The town-hall protesters have been rude, clownish and, occasionally, scary as hell.
Oh, and did I mention very effective?
Eric Zorn has a good post today on how town-hall loudmouths are killing health care reform. A couple notes:
1. How are the loudmouths killing healthcare reform? Here's a good explanation from Rick Perlstein.
2. It's also true that special-interest money is a more likely, or at least efficient, culprit.
3. This is how you politic: "Joe Sestak (whose campaign I work for) seems to have found a way to avoid rowdy protesters at town halls: just hold the meetings in places where right-wingers feel uncomfortable about being loud and noisy. Recently, he has held two town halls, one in a predominantly African-American church, and another in a veteran's center. Neither event had significant protests."
4. The worst-case scenario: mandates without a public plan. On the other hand, maybe we'd get a third party out of it, after it pisses off everyone in America.
5. Is the public plan dead? In the House, no. In the court of public opinion, increasingly. In the Senate, everything might be dead, but there might be ways around that. In the White House, who knows?
6. What's the co-op option? Who knows? Not the people proposing it.
7. If you're confused about what the screamy town-hall attendees actually think, well, watch them in a different forum. You'll still be confused, but it's a much richer, wiser form of confusion.