Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
August 8, 2009

Wingers “Speaking Out”

Michigan-health-care-forum-.jpg

A week after these incidents began, I’m glad to see the NYT finally documenting organized right wing efforts to subvert public health care forums.

Beware, however, the instinct to soft peddle these efforts as evidenced by the caption above. Mr. Thompson, with his face screwed up and his finger jutting menacingly at this meeting with Rep. Dingell is not “speaking out.” What he’s doing is raging.

And then, I hope that’s not his kid—-

Update 12:50 am PST: Why do people follow this site as much for the comments as the posts themselves? From the discussion thread below, BAGreader vicki catches still one more element. She writes:

In the background is that photo of Obama with the little Hitler moustache. I guess the NYT failed to document that?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p00e5523476cc8834 DennisQ

    This is another miscalculation by America’s increasingly-desparate right wing. As a strategy, it has very little chance of derailing much-needed health care reform. Perhaps the organizers are tapping into a need to express rage over losing top dog status.
    These mobs are so angry that it goes beyond a mere policy dispute. They don’t like the whole direction of things. Bush and Cheney have been driven into seclusion, and traditional underdogs are not only in power, they are moving ahead with an agenda.
    What are we looking at here – the alienation of the comfortable? None of the disrupters will be significantly worse off when health care reform goes through. Their crazy energy has to come from someplace else. Racism?

  • vicki

    In the background is that photo of Obama with the little Hitler moustache. I guess the NYT failed to document that?

  • j

    Yep Vicki,
    This image is all about “The Background”

  • http://profile.typepad.com/evilpoet EvilPoet

    Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both. -Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

  • ui

    The problem is that some people come to the meetings with concerns and it’s difficult for elected politicians to start accusing people who may be their constituents of disrupting things.
    So we get Democratic politicians making excuses for the ragers and it doesn’t help anything because they are not legitimate protesters but perpetually angry people kept at a high state of hysteria by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. The Right is once again wrapping itself in the constitution to trample all over democracy. 70 million Americans voted for health care reform when we voted for Obama. We won that election by a large popular vote margin and these people are hijacking the rest of us.
    It’s gone beyond anything I’ve seen since Civil Rights and trying to integrate schools without a civil war. The right apparently wants another civil war, but they need to be careful what they wish for – they are a minority.

  • Tena

    My name got erased from the box here and I just noticed it – my comments have been posting with “ui” on them instead of “Tena”. Sorry I didn’t notice and fix it sooner.

  • Jeff
  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    It’s interesting that you all can’t conceive of any one objecting to current White House policies except because they’re “right wingers”. It couldn’t possibly be because these people feel betrayed by a President who ran on a campaign of centrism but is governing far to the left? And of course, it was President Obama who said ‘the time for talking is over’.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    AOG, Obama is a centrist. If you can’t get that, you’re a right winger.

  • Cyranetta

    From a strictly visual standpoint the town hall meeting disrupters increasingly seem to resemble bar bouncers, all the better to bully. I can’t say whether this is a true change of personnel or a media framing, but it was something I noticed.

  • Rewind

    um…there’s a serious lack of peripheral vision for anyone to descibe your President as ‘far left’.
    As everyone else on the planet knows, YOU DON’T GET ALLOWED TO BE POTUS IF YOU’RE FAR LEFT ON THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. DOES NOT HAPPEN.
    For many Canadians, it’s astonishing that anyone would say no to single payer health care. Canadian Health care ain’t perfect, but I’ve NEVER heard of anyone being turned away untreated for inability to pay. Your country has how many MILLIONS of un-insured people? Do yourself a favour – turn of the insane TV, get a pen-pal and find out what’s really going on around planet earth. Not as scary ooga booga as some would have you think.

  • jmac

    AOG – Obama was clear on his health care in the primaries – he’s for the insurance companies and there’s nothing “left” about that. He’s taking away the odd-man-out in the Republican party – business – and leaving the religious right and the south. Scary for those of us who don’t want the blue dogs to dominate the party.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/stevelaudig stevelaudig

    Dolchstoßlegende and freikorps, 90 years later. “White world” has crumbled for them, it is just sinking in that they have an person of color as “their” president, but they’ll never accept it and it’s not their “fault” they do. It’s almost as if the witch, red-baiting, communist, hysteria season has returned. It’s about time isn’t it? 1919; 1950s, 2000s. Bush warmed it up with the “Crusades” and “muslims” as the new “n*s” But if it wasn’t “health insurance” it would be something else that would get them [white privilege types; such as the Paisley Protestants in Northern Ireland and the Afrikaaner/Boers] up on their hind legs snarling. Where is Cheney these days of madness?

  • felecia

    from a black female point of view, i see this picture and the videos and wonder how can this not be an issue of race? the anger on the faces of the protesters is hate. i have a job and health insurance and obamas/the dems plan does not scare me. why should it make me afraid and angry like these people. it makes no sense to me except to think that there is something else behind the anger. i am stating this to the people who say that it is not about race.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    Yes, that’s what he said during the campaign which is precisely my point. He ran on a centrist platform and is now governing on a leftist platform. As Obama himself has noted previously in public statements, the “public option” of his health care restructing is simply the first step toward single payer, which will result in the elimination of health insurance companies. As has been noted by many, all Obama statements come with an expiration date. How’s that Guantanamo shutdown going? No more signing statements? Tax cuts? Holding down government spending? Government transparency? 5 day review of legislation before signing?
    Oh, and he’s getting along so well with the blue dog Congressmen – that’s how he got everything passed before the August recesss, right? Since the Democratic Party has a stong majority in the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, there’s absolutely no way the GOP can obstruct any legislation.
    P.S. to rewind: I stopped watching television over a decade ago. It is interesting to see what kind of rational, evidence based style of discussion you use.

  • http://www.victorfitzsimons.net Victor F

    these are clearly people who would never have voted for Obama in the first place. Witness the excessive use of Godwin at these protests. Witness their drowning out of all attempts at discussion with jeers and shouting. Do you really believe these people even gave Obama a chance to lead? They were the ones sitting in their rooms since election day alternating between seething anger and self-pity as they took all their advice from the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Savage and Hannity.
    I feel sorry for these people, really. They’re acting against their own self-interest. They’re pawns for the corporations and they don’t even know it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    these are clearly people who would never have voted for Obama in the first place
    On what basis do you make that claim? I am a bit disturbed that you’ve been peeking in their windows, as otherwise how would you know how they’ve been seething and self-pitying, and what they’ve been watching on TV.
    Witness the excessive use of Godwin at these protests. Witness their drowning out of all attempts at discussion with jeers and shouting.
    They are much better behaved than the “anti-war” protestors. One need only contrast the difference between how Bush treated Cindy Sheehan vs. how Obama treats those who dissent against him to see who’s really trying to stifle debate.
    They’re acting against their own self-interest. They’re pawns for the corporations and they don’t even know it.
    Yes, they can’t possibly have a validly different opinion from you. They must have false consciousness. That would make debate with them pointless, leading us back to wondering just who it is who is trying to shut down debate.

  • http://www.victorfitzsimons.net Victor F

    if your definition of “better behaved” is shouting in an open forum so that nobody can discuss an issue, then you’ve got one weird definition of “good behavior.” But, hey, it’s your world, boss.
    If they had an opinion other than “Obama is a fascist,” I’d like to hear it. There’s no debate going on, they’re not making any points. They’re showing up and being obnoxious. But, again, if that’s your definition of “valid opinion,” well, it’s your world, boss.
    Oh, and tell me: how’re those wars working out for you? Peace and prosperity in the Middle East, right? And low oil costs, of course!
    These are not people who voted for Obama. And yes, I have a magic crystal ball that lets me see into their VERY SOULS!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    Disrupting forums so nobody can discuss was a frequent tactic of the “anti-war” protestors. There much less of that currently. The problem is that the speakers don’t want to answer questions like “did you actually read the legislation before voting on it?”.
    If they had an opinion other than “Obama is a fascist,” I’d like to hear it.
    Try this or this. Now, perhaps you could provide an actual example of someone at one of these meetings calling Obama a fascist?
    As for the wars, I thought we were discussing why people might be upset with Obama other than being paid shills of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. If in fact the wars have worked out poorly, that also reflects poorly on Obama and highlights yet another expired campaign promise, which was my original point. It’s good to see you coming around to my point of view.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    Here’s another “not a fascist” view from one of the protestors (sorry for the double post but Typepad gets cranky if you put in too many links).

  • Robin Lee

    Their demagoguery is approaching criminal negligence. Logically speaking (I know!) if you accept their (Palin, Beck, Rush, Savage) assertions on their face, what wouldn’t be justified to battle such evil? Palin and her ilk are trying to demonize the President and the whole Democratic party for what can only be purely partisan reasons. I have no problem with partisanship, I just think at some point you’ve got to be constructive and willing to compromise. Does this man seem ready for a dialog or some sort of compromise? You know he doesn’t. He’s sitting there yelling to inflame and obstruct. You tell me what is the GOP’s alternative healthcare plan?
    It’s an old trick if you don’t have facts on your side, make up stuff and yell. And when all else fails call the other guy a fascist.

  • yg

    via laura flanders, she helpfully reminded her audience that the nurses who attended max baucus forum in attempt to lobby single payer be put on the table for negotiation – got arrested. how much did corporate media give that coverage?
    the far right are allowed to rant and rave while health professionals arguing for single payer got arrested.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/13/baucus_raucus_caucus_doctors_nurses_and

  • yg

    did canada’s adoption of single payer eliminate private health insurance in canada?

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/24/AR2008022401995.html yg

    No more signing statements?
    nice strawman. where did you hear the suggestion that obama said he would never use them? rush? hannity? o’reilly? glenn beck? yeah, they’re well known for their rational, evidence based demagoguery.
    what he actually said:
    Responding to a questionnaire late last year by the Boston Globe, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) made clear their view that Bush has gone too far in issuing signing statements — but that there are circumstances in which such statements are necessary.
    “The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation,” Obama answered. But, he added: “No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives.”
    In her own Globe questionnaire, Clinton made a similar point about legal issues. “I would only use signing statements in very rare instances to note and clarify confusing or contradictory provisions, including provisions that contradict the Constitution,” she wrote. “My approach would be to work with Congress to eliminate or correct unconstitutional provisions before legislation is sent to my desk.”

  • yg

    this guy has a cammie hat on. other vociferous old yellers have been notable for the military insignia sported on their trucker cap.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    That was at a Senate Committee meeting, not a town hall. I.e. not a place where citizen input is being deliberately sought. Still, it’s better than being sent to the hospital by union thugs. But if you give me a cite for “right wingers ranting” at a Congressional Committee meeting without gettting arrested, I will agree that those nurses were arrested improperly.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    To a large extent private insurance has been destroyed in Canada by the adoption of single payer. It’s illegal in (IIRC) 6 provinces and actively discouraged through taxes and regulations in most of the rest. In any event there is at best very little private insurance in Canada. It is important to keep in mind that one problem in analyzing Canada’s health care is its proximity to the USA. Many Canadians come over the border for care or to get private insurance. How much this serves to mask problems in Canadian health care is unclear making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.
    What I actually heard was that Congressman Barney Frank, Congressman David Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy were upset about them.
    During the previous administration, all of us were critical of the President’s assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes he was required to enforce. We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude.
    Have I once again been lead astray by ranting right wingers?

  • Reind

    @ YG: Aha! You beat me to it.
    @ AOG: Many US citizens seem to feel threatened by these health care changes. I wonder, What is the per capita cost for health care in the USA and compared to that of Canada (provincial gov’ts), UK, France, and the dreaded Cuba? For the record, the Provincial government doesn’t tell people in Ontario which doctor to use. Feel free to see a different doctor every visit until you find one YOU like. ohhh scary…

  • yg

    being sent to the hospital by union thugs
    pooh thing:
    http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2009/08/08/from-joe-the-plumber-to-kenneth-the-drama-queen/
    you mean the guy who just lost his job and thus is UNINSURED? yeah, good luck with that.
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_08/019423.php
    i have as much sympathy for him as the right had for the murdered rachel corrie.

  • Reind

    @ AOG: snip FAIL! “PRIVATE insurance for MEDICALLY NECESSARY hospital and physician services is illegal in only 6 of the 10 provinces.”
    source: http://tinyurl.com/n8284g
    This means our government won’t subsidize PRIVATE insurance companies for medically necessary services. There are plenty of Private insurance companies providing coverage for not-covered services. Many of us access these companies through employer set up health plans….hmmm, not so scary as I thought.
    SNIP
    TRANSLATION: “i’m making up stuff and just guessing about the rest.”

  • Molly

    Doesn’t the name Annoying Old Guy imply the translation? I’ve been reading his posts through that framework but thanks for the confirmation!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/aog Annoying Old Guy

    I write that private insurance is illegal in 6 provinces, you find a cite that claims it is illegal in 6 provinces, and from that conclude that I am making things up? My private insurance covers MEDICALLY NECESSARY services, so if that were made illegal that would, in fact, destroy my private insurance. That’s the common case here, so I am still missing what exactly you think I made up.

  • charlie

    You really don’t get it man. Just save your energy for a tea party.

  • yg

    first, you objected to a supposed broken promise obama made to no longer practice the use of signing statements:
    No more signing statements?
    then when challenged that this was incorrect, you googled for additional support that objected to obama using signing statements:
    all of us were critical of the President’s assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes
    you moved the goalposts and changed the terms of the original argument.
    weak.

  • asdadf

    Why is it OK when Progressives rage and bomb buildings?
    Why is everything that people oppose have to be racism?
    Could it be that this health care baloney is losing?

Refresh Archives

Random Notes