Town Hall Anger Is Not About Health Care

August 14, 2009 9:27 am ET — Chris Harris

"They're probably reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they've heard about what he's doing, than to who he is. That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that's behind the 'birther' movement, which denies Mr. Obama's citizenship."

- Paul Krugman, 8/6/09

"It's clear that the health debate has become a proxy for a bigger fight over whether the federal government is assuming too much control over the economy."

- Dan Balz, 8/12/09

The Right's Anger Is Not About Health Care

Conservatives would like the media to believe the anger and vitriol on display at recent town hall meetings is all about health care.  This is simply not the case.

Activists on the far-right have been whipped into a frenzy by internet rumors and conspiracy theories about socialism, guns, abortion, religion, race and even whether or not the president is a U.S. citizen.  This core group of conservatives will oppose any and every agenda item put forth by the Obama administration.

Since Obama took the oath of office, right-wing websites and media outlets have actively instilled fear, anger and hate in the minds of impressionable conservative activists.  Agitated and eager for a fight, these activists are easy to mobilize when given an opportunity to express their displeasure.

Having created a fearful and frantic "mob," conservative special interests in Washington have pounced.

DC Special Interests: The Driving Force Behind Town Hall Outrage

DC-insiders, with their own self-interests at heart, have taken it upon themselves to organize and dispatch groups of angry protesters to disrupt town hall meetings held by Democratic members of Congress.

Well-organized and well-funded organizations in Washington provide their members and supporters with all the tools necessary to wreak havoc at town hall meetings.  Opponents of a progressive government are provided with schedules, talking (or shouting) points, disruptive tactics and even transportation to events.

The following special interests have played key roles in organizing the town hall shenanigans:

  • Conservatives for Patients' Rights (former Columbia/HCA CEO Rick Scott)
  • America's Health Insurance Plans (trade association for health insurance plans)
  • FreedomWorks (insurance, pharmaceutical and energy lobbyist Dick Armey)
  • American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (trade association for coal industry)
  • Americans for Prosperity (Koch Industries - oil company)
  • American Solutions for Winning the Future (Newt Gingrich; funded by oil and coal companies)
  • American Petroleum Institute (trade association for the oil industry )