I see that Steve Benen thinks the Michelle Bachmann-led shindig on Thursday is going to be the same-old-same-old:
It's tempting to think we've seen enough far-right gatherings in recent months, between various Tea Party rallies and the event in Washington in mid-September.
But apparently there's another one scheduled for Thursday.
... Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) revealed that, next week in Washington, D.C., the right wing is trying to galvanize yet another mass protest rally against health reform.
... Bachmann announced, "We're going to have a 'house call' and a big party out on the National Mall [next week], and we're going to tell Congress what they can do with their health care bill."...
It'll be interesting to see what the turnout is like, because there's a real risk of going to the well once too many times here. It's one thing to keep the base motivated, but even the most committed Teabagger, after having been told it's time to take time off from work once more to wave some placards around, is likely to ask, "Again?"...
I hope he's right. But I'm afraid that the part Talking Points Memo has focused on is the key to the whole thing:
Bachmann ... told Sean Hannity: "I'd love to have every one of your viewers to join me so we can go up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, 'Don't take away my healthcare.'"
Does the GOP think having citizens streaming into the Congressional buildings amounts to harassment and disruption of Congress, or is it a legitimate exercise of the right to petition the government?
I'll tell you what they think: (a) they think it will convey the message that "real Americans" oppose reform (yeah, again) and (b) they think that even if it gets rowdy -- in the halls of Congress -- they'll get away with it.
And they will. This is what I've been trying to tell you lately: short of blowing up a federal building, there's apparently nothing right-wingers can do that will make the general public say, "These people have gone too far." I think the crazies are hoping for a sans-culotte version of the 2000 Florida "bourgeois riot" in the Capitol, and I think they're correct when they say the upside of inciting that kind of disturbance would be much greater than the downside, because we're still not ready in this country to think right-wingers are dangerous -- as in '60s-radical dangerous.
I may be wrong. But I think it's going to get ugly on Thursday. And I think it'll help the GOP if it does.