quo. It is critical that our members with real, personal stories about the need for access to quality, affordable care come out in strong numbers to drown out their voices.

    Please note that their specific call to action is to “drown out” those who might not agree on the direction for health care. But I suspect that Pelosi and the left will continue to condemn the right for disagreeing and applaud the SEIU for standing up to the right.

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  15. sam says:

    @Plunk

    Given the general unavailability of our congressmen to citizens why are they of limits for protests when having a town hall meeting?

    So, when congressmen attempt to make themselves available to citizens via a meeting, it’s OK to disrupt the meeting so as to render the congressmen unavailable to the citizens. Do I have that right?

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  16. Sam, that is a pathetic strawman and you know it. I’ll let Mr. Plunk speak for himself, but come on.

    It’s funny how so many, dare I say it, liberals who have been apologists for so much asocial and criminal behavior in the past have suddenly adopted an extremely, dare I say it, conservative position for these disenfrachised citizens. Yes, as Mr. Plunk noted, these citizens are feeling extremely disenfranchised. You may not think they are being disenfranchised, but they sure would seem to disagree. And who are you in this postmodern world to deny the validity of their feelings?

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  17. Drew says:

    I could weigh in at length, but I’m basically with Plunk.

    For those of you disagreeing, do you now want to regulate discourse?

    I can reduce this to the least common denominator(s): 1) politics is a contact support, 2) you don’t show up to a gun fight with a knife.

    The left knows this, and they are making every argument they can to encourage unilateral surrender, cloaking it in the guise of civil discourse.

    Nope. Not buying.

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  18. giant slor says:

    So many Rightblogs were screaming about this that I figured, gosh, maybe they really did call the protesters un-American. So I read the column. Nope, that’s not what they said:

    “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

    It is un-American. Not the protesters. Not their views. But their drowning out other views– and at a town hall meeting, no less. There is a place for screaming protests, and it’s outside, away from the town hall meeting. Inside, people’s views are supposed to be heard–and not all at once, at high volume.

    Conservatives have loved calling leftist activists who disrupt conservative speakers “brownshirts.” Now it’s the conservatives doing the disrupting and guess who they’re calling brownshirts? Hint: not themselves. Why, it’s Democrats. Imagine that! Democrats are the brownshirts for saying the same thing conservatives were saying before. Ain’t double standards grand when used for propaganda purposes?

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  19. Joe Camel says:

    I read the bill(s).
    There will be amendments..after it is out there that won’t be included in the current language, and be voted on without anyone knowing about them. In finality, the bill will have all kinds of new things not in the bill(s) now. Think it is nefarious now, wait..

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  20. sam says:

    C’mon Charles, what strawy about that man? Bitching about unavailable congress critters, then cheerleading actions that make said critters unavailable is surely worth taking note of, right?

    And who are you in this postmodern world to deny the validity of their feelings?

    Who said I was denying the validity of their feelings? It’s the expression that I find counterproductive to their interests, is all.

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  21. Steve Plunk says:

    giant slor, by the way I like that name, you’re right in that they did not call people un-American but clearly by extension they were calling them that. Treasonous activity makes one a traitor does it not? Same thing here. Pelosi was attempting to paint the protesters as being un-American.

    Sam, I see what you are saying but these citizens have basically one shot to get their point across. Congress has frightened them to the point of panic and they don’t want to be misread on this. Washington is doing such bad job on this it’s they who are to blame, not the angry people acting up.

    Let’s also face the fact that a loud protester at a town hall meeting will influence that congressman much more than the most brilliant and reasonable letter or email. Citizens have learned the lesson of the Left and are employing their tactics.

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  22. sam says:

    Washington is doing such bad job on this it’s they who are to blame, not the angry people acting up.

    But Steve, the meetings were arranged to try and explain things to folks, or at least, to present some facts about the legislation to them. I don’t see what was or is to be gained by not having the meeting.

    Let’s also face the fact that a loud protester at a town hall meeting will influence that congressman much more than the most brilliant and reasonable letter or email.

    I’m not sure that’s true, but, assuming it is, that happenstance is something none of us, on any side of any issue, should sanguine about.

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  23. Mr. Prosser says:

    Keep allowing the shouting, screaming and flaming. Keep it up all month so everyone sees it all on the news and YouTube. Let everyone see it every day. Especially keep Palin, Gingrich, DeMint, Imhofe and Bachmann talking. Please.

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  24. But Steve, the meetings were arranged to try and explain things to folks, or at least, to present some facts about the legislation to them.

    How are they going to explain something they don’t understand themselves? The meetings were set up to mingle with the common folk and spread the talking point gospel. Calling that a debate doesn’t make it one. Calling it eductaional doesn’t make it so either.

    “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”

    No it isn’t. It is rude and uncivil, but it isn’t un-American. Just ask any community organizer that quotes Saul Alinsky. Or are some opposing views merely more equal than others?

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  25. All thus commotion about garden variety community organizing tactics no longer being valid now that the community organizer in chief is in office strikes me as a corollary to one man, one vote, one time.

    No thanks.

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  26. Steve Plunk says:

    Sam, I appreciate the respectful dialogue. I disagree that the meetings were arranged to anything more than provide an opportunity for the members of congress to make their case, not to listen and not to present facts.

    Your other point is very true but who fault is that? The politicians are more concerned with appearances than making good policy since that’s what gets them reelected.

    If they really cared about doing this right then why all the rush? They rush because they expect Americans to oppose the changes as we become more aware of them. It is generally accepted these changes would be permanent, almost impossible to reverse once enacted. Something this big and likely irreversible should not be hurried through without proper debate not only in Congress but with the American people. If congressmen won’t do that then the people will make them.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. These people protesting probably didn’t imagine themselves doing it a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think congress would turn into a deliberative body that passes bills without reading them and withholds details on legislation until the last minute.

    What it comes down to is Congress is responsible for record deficits and debt. Congress is corrupt in many ways. Congress can’t control itself and do what is right. People are angry and Congress deserves their ire.

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  27. steve says:

    “. Treasonous activity makes one a traitor does it not? Same thing here. Pelosi was attempting to paint the protesters as being un-American”

    Umm, no. My 16 y/o, who started reading Hawking at 9 and is taking college courses occasionally does really stupid things, he is 16. I tell him he behaved stupidly and we try to correct it. He is still very bright. You can still be a patriotic American and do things which can be viewed as un-American.

    FTR, I regard protest and dissent as good. These people have every right to go to these meetings and speak up. They can even disrupt the meetings (unless their name is Gates and then they will probably get a disorderly conduct arrest). It just isnt very productive and it is a waste of everyone’s time if they decide to be disruptive.

    In a minor defense of the Congresspeople, it must be pretty difficult to respond when some of the questions are unbearably stupid and based on lies. Things like the illegal alien and killing granny must provide for difficult responses.

    Steve

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  28. G.A.Phillips says:

    How are they going to explain something they don’t understand themselves? The meetings were set up to mingle with the common folk and spread the talking point gospel. Calling that a debate doesn’t make it one. Calling it educational doesn’t make it so either.

    Here here. They want answers not talking points, and they can tell the difference, Good People from all the parties trying in vain to be answered.

    And for this the get Rule Fived by the likes of these two.

    What in the green sunned hell is going on around this peace???

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  29. giant slor says:

    giant slor, by the way I like that name,

    Thanks. :)

    you’re right in that they did not call people un-American but clearly by extension they were calling them that. Treasonous activity makes one a traitor does it not?

    Wow, you’re really stretching. Saying someone’s behavior is un-American is calling them a traitor? I don’t think many people associate “un-American” with “treasonous,” at least not since the McCarthy era. I think of “un-American” as going against (what SHOULD be) American ideals, and I’d be willing to bet that most Americans interpret it the same way as me. Now, if Pelosi and Hoyer had said “ANTI-American,” you might start to have a stronger case.

    Sam, I see what you are saying but these citizens have basically one shot to get their point across. Congress has frightened them to the point of panic and they don’t want to be misread on this.

    These people aren’t lamb-eyed innocents trying to be heard above the fray, they’re right-wing bullies trying to drown out and intimidate everyone else. That much is more than clear.

    Let’s also face the fact that a loud protester at a town hall meeting will influence that congressman much more than the most brilliant and reasonable letter or email.

    That’s not at all obvious. I think a loud protester at a town hall meeting is more likely to influence that congressman in the wrong direction. Yelling at someone doesn’t make them more sympathetic to your cause, it makes them more antagonistic.

    Citizens have learned the lesson of the Left and are employing their tactics.

    Finally you’ve said something I can agree with (albeit in a narrow way). Which begs the question: Why are they adopting tactics that they’ve decried in the past? I guess it’s OK if Republicans do it, huh?

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  30. These people aren’t lamb-eyed innocents trying to be heard above the fray, they’re right-wing bullies trying to drown out and intimidate everyone else. That much is more than clear.

    It’s statements like this that give the lie to your attempts to seem all fair and reasonable and above it all. Or maybe your just selective about which Youtube videos you’ll watch.

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  31. Finally you’ve said something I can agree with (albeit in a narrow way). Which begs the question: Why are they adopting tactics that they’ve decried in the past? I guess it’s OK if Republicans do it, huh?

    Well, no. And maybe you haven’t noticed, but some of the people you’re complaining about aren’t Republicans at all. But I’ve addressed this already above. The well was poisoned long ago and damned if I know how to put the genie back in the bottle, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors. These people at all these events aren’t as organized as you seem to think they are, but they are mad, confused, and feeling disenfranchised. The only real bullies I’ve seen are the SEIU thugs here in St. Louis that were arrested last week for beating a man and putting him in the hospital while he handed out flags. Handing out flags is so intimidating. Next thing you know someone might start complaining about outside agitators…

    The chickens may be coming home to roost for all those travelers who undertook the long march through the institutions. See my earlier Macbeth quotation if you don’t know what I mean. Or if you prefer a more recent literary allusion, perhaps, with apologies to Tom Wolfe, the flak-catchers have had enough of the Mau-Mau-ers.

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  32. Steve Plunk says:

    Slor my friend, I don’t think it a stretch to make that extension. Like Charles I believe many of these people to be “lamb eyed innocents”. They’re new to this and unaccustomed to how it works in many cases. My experience with public meetings is the professionals act professional and the neophytes raise their voices.

    Congressmen are different than most people. How they look on TV or how they are presented in the press could mean a tougher election. Getting yelled at by a constituent is bad press. That is more likely to change their vote if not their mind. This is a battle over some of the 535 who rule and they have a different set of values than most of us.

    Republicans have been faced with the question of resorting to the other side’s tactics for years. Keep to the high road or fight dirty? With something this important and the way it is being handled I believe they decided to fight with all they have. You can’t keep fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

    So what do all you who believe this is un-American think about slowing the legislation down and having a real debate? Would it be statesman like for the President to ask for a longer period of time? After all it was he who put a deadline on it and scared a good portion of America. After the cap and trade fiasco we had a right to be scared.

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  33. vech says:

    No matter how hard I try, I cannot envision a polite and respectful meeting producing results like we are seeing now. Please explain how the results of a ‘civilized” meeting would read in the following day’s headlines, if there were any headlines at all?

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  34. steve says:

    “Republicans have been faced with the question of resorting to the other side’s tactics for years. Keep to the high road or fight dirty?”

    Calling people who opposed the Iraq war traitors and America haters was the high road?

    Steve

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  35. An Interested Party says:

    Maybe all these politicians holding their town hall meetings should just do what Bush did with his town halls…that would certainly make the meetings go smoother…

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  36. steve, well at least you are consistent generalizing from a small fringe group of nuts to condemn all of your opponents then as you are now.

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  37. G.A.Phillips says:

    Calling people who opposed the Iraq war traitors and America haters was the high road?

    Ya well, there was a lot of them,
    to act like it’s not the case, is a rule 5 attack……

    Question: were have all of these traitor posers gone too?
    We still over there.

    Maybe I’ll start calling you libs the 4and 5r’s…..

    Support the WAR ON TERRORISM EFFORT!!!!!!

    and

    FIGHT THE POWER!!!!!!!!

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  38. Franklin says:

    Note: this is what a town hall meeting is supposed to look like …

    Normal Rockwell’s ‘Freedom of Speech’

    Now you can resume your normally scheduled “you hypocrites did it first” argument.

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  39. denise says:

    “we should be able to agree that shutting down public debate on the matter in the guise of ‘being heard’ is not only unproductive but un-American,”

    How about shutting down debate by passing a bill in a huge hurry? Is that patriotic? Because that’s what Obama and Pelosi had hoped to do. The protesters are a big part of the reason that there’s any public debate at all.

    I agree with our host that the statement itself is impolitic, but not outrageous. I don’t have a problem with the idea that shutting down debate is un-American. I do think it’s astonishing that that Nancy Pelosi feels she can deliver that message with a straight face.

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  40. Mike P says:

    Funny how lots of folks here don’t seem to remember how anti-war demonstrators and Democratic politicians were called “traitors”, told that they hated America and wanted it to lose, etc. etc. And I’m not talking about the fringe Code Pinkers, I’m talking about a lot of folks who love their country who had their patriotism challenged (remember how a good portion of the last election involved trying to figure out what exactly constitutes the “real America)?

    Look, Pelosi and Hoyer were wrong to say that protesting at a political gathering is un-American, but the memories of many of the same folks now decrying this kind of thing are very short in a great many cases.

    People should be able to be heard, but that should involve an actual exchange of views, not a test of who can turn a town hall into a high school style pep rally by yelling the loudest.

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  41. Dave B says:

    Mike P: You are absolutely correct and have every right to your comments. What I would hope you can see is that the actual protests of these individuals is, for the most part, aimed at letting the politicians know that we know they’re full of sh.t and are using talking points to convince the masses to do something they aren’t willing to do themselves. No “dialogue” is needed or expected until they politicians admit that. If you had a child that was molested by a coach would you want to hear a league official giving a lecture on how you should support him because he’s offering equal playing time for your child? The same applies here. The “message” from most taxpayers is “We know you’re full of sh.t and don’t try to bullsh.t us.” After they get THAT message perhaps a more civil dialogue (like McCaskill) will take place.

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  42. G.A.Phillips says:

    (remember how a good portion of the last election involved trying to figure out what exactly constitutes the “real America)?

    Most of us were talking about the likes of code pink and a lot of the Democrat leaders who did this to undermine the war effort because of a want for political gain or to become fater and famous.

    But as always some refuse to see it when it happen right before their eyes…

    Of course you can be against any war, thats not what most of us said…

    What most of us said was, “stop undermining the war for political gain! It”s treason!” and It’s being used against our troops!

    Man a lot of you people act like these so called town halls are like what happens to a, and when a consecrative or a creationist or an anti jihadist tries to give an invited lecture on a college campus….

    Never here much about it but excuses from the left when that stuff happens…

    And what about Obama’s purple shirts? That were called in by who? Who beet the piss out of that black dude selling flags, not a peep?

    Don’t tread on me!!!!!!! (remember how a good portion of the last election involved trying to figure out what exactly constitutes the “real America)?

    It sure ain’t being a union thug and being called in to use violence!!!

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  43. Barry says:

    After 8 years of ‘free speech zones’ and ‘they not unamerican, just on the other side’, it’s really, really funny when right-wingers get all upset about misbehavior not being tolerated which would have gotten people thrown in prison in the glorious years of Bush.

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  44. This Guy says:

    Note: this is what a town hall meeting is supposed to look like …

    Norman Rockwell’s ‘Freedom of Speech’

    Now you can resume your normally scheduled “you hypocrites did it first” argument.

    How old are you? That’s not our reality, that’s an old picture (not a black or brown face to be seen), not our reality.

    Our reality is that a regular citizen has one or two chances a year to actually talk to their representatives. All other contact is pre-written letters, talking to uninformed staffers who give you the run-around, and requests for money. Everything a pol says is measured, scripted and scrubbed so they seem to be taking a position while giving themselves plenty of room to backtrack and sidestep their promises and pledges.

    These angry citizens are such because Congress and the Pres are marching forward regardless of a majority opposition to a national health care plan, and dismal approval ratings for Congress. They aren’t hearing the people, and so the people are yelling, because they are terrified.

    You can argue if it’s civilized, but if you are going that route, maybe you should change the name of the blog, because deriding these people for being mad as hell and not understanding the frustration that people feel when they are not being listened to by their reps in DC is the very definition of ‘INSIDE’ the beltway mentality. Call it what you will, but Revolting and protesting against an over-powering federal government is NOT un-American.

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  45. Pug says:

    As noted previously, I am not in favor of shouting people down or trying to silence anyone. But . . .

    There’s always a “but” in there, isn’t there?

    I’ve noticed these folks seem very upset to be called “un-American”, and rightly so. I disagree with Pelosi, though I do think she was referring to their tactics and not them, as was James.

    I’d like to quote our former President of the United States, though, just for the consideration of those who are so outraged now: “If the Democrats win, the terrorists win”, he said in 2006. You see, Democrats are on the side of the terrorists. Chew on that one for a minute all you “un-Americans” who so whole heartedly agreed with those tactics not very long ago.

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  46. Pug says:

    They aren’t hearing the people, and so the people are yelling, because they are terrified.

    They are hearing “the people”. We all heard the same people during the election when they were screaming “terrorist”, “Muslim” and “traitor”.

    The whole country heard you and then you lost . . . badly.

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  47. Barry — I call BS. Who got thrown in prison for protesting during the Bush years?

    Pug – Please source your quote. I have a feeling this is taken way out of context, but will be happy to denounce that statement by some unnamed former president if it is exactly as you have said. By the way, many of us not on your side aren’t all that fond of many things President Bush said and did — and said so repeatedly if you want to check the archives. How many things have you complained about President Obama doing thus far?

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  48. Furhead says:

    Note: this is what a town hall meeting is supposed to look like …

    Norman Rockwell’s ‘Freedom of Speech’

    Now you can resume your normally scheduled “you hypocrites did it first” argument.

    How old are you? That’s not our reality, that’s an old picture (not a black or brown face to be seen), not our reality.

    If you’re concerned with the race of everybody in that picture, I think you’re missing the point. The point seems to be, that people may disagree with the person standing, but they are listening respectively.

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  49. andy says:

    Barry — I call BS. Who got thrown in prison for protesting during the Bush years?

    Memories are short, aren’t they?

    Hundreds of people were arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention for protesting. They were herded into cages. 90% had the charges dropped.

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  50. This Guy says:

    The whole country heard you and then you lost . . . badly.

    Pug,
    I guess I am playing the Republican and you are playing the Democrat…okay, I can do that.

    Hate to burst your bubble but the Independents in this country are coming down on the other side of this debate too. Every major recent poll is showing Independents have a net negative on most measures of the plan (for example, 41% believe Obama’s plan will result in worse quality of care — NBC/WSJ July 24-27) and specifically the public option (42% in favor / 45% opposed — NBC/WSJ July 24-27). Both measures are in sharp decline.

    But, please ignore them, ignore all but the Democratic base and then 2012 will make 1994 look like a good year for the Democratic Party.

    Furhead, I am not missing the point I am making a point that others miss. This is an idea (a dated depiction of an America that does no longer exist), not a reality, in fact it probably never was a reality, at best it was an assumption. Rockwell painted a lot of pretty pictures that now hang in the West Wing, I’ve seen them, they are on the tour. Sure it would be great if that were the reality if we were all enlightened listeners who respected others thoughts at all times no matter how asinine, just like it would be great if Senators and Congressmen would carry out the will of the people, even when they’ve worked really hard and the people don’t like the result.

    Here’s the thing, there is a need for reform of the HC System, the voters obviously thought the Democrats had a better chance of doing it, or thought they would do it better. HOWEVER, what Congress has proposed is NOT siting well with the majority of Americans. This is what the American people are saying, “try again.” in a Norman Rockwell painting they would.

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  51. An Interested Party says:

    And what about Obama’s purple shirts? That were called in by who? Who beet the piss out of that black dude selling flags, not a peep?

    And it would appear that the “black dude” is trying to turn the alleged attack into an opportunity…maybe you will send in a donation…

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  52. Ok, Andy, please name one person that went to prison for protesting. Not violent acts, not vandalism, not trespassing, but protesting. Please cite the name, the indictment, the court were the case was adjudicated, and the sentence.

    Put up or shut up.

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  53. hln says:

    We must all be reminded that Nancy Pelosi would probably gladly name abortion as behavior befitting the label “American.”

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  54. The Doctor says:

    “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”
    That quote says nothing about a personal attack.

    There was no “go[ing] around calling their fellow countrymen” anything, as Dr. Joyner purports.

    We all know they were talking about first amendment rights, so please stop siding for the sake of it.

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  55. [...] Un-American (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

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  56. Joe R. says:

    Oh please. They can write an op-ed for USA Today and the president can preempt the top-rated show on TV. Shouted down, my backside. Passing the bill isn’t enough for them; they want us to like it, too.

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  57. [...] I’ve dubbed shouting down others’ free speech un-American. Twice. But evil?  [...]

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