Earlier today, the word got spread around by the AFL-CIO that the unions were going to get more involved in the town halls to make sure the anti Obamacare people know their place.
|The nation's largest federation of labor organizations has promised to directly engage with boisterous conservative protesters at Democratic town halls during the August recess.|
In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform and other topics pertinent to the labor community. The document makes clear that Obama allies view the town hall forums as ground zero of the health care debate. It also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount "Brooks Brothers" protest to rally its members to the administration's side.
"The principal battleground in the campaign will be town hall meetings and other gatherings with members of Congress in their home districts," reads the memo. "We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing "Tea-Party Patriots" who will try to disrupt those meetings, as they've been trying to do to meetings for the last month. ...
So today the SEIU thugs got the ball rolling in "engaging directly" with protesters.
|What was intended to be a town hall discussion on President Barack Obama's health care reform proposal dissolved into a shouting match with shoving and scuffles in Ybor City tonight.|
The event brought home to Tampa the recent phenomenon of angry opponents of Obama's proposal disrupting town hall meetings by Democratic members of Congress during the August recess.
This meeting was organized by Democratic state Rep. Betty Reed but was to include comments on the proposal by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a strong supporter.
Castor tried to speak for nearly 15 minutes but the crowd drowned her out, chanting, "You work for us,'' "Tyranny, tyranny,'' and "Read the bill." She ultimately left the meeting early, further angering some attendees.
The problems began when a crowd of around 500, many of them recruited to attend by interest groups both for and against the proposal, sought to enter the meeting room. The room, in the offices of the Hillsborough County Children's Board on East Palm Avenue, has a capacity of only about 250.
Several hundred people, mostly opponents, wound up outside or packing a hallway leading into the meeting room. Some scuffled with members of the sponsoring groups who manned the doorway.
One man who said he was injured and intended to file a police complaint, Randy Arthur of Oldsmar, was outside the meeting room with his wife, Kathy Arthur, when organizers tried to close the doors.
She said he was slammed against a wall. He later talked to police officers, his knit shirt ripped and a few scratches visible on his chest.
....The meeting was organized by Reed plus the Service Employees International Union, other unions and Organizing for America, a liberal group that grew out of the Obama presidential campaign.
Some opponents accused the organizers of trying to stack the crowd by allowing early admission to those on their side. Reed denied that, saying those admitted early were organizers setting up the room.
In any case, opponents appeared to outnumber proponents both inside and outside.
After doors to the meeting room closed, some of those outside crowded around the windows of the meeting room, where they held up signs and chanted.