Wow.

Go over to the SEIU blog, and read the post calling for greater civility in the townhall discussions on healthcare.

Then scroll right down and read the comments:

SEIU and ACORN are also contributing to the mayhem at these town hall meetings. I can’t wait to we have ours here and see how many of you, from out of town are in attendance.

I am a Democrat and worked on the Obama campaign in Hollywood, Florida for 4 months with SEIU. I am not a radical, belong to any radical organization or belong to any Republican organization. I just disagree with it, plain and simple. Not everyone is a radical or a naysayer for disagreeing with this and by labeling people, SEIU is lowering themselves to the level of these radicals and naysayers.

From a former employee of Local 11 (now 32bj), Miami, Florida

Former employee of Florida Public Services Union

Former employee of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida who lost their job fighting to support the janitors and landscapers attempting to organize.

Maybe there’s something to this whole ‘social media transparency’ thing.
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11 thoughts on “Wow.”

  1. You know, I like schaadenfreude as much as the next guy, and probably quite a bit more. I’ve been watching Democrat antics trough the Bush years– constant disruptive protests, loud-mouthed, ungraceful stunts, smear campaigns, whisper campaigns, outright deceit and lies (for whatever reason, the “Bush is going to re-institute the Draft,” and “Bush is going to bomb Iran,” stick both in my mind and in my craw)– with growing distaste.

    And I’m certainly not a fan of government healthcare, nor the plans I’ve seen floated.

    So I should be smirking to see Republicans copying some of those tactics. Especially the constant disruptive protests. I remember thinking, even just five years ago, that some good old Republican protests would amuse me. I’d have a rejoinder to smug Republicans saying, “We don’t protest because we’re all busy at our jobs!” and I’d get to watch Democrats explain why dissent was no longer the highest form of patriotism.

    But really? All it makes me feel now is sad. Sad that people are so willing to be deceived and take part in deception, sad that people are not just willing but eager to take up the weapons they’ve previously condemned morally, sad that most people’s need to be part of a group overrides their basic sense of self-reflection and consistency.

    But still annoyed, also, at people like Pearlstein, who glibly call for civil society in nearly the same breath as he accuses dissenters of political terrorism.

  2. So there’s no room in your world for honest disagreement with the O, Marcus? No dissent that isn’t due to deception? No protester that’s there because of self-reflection, not just tagging along with a group?

    Believe in democracy much?

  3. Marcus –
    I’d have a rejoinder to smug Republicans saying, “We don’t protest because we’re all busy at our jobs!”

    Aside from the millions of Republicans who had jobs when Bush was President but don’t now that the unemployment rate has doubled, you mean. I don’t know what ‘tactics’ Republicans are supposed to be employing. You don’t say, and there’s certainly no evidence of underhanded Republican tactics at AL’s link. SEIU (the Stimulate Emergency Injuries Union) couldn’t even find a minute of video showing what monsters their opponents. Instead, as comments by their own members show, they put up a video of their own guys attacking somebody else as evidence that Republicans are out of control.

  4. Annoyed, too, that you can see a union member assault one of the people at the St. Louis townhall, in the SEIU’s own video. Pleased at the reaction this gets from the public, though, which is something new. The whole transparency aspect is going to be interesting as it plays itself out.

    Having said that, my prediction is that we’re going to see a lot more edited/falsified media in response. There’s nothing in today’s politics, anywhere on the spectrum, that will deter this, and if done well it’s difficult to catch.

    Which leads to M.V.’s point. I wish I could say I was happier with the GOP as a whole Certainly, the idiocy over Obama’s place of birth sticks in my craw. And as alarming as the whole “end of life counseling” thing is, comparisons to Hitler sound silly to people and need to invoke Godwin’s Law. Describing the program itself is creepy enough, and people will get it without making stupid comparisons. Meanwhile, all I’m hearing s “socialist takeover of 1/5 of the national economy.” Which is fine, but I’d like to hear something beyond that.

    The viral poster comparisons to The Joker, on the other hand, are funny…

    I’m much happier with Sen. “Waterloo” DeMint, who has put a lot of concrete reform proposals forward over the past few years. If the GOP can turn the long hot summer into a way of building support for key changes, while killing Obama’s terrible combination of “we’ll help you die” and gift-wrapped captive audience for insurance companies, I’d be pleased.

    There’s excellent work and concrete proposals out there from organizations like “Physicians for Reform”:http://www.physiciansforreform.org/ – it’s is getting lost in that shuffle, and it’s too bad.

  5. the idiocy over Obama’s place of birth

    Oh, right. Forgot about that one. I’m convinced by Obama’s defenders, who tell me that he’s keeping the long form from the public for no good reason. It could be that after hiding his college transcripts, law firm billing records, state Senate meeting records, and the nature of so many of his radical friendships, he just hides stuff from the public out of force of habit.

  6. Comments regarding Obama’s place of birth are not germane to the topic of this thread. I’ve said my bit, bgates said his, and it’s a closed subject.

    Further discussion will result in removal of the comments containing it.

  7. SEIU is doubling down on their claim that they were attacked. Now they claim (in the post after this one) that the SEIU reverend has a “broken and dislocated” shoulder. Maybe I’ll see him on Olbermann with a shoulder cast. Maybe I won’t.

    “Note this additional footage from FOX St. Louis.”:http://www.fox2now.com/ktvi-russ-carnahan-town-hall-folo-080709,0,712936.story The police very aggressively cleared the scene after the arrests, and a reporter got arrested for trying to linger. Looks a little high-handed to me.

  8. Hey, Tim?

    I believe in democracy just fine.

    I also believe that hypocrisy exists, and I’ll call it when I see it. And when Republicans of my experience pour scorn not just on the topics of protest, but on the tactic of vocal street protest itself and then go out and do just that when political fortunes change, I’ll call it that. Likewise when Republicans decry all attempts to put teeth into Senatorial confirmation hearings under a Republican President, then go obstructionist under a Democrat, as though the Administration change flips their entire political philosophy of governance.

    Just like I’ll call it hypocrisy when Democrats of experience go from “protest is the highest form of patriotism” to equating protest with terrorism or racism.

    Some people, Tim, really have no principles, whether they’re just naively caught up in the team-mentality of modern two-party politics at the base of the pyramid, or are actively manipulative schemers near the top. And when staunch Republicans defend Republican antics only, while staunch Democrats defend Democrat antics only, you will perhaps understand why I look at most of the system with a very jaundiced eye.

    So I guess what I’m saying, Tim, is that while people may have a legal right to be unprincipled hypocrites under our great system of democracy, they don’t have any damn right to my personal respect. They can get that the old fashioned way: by earning it.

  9. You don’t seem to leave much, if any, room for actual actions from conviction rather than top down cynical direction, Marcus.

    So I’m a parrot, er hypocrite, for the Republican bigwigs when I go to a ‘tea party’ on my own hook because I believe the government is already too large and intrusive. (I have, three times, and have yet to get my VRWC badge or secret handshake.)

    By the same token I guess you must be a moby, er hypocrite, for the Democrat apparatchiki because you’re repeating their talking points slandering the current protesters as just tools. (You are.)

    See how much fun, and how corrosive, broad brush accusations of bad faith are?

  10. First, Tim, no one’s personally accused you of anything, in this discussion. You, on the other hand, came out of the gate swinging with the sort of classy, non-sequitur rhetoric I haven’t seen since the September Wars of USENET (as though my thinking many Republicans and Democrats are un-reflective twerps is somehow a threat to democracy– democracy itself!)

    Second, Tim, yes, there is some small amount of room in my philosophy for self-reflection, but I see precious little evidence of it these days. Instead, what I see are Republicans mocking and deriding community-organized protests during their Administration, then turning around in record time and supporting them. I see the inverse flip-flop from the Democrats at the same time. I see liberals supporting loud, raucous, “I’ll make it impossible for you to speak and defend it by invoking my freedom of speech,” style protests during the Bush years, while Republicans howled and condemned the tactic. Now I see conservatives protesting in the same fashion during the Obama administration, while Democrats howl and condemn the practice.

    I see both sides flip-flopping on the use and propriety of the filibuster rules correlating nicely on who has how many votes in the Senate. I see both sides flip-flopping on the nature of the advice and consent of the Senate in Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings, again correlating nicely with who is in charge of the Administration.

    And when I see studies like “this”:http://www.themonkeycage.org/2009/06/partisan_bias_in_evaluations_o.html and polls like “this”:http://www.gallup.com/poll/117700/Republicans-Democrats-Swap-Views-Bernanke.aspx?CSTS=alert backing up my instincts and observations about this sort of partisan-led flip-flopping– hell, when I see good physical science like “this”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2007/08/the_political_brain_by_drew_westen.html (I link to a book review, so you can read it, but the research was originally published in MIT’s Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience) well, yeah, I’m gonna keep my healthy dose of skepticism. Individuals can change their opinions over time, but when I see a stampeding sea changes coming on the heels of political power transfers in both directions then the simplest observation is likely the best. It’s not everyone, of course. Some people are at least consistent in their beliefs, but still all too willing to tolerate or even defend bad behavior and convenient hypocrisy… as long as its for their team. So anyone running along with the stampede will have to distinguish themselves before I respect their opinion.

    If that offends your delicate sensibilities, that’s just too bad.

    Third, Tim, you can have whatever last word in this discussion you think is worth having.

  11. That many Democrats and Republicans fit Marcus’ description is beyond disagreement. There seem to be 10-15% on either side that can and will justify any tactic by their fixed beliefs.

    But does that equate to “_most_ people’s need to be part of a group overrides their basic sense of self-reflection and consistency”? (italics mine.) If there is not some portion of the center that will at least look to facts and issues, then the democracy is indeed in trouble.

    Tarring anyone expressing their views publicly as necessarily part of one or the other partisan pack is to simply deny the possibility that the polity can be convinced by argument or evidence. If there’s not that possibility, then all that is left is faction. Bloody history has shown just where that, joined with unlimited state power, ends up.

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