Death threats. Nazi signs. Hanging a Congressman in effigy. Welcome to the Tea Party.
It's no secret -- Republicans want health care to fail. Across the country, Republican leaders are encouraging their supporters to be afraid and be angry. Texas Senator John Cornyn straight-out said as much in The Hill:
"Fear, I would say, precedes anger, and I think there are a lot of people who tell me they are scared of what they see coming out of Washington in terms of spending and the debt and muscular federal intervention on everything from financial institutions to healthcare,” Cornyn said. “It’s almost like a part of the grieving process.” [...]
“No one would have ever thought six months ago we would be where we are today. I see real opportunities for us,” Cornyn said at a meeting with reporters. “2010 did not look like it was going to be a particularly friendly year for us.”
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."
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.”
What are the consequences stoking such unbridled anger and hatred for health care? How do you make them afraid? What is it that Republicans are willing to do, exactly, to incite this fear and anger among there suporters?
Well, here's one example --
"Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate" -- Republican radio host, Rush Limbaugh: (Source)
A young man protests at the Austin health care rally. Photo courtesy of Paul Rhea.
And here's another one:
"This health care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America...If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him," he said. -- RepublicanSenator Jim DeMint: (Source)
Effigy of a Democratic Congressman in Maryland (Source)
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The Democratic National Committee released this ad, highlighting the anarchy of the far-right:
The most important thing for Democrats to do, right now, is try to maintain a civil tone and document any protests at town halls.