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Austin Health Care Rally; Largest in the Country

by: David Kobierowski

Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 10:25 PM CDT

Obama For America - Austin, Texans for Obama, the TCDP, numerous local elected officials, and many other organizations and over 562 people officially enjoyed the "largest OFA Health Care Rally in the country today".  Local news reported "about 1,000 people".

But Per Mike Litt, OFA-Austin, the official count for sign-ins was 562.  (We had clip boards up front for them to sign as they stormed into the hall).

562 is a very conservative estimate.  Since a fair amout of folks did not sign-in.  (I personally witnessed a number of folks walk in without signing up).  We probably had nearly 900 people total if you count everyone, including those in the parking lot that didn't come inside.

Thank you to everyone for being part of history today.  And thank you for everyone working to get the word out in such a short notice. Y'all know who you are. This all happened in about a week.  Super job.

Overall, everyone appeared civil.  I was impressed that citizens on our side (Obama side) kept our cool and took the higher road, even when challenged by the other side.

The "other side" included about 40 people that mostly lined the other side of Lavaca with signs and cheering against "Obama Care".  

As for the other side, I feel they're doing themselves a disservice by crashing our party.  This is why:

- Their arguments are weak and often don't make much sense.
- They don't have an alternative for reform. (I purposely stuck around for another 1/2 hour after the event, and talked with over 15 of them.  I put myself in their shoes and tried to see it from their side.  None of them could offer an alternative.  They only wanted to stop Obama.  I just walked away wondering what the heck they were trying to accomplish.

TXCN News (KVUE's top story this evening) quoted an individual opposed to Obama's plan at the rally saying

..."Mark Keedy is against the current plan. He believes if it passes everyone will get substandard care.  

"There are always going to be people who need help," he said.  "We'll always be here to help those people, but for everyone who says they need help there maybe a way for them to get help without this type of radical change."

Well, so what's the alternative???

- We outnumbered them by such a huge number that it was almost embarrassing for the other side.
- They crashed our party.  Wedding crashers don't get a lot of respect by anyone.
- More and more Republicans and Independents in TX are joining us in this effort each day with about 70% in agreement that we need to invest in Health Care Reform.

I'd like to know how y'all feel about the "political wedding crashing" effort in general.  (no need to call them the name that starts with a "T", as they clearly don't like it).  

Please share. Do you feel this is helping their effort or not? Not just for Health Care, but for any topic or event, has our side or their side had any postive consequences resulting from the practice of crashing the other side's event(s)?  Why don't they host their own event?  Why crash ours?  Do we ever crash their events?

David Kobierowski
Texans For Obama


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That was some rally! (0.00 / 0)
I'm so glad Mr. iko and I went.
What's with not calling them teabaggers, though? I sure don't like them calling my president a communist and a traitor, and that makes me not care a bit what they like or don't like.
Their first little outing clearly had plenty of astroturf help on the organizing, all over the country. Now, not so much, and they can't organize their way out of a paper bag. What is left is showing up at progressive events and standing around cooking themselves in the sun and saying "No!"

It doesn't advance our cause by calling them Teabaggers (0.00 / 0)

Some GOP individuals were proud of the name during their initial Tea Parties, but it's clear from folks at today's Austin rally that many Repubs take offense to it.

It brings the argument down to their pathetic level.  They call us socialists or communists and we fire back with a name to call them.  

I'd rather compete by debating Repubs on issues and policy where we will bury them!  They have practically nothing...no respectable argument or alternative to bring to the table.

Quick story: a local news guy was interviewing me at the end of the rally and a Repub walked up and started complaining about the government.  The news guy and I initially respectfully listened and after the Repub was done we just shook our heads and said "WTF".  Nothing the Repub said made sense.  

We don't need to lower ourselves down to their level. We can win IF we frame this debate with real issues and policy.  

The numbers are on our side.  Take the higher road.  

We'll kick their tails in a civil debate.

Thx for contributing!


They take offense to it (5.00 / 1)
because somebody or other pointed out to them what "teabagging" means. Do they get to backpedal now on what they were calling themselves before that, a mere few weeks ago?
Please do not kid yourself that Republicans are somehow eager to take the high road in this or any other public debate.
If they wanted a civil debate, would vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin have not denounced the Republican voters in her rally crowds who were screaming "Kill him!" in reference to the candidate who is now our president, Barack Obama? If the Republicans wanted civil debate on any current political issue, would they not be dissociating themselves now from the idiotic claims that Barack Obama is not a natural-born American citizen?
A civil debate requires two sides offering civility. Until the Republicans start treating President Barack Obama with a reasonable measure of respect, I say they deserve no civility from Democrats.  

[ Parent ]
Sidewalk and park were very different (0.00 / 0)
Things were pretty civil during the event at the AFL-CIO. The Republicans (more than 40, btw) were waving signs and chanting slogans on one side of the street, and a bunch of us were waving signs and chanting slogans on the other side. (Most of our crowd was either inside or closer to the building, listening to speeches and seeking shade). A few of them came across and tried to argue, and it mostly was polite.

That changed when the speeches ended and we marched down the street to the park. The Republicans followed us, and tried to disrupt our Texas photo shoot, standing in the middle of our formation and waving signs that said things like "Obama Marxist Traitor". With no police in sight, I'm surprised that there wasn't a brawl.

Grow up, ditto-heads! Of course you've got a right to your own demonstration, but you don't have the right to disrupt ours.

As for David's general question, counter-demonstrations are fair game, and can sometimes be effective, especially if the counter-demonstration outnumbers the regular demonstration. But heckling and disrupting somebody else's attempts at free speech almost NEVER accomplish anything -- they just make the hecklers look bad.  

Hate to Give Them Credit but.... (0.00 / 0)
When you watch the local news reports about the rally, most of them were so exremely short the teabag crowd ended up getting almost equal time (or even more than that in one case). Very few of our elected officials were quoted - meanwhile the biker guy wearing the US flag headband was shown numerous times in the same report - screaming about defending "the best health care system in the world!"

News operations are broke these days. They take the easy way out. The "money shot" of two people screaming at one another is really all they need. There really isn't much reporting going on...For example, I didn't see one report mention that we substantially outnumbered them or any shots of some of their more ridiculous signs (the one with the swastika comes to mind). Doing so would have given people a sense of what really happened.

I did like the report on KUT - where a woman is going off on how Obama supporters haven't read the reform bill, but when questioned the woman had to admit that she herself hadn't read it. "Well, no I haven't read it...but I do wath the news late at night!"

Here is the alternative plan asked for: (0.00 / 0)
• Give Americans control over their health care dollar via tax credits and deductions (HR 1495).

• Empower doctors by softening antitrust law restrictions on health care professionals when they negotiate with insurers and medical providers. (Our current system gives drug companies and corporate interests all the power.)

• Protect privacy rights by allowing patients and physicians to opt-out of any government-mandated or funded system of electronic health care records.

• Repeal the federal law creating a "unique patient identifier" (HR 2630).

• Protect Americans from mandatory health insurance (HR 2629). (Do not force Americans to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan, or impose fines or tax increases on individuals for failure to purchase health insurance, or condition the receipt of any government benefit on the purchase or maintenance of health insurance.)

• Do not raise taxes on any American.


Since the inception of managed care in the 1970s, excessive regulation and corporatism have damaged the patient-doctor relationship and driven up consumer costs. The problems we see today are the result of a collusion between big government and big business, not of market failure, and it is critical that instead of moving toward even more government and less freedom, America enact the right reforms to empower consumers and doctors.

Ron Paul Patriot (0.00 / 0)
Do you have health insurance? Are you wealthy? Do you have children? A family? A job that provides your health insurance? Have you needed health care for a health issue in recent years?

I certainly agree that drug companies and corporations have way too much power. But it's been built into our system:

Empower doctors by softening antitrust law restrictions on health care professionals when they negotiate with insurers and medical providers. (Our current system gives drug companies and corporate interests all the power.)

But it didn't get there overnight. All of this got screwed up when managed care was first imagined...and you may know the history of it. Another famous Republican got the ball rolling.

It was all about profit
for corporations even though it was never presented that way. And that was the point.


  • John D. Ehrlichman: "On the ... on the health business ..."

  • President Nixon: "Yeah."

  • Ehrlichman: "... we have now narrowed down the vice president's problems on this thing to one issue and that is whether we should include these health maintenance organizations like Edgar Kaiser's Permanente thing. The vice president just cannot see it. We tried 15 ways from Friday to explain it to him and then help him to understand it. He finally says, 'Well, I don't think they'll work, but if the President thinks it's a good idea, I'll support him a hundred percent.'"

  •  President Nixon: "Well, what's ... what's the judgment?"

  • Ehrlichman: "Well, everybody else's judgment very strongly is that we go with it."

  • President Nixon: "All right."

  • Ehrlichman: "And, uh, uh, he's the one holdout that we have in the whole office."

  • President Nixon: "Say that I ... I ... I'd tell him I have doubts about it, but I think that it's, uh, now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I'm not to keen on any of these damn medical programs."

  • Ehrlichman: "This, uh, let me, let me tell you how I am ..."

  • President Nixon: [Unclear.]

  • Ehrlichman: "This ... this is a ..."

  • President Nixon: "I don't [unclear] ..."

  • Ehrlichman: "... private enterprise one."

  • President Nixon: "Well, that appeals to me."

  • Ehrlichman: "Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can ... the reason he can do it ... I had Edgar Kaiser come in ... talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because ..."

  • President Nixon: [Unclear.]

  • Ehrlichman: "... the less care they give them, the more money they make."

  • President Nixon: "Fine." [Unclear.]

  • Ehrlichman: [Unclear] "... and the incentives run the right way."

  • President Nixon: "Not bad."

And this, too:

Critics have also accused Kaiser of exploiting patients for medical experiments. From 1989 to 1991, Kaiser along with the L.A. County Department of Health and the CDC, injected over 700 mostly minority babies with unlicensed experimental vaccines with fraudulently-obtained consent from the parents. Kaiser uses information from all patients to build proprietary population-management databases. [emphasis added.]

We need to "fix" health care in our country. It has been screwed up way too long.

[ Parent ]
Link (0.00 / 0)
didn't work, but this should be better.

[ Parent ]
Corporations too much power... (0.00 / 0)

Whether we're on the right or left, many of us agree that Corporations have too much unchecked power.

And more and more are agreeing that the for-profit Health Care model is probably not ever going to work.  

Interesting string above on Nixon.  I recall some of that from the Sicko movie.

I think the idea of "Insurance Company Reform" (as opposed to "Health Care Reform") also appeals to most, whether on right or the left.

Thx for the info, and keep us updated.


[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
it was in "Sicko." I remembered this particular link from a blogger 2 years ago somewhere during the discussion about this part of the movie. It's a movie that everyone should see. Of course, they (not necessarily the Ron Paul people) have been brainwashed to believe that Michael Moore is a communist/socialist/communist. Thanks for this discussion.

[ Parent ]
Thx Ron Paul Patriot for outlining alternative(s) (0.00 / 0)

As proposed, the Reform Bill in Congress will allow us to have a choice and keep our own private plan of we decide to.  (I'm referring to your #5).

The "public option" is only expected to include 4% of Americans.  By their choice.

How are you proposing paying for the tax credits and deductions(your 1st bullet) if you're "not raising taxes on any American"?

What about the 32% of administrative fees that go to the cost of Health Care.  Obama wants to eliminate a lot of that.  Will your plan eliminate it?  That's where most of the cost savings are coming from.  

Is this going to help the over 25% of Texans (5.5M) that don't have Health Care?

How much is this plan going to cost each American to pay for Health Care?  Right now, families can't afford it.  So is this going to dramatically lower the rates we have to pay and provide free Health Care like most other industrialized countries offer?

Thx again for providing this...this is the kind of discussion I wish we could have had with individuals on Saturday.  

Again, overall I was impressed by the way eveyone acted.  Yes, I was in the middle of the picture at the park and I did see two incidents, but they were minor.


I called 'em "the box turtle brigade..." (0.00 / 0)
in my diary at Daily Kos:

Dallas health care rally: Move-On vs. the Box Turtle Brigade

That's probably not helpful, either, but it sure felt good to write a humorous diary and get it out of my system!

An interesting visual from the San Antonio Rally last Thursday (0.00 / 0)
We did't have near the numbers Austin had or as disparate a difference, but then y'all are Austin and we're San Antonio.  What I wanted to share though was a picture I took of two "teabaggers" with separate signs right next to each other.  One sign didn't want Obama's Commie healthcare and the one right next to it didn't want Fascist healthcare.  I did a double take and then couldn't stop laughing.  I guess that's what a FOX education gives one...LOL  Is there a way to post a picture on BOR?

The Texas Maddog Grandma on a rampage against the Extreme Right NeoCons from the White House down to the local school board

Madewar in San Antonio... (0.00 / 0)

Great to hear you were part of the San Antonio rally.

How many people were there?  Roughly, what were the #'s for each side?

Try to copy/paste the picture into the post.  If that does not work, I'm sure one of the BOR writers can help you...

BOR Writers?  Any recommendations?


[ Parent ]
SA Rally Count (0.00 / 0)
There were about 50 to 75 on our side and maybe 25 on the Teabagger side.  Now I will try the copy and paste you suggested...  Hmm... won't let me paste.  I'll try sending the picture to Matt

The Texas Maddog Grandma on a rampage against the Extreme Right NeoCons from the White House down to the local school board

[ Parent ]
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