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Merkley Gets Mugged in Madras

Sen. Jeff Merkley apparently got teabagged - uh, sandbagged - by right-wingers at his town hall meeting in Madras Sunday, as reported by Carla Axtman



Sen. Jeff Merkley apparently got teabagged - uh, sandbagged - by right-wingers at his town hall meeting in Madras Sunday, as reported by Carla Axtman of Blue Oregon.

"I spoke on Monday with Melissa Shapiro, a resident of Madras who attended the town hall," Axtman writes. "Melissa said that the turnout to the event was huge, much larger than anything she'd seen in previous Madras political meetings. Melissa said at first the questions were run of the mill, but quickly descended into right wing fringe land: 'Why aren't we closing our borders?' 'Why does Obama have so many "czars" and do we have to pay them?' 'And why are the czars making policy?' Melissa said the same guy who asked about the 'czars' also asked Merkley questions about Obama's citizenship. ...

"Shapiro told me that neither she nor her friend recognized more than 10 of the attendees. I'd heard this same report from other sources, which indicates that these teabagging folks were bused in from elsewhere."

Apparently the teabaggers - in alliance with the "birthers" (those who insist President Obama isn't really a native-born American citizen) and the "deathers" (those who believe Obama's health care plan is really a socialist plot to kill off old folks) - have been organizing to disrupt public meetings by Democratic senators and congressmen elsewhere in the country while they're home during the August recess. Among other places, they've shown up at meetings by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio.

The liberal blog Think Progress reported earlier this week that "the lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform" by packing and disrupting Democrats' meetings. Think Progress claims to have obtained a copy of an internal memo that advises participants to "Artificially Inflate Your Numbers," "Be Disruptive Early And Often," and "Try To Rattle" the representative.

Axtman says her friend Melissa Shapiro wanted to ask questions, but was intimidated by the teabaggers: "Melissa said that she was concerned that if she'd spoken up she'd have been booed or shouted down. 'If I'd have challenged one of the people who were there to disrupt, I felt it could have turned violent,' she said. 'I felt cheated because I couldn't ask my questions.'"

Goodness gracious, she might have been booed or shouted at - what a terrifying prospect!

C'mon, liberals - you gotta show more huevos than this! Fear and intimidation have always been the tactics that worked best for the brownshirt brigades, and if progressives don't want them to work this time they'd better grow a pair ... fast.

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