CONFIRMED: BACHMANN WANTS A RIOT
Michelle Bachmann's "house call" protest -- which is officially endorsed by House Republicans -- is still on for tomorrow, and if you have any doubt that she's actively hoping for unrest, here's your answer, from Politico:
Asked Tuesday whether House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) supports the idea of having conservative activists confronting Democrats in the halls of House office buildings, spokesman Michael Steel would say only that "every American has the right to visit the Capitol and speak to members of Congress."
... When asked if her boss was really calling for in-the-hall confrontations, Bachmann spokeswoman Debbee Keller said: "It's clear that e-mails and phone calls are being ignored by the majority, so Congresswoman Bachmann is asking anyone who can come to Washington to speak with their representative to do so. Perhaps a reminder of the face-to-face discussions they had at town hall meetings over the summer will help them realize that their constituents need them to vote no on this really bad health care reform bill."
In other words? Riot: it's on.
Aimai asked me in comments:
Steve, how does Hoffman losing in the 23rd affect your sense that there's never any blowback on the Republicans for this teabagger stuff?
I'd say it's a sign that there's some blowback -- clearly, the folks in NY-23 didn't let Beck and Palin and their pals just stroll in and tell them how to vote, and I imagine there was a fair amount of resentment of the outsiders.
But it's not full-scale disgust. It's analogous to the national reaction to the town meetings: support for the public option plunged, then went back up, but it's not as if the public was so disgusted by town hall thuggery that serious health care reform suddenly had a much smoother road to passage. The public option developed a pulse again, but it's still in critical condition and once more in danger of flatlining. If there'd been a real town hall backlash, the public option would have a strong, vigorous pulse by now -- it would be sailing toward passage.
So I still think tomorrow's riot, if it happens, won't do serious harm to Republicans. It won't truly outrage the public. It won't stiffen Democrats' spines. (What does? Ever?) But, on the other hand, it won't really help Republicans much, except in keeping the base fired up.
OH, AND: Fox is doing PR for Bachmann, as if you couldn't guess.
UPDATE: I said above that "I imagine there was a fair amount of resentment of the outsiders" in NY-23. Barbara at the Mahablog confirms that, citing two writers for the Watertown Daily Times -- Bob Gorman, who rails against "Republicans around the country" who faiiled to "understand the dance in Northern New York -- pro-union, pro-NRA, pro-choice, pro-military, etc." and "somehow got it in their heads that to save a village you have to destroy it"; and Jeffrey Savitskie, who castigated "folks who know so little about the north country that they would likely believe it if you told them Alexandria Bay was an exotic dancer.... Hoffman and his moneybaggers might be pro-life, but they sure aren't pro-north country life." Ouch.
UPDATE: Carpetbagging in NY_23? Even Megan McArdle gets it.