The Right Wingers Are More Organized on Health Reform? Give It a Rest Already!

by on September 2, 2009 · 26 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Health, Media, San Diego

Anna Daniels at the mike with her question for Rep Susan Davis at the Spring Valley Town Hall meeting, August 29, 2009.

It is beastly hot in my tiny house eight miles inland from Ocean Beach and I have just spent a number of hours culling through the news online and I am really really grumpy.  I’ve printed out a copy of Robert Reich’s recent posting The Guns of August: How the Republican Right Fired on Health Care.

Reich says that the “left has ideas and the right has discipline” and that Obama and progressives were “outmaneuvered” by this disciplined group.

Horse Pucky.  I had my daily dose of right wing “discipline” this morning, when I watched a youtube posting here provided by Doug Porter.  I watched it again this evening, and took notes this time.

Nothing like a whiff of napalm in the morning.  Take a look at this interview, without one word of commentary, from the Spring Valley Town Hall.  And keep in mind that  the one message from the left was “Health Care For All.”  I’d say that was a one beautiful righteous unified message.

The youtube interview began with white people shouting “Get a job.”  Before “Dirty Thieves” we got a white guy (actually they are all white women and men) talking about the hypothetical of going to Cuba and having to wait a year for tissue.

Then we segued into God will take care of health care & that the Israelites’ sandals held up for 40 years in the desert…  The USS [sic] constitution doesn’t have one little paragraph about health care.  The interviews were peppered with the terms radical, communist, Marxist, phony Messiah, Muslim, socialist, Hitler and Brown Shirts.  “ Where’s the housewives that baked cookies? “ and “I have a 19” TV that’s paid for.”  That was topped off by there will be restrictions on ammunition and water will be cut off to the Imperial Valley… That even though abortion isn’t in the bill, it’s really in the bill.

Do you REALLY call that disciplined? Organized?  How about mis-informed, racist, anti-historical and downright stupid?  Ugly stupid.  These are the very same people who voted against Obama and they LOST!   And now they are framing the health care debate?  Com’n folks- let’s call it for what it is.  This sad ass scenario has been played out across the country.  The left, either outnumbered, as blogger friend Dickie has written from Northern California, or clearly in the majority at Spring Valley and Joyce Beers here in San Diego, has had a unified message of “health care for all.”  We get it.

WE GET IT.  We are organized and we are more disciplined than the Senate of the United States.  It would be nice if our President would get it, because this really isn’t much fun, and my understanding is that our President, the guy I voted for, was in favor of Universal Health Care.

So why have the losers, the minority, been showing up at these town hall meetings and sucking up the media coverage and an inordinate amount of the national debate?

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COALITION?  This is of course code for why weren’t there a boat load of African Americans, Latinos and young people in those friggin hot town halls.  You all tell me.

So I’m going to that congressional send off rally this Thursday.  And I debated about what sign I would carry.  Although “Wingnutz,- a pre condition” appealed to me and made me laugh, I have decided upon “I voted for the Black Guy and I’m Not Sorry” as my sign.  (Thanx bodysurferbob) Seems to say it all.  Let’s put the 8oo pound gorilla right in the middle of the room.

My Beloved reminded me that if you want to talk about who is really organized and disciplined, it’s Big Pharma, The Insurance Lobby, Wall Street.   Kind of makes me grumpy all over again….

See you all on Thursday, September 3rd, 5pm at City Park, located on Broadway between 3rd and 4th street in Downtown San Diego.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

BillRayDrums September 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

The republican party has become a cult.


doug porter September 2, 2009 at 9:44 am

yay! anna, i love it when you write with such passion.


bodysurferbob September 2, 2009 at 9:44 am

anna, my sister, i also watched the same video. these people were not the leadership of that movement. these were the foot soldiers, these were not necessarily the organizers.


editor September 2, 2009 at 9:45 am

For those interested, Cong. Darrell Issa is holding a town hall meeting tonight, Wed Sept 2 in Vista. See our most recent post about this.


mr fresh September 2, 2009 at 10:00 am

here’s an associated press story about one of the companies funding the wingnuts:
WASHINGTON — Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drug maker, will pay a record $2.3 billion civil and criminal penalty over unlawful prescription drug promotions.

Announcing the settlement Wednesday, the Justice Department said that it included the largest criminal fine in U.S. history – $1.2 billion. The agreement also included a criminal forfeiture of $105 million.


Ron September 2, 2009 at 10:28 am


Me thinks you both right and wrong, sort of.

You are correct that the progressive community nationwide is very organized on the health care reform issue. And we are in the majority on the issue. And you are correct to point out that the rightwingers are not solely focused on that issue. They are going off in many different directions at the same time. But you are wrong to say that that is disorganized. Part of the strategy of the Big Corporate interests behind their “movement” is to whip up a lot of irrational emotional frenzy and DISTRACT from the health care debate. There is nothing disorganized about it.

Why, you ask, are the right wing lunatics getting such a disproportionate amount of the news coverage? Because the same corporate interests who now control the private health care and insurance industry also own most of the press and broadcast news organizations. That’s why. And that is why the left needs to focus energy on protesting against the corporate press, TV and radio news. It’s not objective reporting. It’s corporate censorship and propaganda.

And that is also why it is vital that the progressive community put energy into building alternative news and discussion media, like the OB Rag.


jon September 2, 2009 at 10:57 am

Great piece Anna. I am always inspired by your writing. I would also imagine that the right wing crazies are getting the bulk of the news coverage for the same reason the headlines are always full of stabbings and shootings and rapes and murders. Sensationalism. Saving a cat from a tree or serving food at a homeless shelter or cleaning up local beaches is all so BORING! So is a bunch of “peaceful” activists with a clear consice message that is in line with the majority. Who wants to watch that when we could watch a head on colission between freight trains packed with screaming women and children? It’s info-tainment for the masses. And the news organizations make a killing.


Frank Gormlie September 2, 2009 at 11:39 am

Anna, if you got rid of a few cats and a few bamboo patches, maybe you and your LOVED ONE would have more roooooommmmmmm. LOL


Wellescent Health Blog September 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm

It may be that Robert Reich thinks only of the corporate executives and wealthy when he speaks of the discipline of the Republican party. There is no doubt that these folks are on the ball and very organized. They also represent only a small portion of the party, but maybe in his mind, they are the relevant portion and the others are simply there to be led. An elitist mindset could explain the theory…


annagrace September 3, 2009 at 7:25 am

You are all absolutely correct- the organizing and the discipline is provided by the corporate interests and their lackey media outlets. They just wind up the “anxious and fearful” and turn ’em loose.

Still begs the question. What has happened to our coalition, here in San Diego and across the country?


nunya September 3, 2009 at 8:47 am

The media helps the rethugs.


Dave Gilbert September 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Nice work Anna! I have a friend that says, “he won’t become a Republican until he can afford to be one” ;)

I equate the GOP with viewing themselves as the wealth & power party. Threaten either of those 2 cornerstones and folks are in for a fight. Well, they’ve already lost the White House so it’s no surprise to me that they have circled their wagons to protect their bottom line. The ironic part is that they’ll spend, spend, spend to fight spending…there are a lot of pawns being played on this one.

In order to have a unified front to fight against that mentality, one must sincerely show the human side of what the GOP is actually fighting against, like the sick, elderly, poor & infirmed. While some use the tugging of the heartstrings to regularly raise funds for these folks, it’s true compassion for those less fortunate than us that is your biggest ally. It’s just harder to physically get some of these folks out and about to where they can show up to these Town Hall rallies and show the “me firsts” of this world the beauty of spreading the love.


Claz September 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm

So, basically, because the Right lost the election for Prez you think they should just all shut up. Essentially, the “losers, the minority” should stop coming out and standing up for whatever they think in forums of public debate. They should just pack it in and, I don’t know…evaporate and it seems you want this done because they disagree with you, or with Obama, or with the agenda of the Left.

If you don’t see anything wrong with the things that you are writing about the minority shutting up and just getting in line, then the history of this country, this continent, the purpose and design of democracy, and its goals, then you may want to step back for a moment, drop the pathos and stick to some logos. You have the former down, but the silence of minorities you are advocating cannot consistently be your true logical position.

But then again, based on the sign you say you will carry, I suppose that you think the best part about the current president is that he is black so I am not sure that you will understand the real human struggle that is at hand.


Frank Gormlie September 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm

claz, it’s not that the Left is upset with the Right because they won’t shut up, it’s because the Left is upset that the Right has shown that it will disrupt forums for public discourse on substantial issues that are held by Congressional reps. Stuff like “Death Panels” or that health reform funds abortions and health care for illegal immigrants – all wrong – were intentionally spread. And worse. Look what local radio head Rick Roberts says over the airwaves – he intentionally riles people up with falsehoods (the “czar” issue for example – totally a fraudulently trumped up issue – George W Bush had “czars” for chrissakes) and other misrepresentations that cloud and actually block public discourse among Americans on important issues.

I could go on. The Birthers – … no I won’t.

Don’t preach to us about the rights of the minority. The Left has been protecting the rights of minorities for decades. And under GWB Dems were minorities in three branches of government: the House, the Senate, the White House and the Supreme Court. Don’t talk to us about being minorities. During these past 8 long years your president of the Right rode rough shod over our rights – and we still haven’t gotten out from under the Bush cloud.


Claz September 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm

And you immediately assume that I am a Rightist and that GW was “my” President, when I have said nothing about my position what-so-ever.

In fact, if you read my “preaching”, I advocate neither side of any debate, but offer a critique on the rhetoric contained in the article.
Don’t preach to me about the merits of the Left and strawman my arguement: I am talking about the anti-democratic implications of undermining the minority’s right to speak simply because they are — shock of shocks — the minority as clearly stated in this article. I could care less about the particular arguments.

Radicals on both sides are and have been outspoken, confused, belligerent, and yet sometimes still poignant or even (rarely) correct in their public diatribes. And yet this article tells them to shut up because their side of the aisle has fewer members at the moment.
Yes, the Left has been protecting the rights of minorities for decades but the language contained in this post show that the author would only protect those minorities with whom she agrees, and I feel that is an affront to the very idea of democracy.


Frank Gormlie September 7, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Your strident defense of the Right who have now suddenly been place into the position of a “minority” in just 7 months, while being the “majority” for 8 years – and a lot longer if you want to get into it – without at the same time saying anything about the wrongs that have been dealt those by the Right during that time – speaks loudly about where you stand, my friend.

IF you had been at one of the recent town hall meetings, you would have seen whose rights were “undermined” – whose right to speak was anti-democratically abused. This author experienced one of those town hall meetings. She witnessed small mobs of the Right undermine her and others rights to discuss important issues. The article discusses how well the Right is organized versus the Left, but also is a reaction to the video that is partially the subject of the post – a video that recorded sights and sounds of people on the Right at one of these recent town hall gatherings. The rantings, captured on this video, show some of these individuals spouting unintelligible political offerings and other analysis that is historically offbase (equating “czars” and “marxists” for example).

You must see this post in its context. And it is an article written from experiencing the anti-democratic nature of the Right occurring within your country right now.


annagrace September 7, 2009 at 10:21 pm

The minority you are defending Claz is racist, ignorant and cruel. All minorities are not equal.

To the degree that a Black President of the United States has made these minorities “anxious and fearful,” I say Get over it.

Yeah- I voted for the Black guy…and still support him.


Claz September 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

A lot of them are. But again I have been straw-manned because I am not defending their or any position: I am defending the right of people to express their political position, no matter how crazy or how far left or right. Further, I feel that this expression is beneficial to us all because access to bad ideas helps us recognize them when we see them, and makes us more inclined to solidify the good ideas. The more the crazies talk, the more clearly people can see them for what they are. This is J.S. Mill. Marketplace of ideas. Fundamental to liberalism. Again, logos. The fact that you don’t like their ideas is evidence for the value of their expression. Do you think that these slobbering buffoons asking for birth certificates are actually convincing people who are not already on the bandwagon? If they are, they are in small numbers, and they are putting off far more than they gain.

If you support someone because they are black you are just as racist as the crazed minority you oppose. If you support someone who is black because they have good ideas, then you are backing him for the right reasons. If I were to write your sign, I would write: “I voted for the best guy for this country. And I’m not sorry.” His being black is less than inconsequential, and to highlight it only fuels the racial divide.
The way you have thus far represented yourself raises the obvious, but hopefully absurd, question: would you have voted for any black guy regardless of his character? But like I said before, you may be too entrenched to understand the bigger picture. Fortunately, it seems like the black guy in question has at least considered it.


bodysurferbob September 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

okay, how about my new T-shirt idea: “the best man for the job was also black – and I still support him.”


molly September 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Bodysb- How about “The best person for the job this time around was a man who was also black.”


Claz September 7, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Frank: I have moade no defense of the Right and so far I have said nothing about where I stand because where I stand is irrelevant. I am defending democracy and defending against censorship in the interest of the public good. I know you would like me to be a stereotypical Right winger, or maybe even just a moderate Righty, but unfortunately I am not. I am actually making just about as Liberal of a point as can be made: access to ideas, both good and bad, makes a better citizen. However, I understand how my defense of the minority could be construed as an attack in this context, especially when people are so attune to subversive agendas and double-speak in our political sphere. Regardless of the time they have had minority status, to silence any minority is undemocratic, illiberal, and plain old uncool. :)

Much of what I have seen in the media coverage of the attendees at town hall meetings has been atrocious. But we must recognize that this is how it comes across. The more these people radicalize themselves, and the further they push from the mean opinion of the population, the less likely they will be to gain political power. These crazies educate the middle about just how bad the radicals are and that is nothing short of a public service. Ultimately, the Republicans will not be able to maintain such radicals and win elections, so they will be forced to oust the crazies and start fresh with some good ideas — which would benefit everyone whether they win seats or not — or they will become irrelevant. Either way, getting them to shut up is not the answer, and if anything the crazies should come out in force instead of keeping hatred and irrationality bottled up and unchecked by society.


bodysurferbob September 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm

new T-shirt ideas: “the best person for president of america in 2008 was a black guy who was the best guy because he was black. and I voted for him, and oh, by the way, he won.”


annagrace September 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

You’ve been “straw manned” Claz? Did you watch the video? You want to talk straw manned?

I am surprised Claz that you didn’t pick up on the irony and shall I say “dark” humor underlying the statement “I voted for the Black guy,” which you labeled as racist. Do you think Swift’s “Modest Proposal” is about cannibalism?


Claz September 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Swift? Really? That is the reference? That I cannot understand sarcasm? Yes, I know that the sign is sarcastic and so do you and so will the audience and that is the joke. In all of its inflammatory, anticlimactic, gloating-at temporary-political-gains glory that that makes everybody hate each other.

Your words are condescending. I make arguments; you use my name for punctuation. Bye.


Frank Gormlie September 8, 2009 at 12:27 am

Claz, I’m glad you’re not a right-winger and I’m glad you’re looking out for democracy. But you aren’t appreciating the significance of the historic moment. Barack Obama won because he is black. And now there is a right-wing movement afoot to undo the Nov 2008 election. It is a racist movement, masquerading as anything to block anything Obama does. It is a movement that cannot and will not accept a black man as president.

This does not mean that Obama cannot be criticized. But when every little thing is politicized by the Right – as you have said – it is unacceptable to the rest of us.

I’m wondering whether you were as up in arms during the Bush administration as you seem to be now. Were you? If so, great! Keep it up, but understand the moment. If not, then you’re being hypocritical. And you have to ask yourself, why now, and why not earlier?


raksd September 8, 2009 at 12:30 am

Claz, seems to me you’re the one that’s straw-manning. You claim the author of the initial post holds the position that “because the Right lost the election for Prez [I] think they should just all shut up.” Excuse me, but I don’t see that in the original piece at all. What I read was an article challenging the assumption that the folks disrupting townhall meetings have “outmaneuvered” health care reform advocates because the disrupters are organized. I read an article about who’s organized and who’s not; who’s getting media coverage; whether the coverage is due to a group’s discipline; and that tangentially raises the question that as organized as the health reform group is, why does it still lack voices from many constituent groups. Which passage in the post gave you the idea that the author holds the position that you claim she does? Which section makes you believe that she is advocating “the minority shutting up and getting in line”?
Another strawman in your later post as well: “If you support someone because they are black …” I think that’s a stretch to get to that assumption from the simple statement “I voted for the Black Guy …” There are many ways of distinguishing among the candidates in this last election, including party affiliation (the Democrat, the Republican), region (the guy from Illinois, the guy from Arizona), height (the tall guy), military service (the vet); but I don’t assume that the distinguishing characteristic is presented as a reason for supporting the candidate. I do think this choice of how to describe the candidate is significant, though, for a certain element of the electorate. I think it’s intended to highlight that there are some folks out there for whom the idea of a black president makes them “anxious and fearful”.


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