Friday, August 07, 2009


There's been significant unrest at a couple of town halls, and right wingers are wallowing in self-righteous glee, particularly about this in Missouri:

St. Louis County police arrested six people, including a Post-Dispatch reporter, during a demonstration Thursday evening outside a forum on aging called by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

Kenneth Gladney, 38, a conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with "Don't tread on me" printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was awaiting treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack.

"It just seems there's no freedom of speech without being attacked," he said....

Let's see, what do we have? "Breaking: Lefty Thugs Attack, Beat Conservative at Carnahan Town Hall" at the St. Louis Tea Party blog. "Racist Attack at Townhall Meeting" at QandO. "Democrat mob attacks conservative at Town Hall in Missouri" at PrairiePundit. "RAW VIDEO!!.....TEA PARTY PROTESTERS ATTACKED-- 1 Black Conservative Seriously Hurt in St. Louis!... 6 Arrested Including SEIU Members" at the always overcaffeinated Gateway Pundit.

I'm not entire clear on what really happened. If it's true that someone on the pro-reform side attacked an anti, it just shows that the antis are still much better at this than we are -- much better, in other words, at the thuggish-Eddie-Haskell technique of taking the goon-squad behavior right up to the limit and then switching on a dime to who-me? innocent self-righteousness when it's appropriate to do so. Maybe our side hasn't learned how to stop short and switch -- and that's no surprise, because the righties put everything they've got into winning political battles, since they don't give a crap about, y'know, having ideas or governing. Of course their people would be better trained in the art of tiptoeing just past the line, but not straying over it irreversibly.

But none of this really matters because the story isn't going to play out the righties' way. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story quoted above and another P-d story, those arrested included people on the anti, pro, and "I wanted to see what it was all about" sides, plus one reporter. So it's going to be absurdly easy for the press to report this as "tempers flared on both sides." That will make a lot of sense to the (yes, it's time to use the phrase again) silent majority who are watching all this. And once that message is out, the teabaggers can't expect anyone to believe them when they cry victim. But they're going to screw that up, because they're going to keep crying victim. Righties are good at this sort of thing, but their Achilles' heel is overreaching. Just ask Newt Gingrich or the Clinton impeachment gang.

You know who's going to win this battle? Whoever seems to be a voice for reason and sanity. I don't know who, if anyone, that will be. It could be (alas) some Blue Dog or other. It could easily be President Obama, condemning the hotter heads on both sides.

But I can't assure you it ain't gonna be a prominent movement-conservative pundit or elected figure from the movement right. No prominent figure from the movement would dream of condemning the incivility of the teabaggers. None of them would dare.

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