Poll: What's Up With the Town Hall Protests? → Washingtons Blog
Poll: What's Up With the Town Hall Protests? - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Poll: What's Up With the Town Hall Protests?

I am genuinely confused about the town hall protests.

Liberal writers I respect say the protests are wholly orchestrated by big healthcare companies and their insurers, with the help of Fox News and other media outlets, in order to defeat something which is good for people but bad for the big healthcare businesses.

Conservative writers I respect say that the protests are not simply about healthcare, but are spontaneous and authentic demonstrations by the American people against horrible government policies under Obama, Bush and other administrations which are bankrupting our country. They say that any violence at - or guns brought to - the protests are a form of cointelpro type disruption by the government itself

Then again, trend forecaster Gerald Calente writes:
The White House and the media have labeled protestors “conservative fringe elements,” or as players in staged events organized by Republican operatives that have been egged on by Fox news and right-wing radio show hosts.

In regard to this latest wave of outbursts, health industry interests opposed to any reform are also being blamed for inciting the public. But organized or spontaneous is not the issue...

While most protestors exhibit little grasp of the complex 1000 page health care reform document (that nary a legislator has read either), their emotion is clearly real and un-staged.

Rightly or wrongly, the legislation is regarded as yet another straw on the already overloaded camel’s back. A series of gigantic, unpopular government-imposed (but taxpayer-financed) bailouts, buyouts, rescue and stimulus packages have been stuffed down the gullet of Americans. With no public platform to voice their opposition, options for citizens have been limited to fruitless petitions, e-mails and phone calls to Congress … all fielded by anonymous staff underlings.

Now, with Congress in recess and elected representatives less than a stone’s throw away, the public is exploding.
In a new poll, I asked "What's Up With the Town Hall Protests?"

Here's the final vote (poll voters were able to choose more than one answer):

1. They are an authentic outpouring of protest from the American people regarding proposed healthcare legislation which they passionately dislike.
91 (24%)
2. They are orchestrated by big healthcare companies and their insurers, with the help of right-wing politicians and media.
134 (35%)
3. They are the result of misplaced anger at the government's economic policies which have crashed the economy, redistributed wealth up to the wealthy, and put us into debt.
126 (33%)
4. Something else entirely is going on, and the media is distorting the truth.
59 (15%)
5. This is the start of a second American Revolution.
106 (27%)

Note: I know nothing about the healthcare debate or about the benefits versus downsides of a "public option". I simply haven't spent any time looking into it, and so I haven't yet formed any opinion.


  1. I think there are a lot of MISINFORMED people out there... remember the woman last year at a McCain-Palin campaign rally in Minnesota who actually thought Barack Obama was "an Arab!"
    There are a lot of MISINFORMED people attending the meetings who are believing the fear mongers out there on TV political talk shows, radio talk shows, blogs, etc. about health care.
    They totally remind me of that poor woman who was attending the McCain-Palin rally.
    Quite simply Mr. Washington, these people are MISINFORMED!

  2. I vote for 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    1. A lot of people are authentically upset about what they think the proposed healthcare legislation entails, though they don't really know what it entails because of...

    2. Right-wing billionaires are contributing to the mayhem, to what extent I don't know, but from what I've seen of these people they don't have the mental wherewithal to organize as they have done.

    3. Bush's economic policies got us where we are today. I don't know if these people would be protesting as hard if McCain were president, though.

    4. The media are distorting the truth, there's no doubt about that. Fox News is becoming the mouthpiece of a Neo-Neo-Nazi movement in the US, and I don't use that term lightly. Meanwhile MSNBC is trying to become the liberal Fox News. In part all the rancor shown at the town hall meetings is coming out of people who have been heavily propagandized for the last 15 years. They honestly believe Obama is going to destroy the US with his "socialist" policies. Just the other day while buying 9mm ammo, I overheard a man in a gun store in Dallas say he was praying for a catastrophe to befall Air Force One.

    5. There won't be any revolution, not out of these people anyway. There might be one after they bring the whole system down, though.

  3. #5... and bring it on, you rotten mafia pigs who stole our nation and our elected representatives. Yeah, you, you rotten bankster pigs.

    I look forward to the revolution. It would be wonderful were it peaceful.

    However, I demand prosecution of the banksters and the leaders of this nation who acted as criminals, traitors, and torturers - followed by the swift sure punishment commensurate to their actions.

  4. I think that a lot of it involves people who are genuinely disgusted with our politicians based on their behavior for the last 8 years or so. It is the culmination of all of the lying about and or mismanagement of IRAQ, torture, habeus corpus, eavesdropping, signing statements, corruption on Wall Street, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Geithner and other public officials not paying their taxes, the economy, the national debt, the need to raise taxes on the middle class, and on and on. We have reached a tipping point. Finally.

    Oh, and of course, the media cannot be trusted to submit impartial reports.

  5. Also, just so you know, this healthcare grab is NOT for the benefit of the American people. They are trying to sell it to wellmeaning liberals. However, reading what is in the healthcare package - it is absolutely evil and dangerous.

    The conservatives have read it - aren't buying the brainwashing symposiums - and know how evil it is.

    I'll give Jim the benefit of the doubt to believe he's sincere and believes it's in the public's best interest. Well, the bailout was for Main Street, too, some people still believe.

    I won't get into how evil the healtcare bill is - because it's that bad I don't even want to talk about it right now. Denying care to handicapped people. (That's in the bill.) Saying that elderly people don't deserve care because they are no longer productive to society (That has been stated). I'm getting angry just thinking about it.

    Eugenecists have framed that bill... and gullible people believe the propaganda that's being spewed.

    It's the bailout lies all over again - applied to government control of healthcare in order to deny us care.

  6. The idea that these protests are happening *now* in response to the actions of *Bush* seems ludicrous to me, at least on the face of it. Where were these people when Bush was still in power? They were telling liberals that "dissent is treason".

    The fact that in most cases the teabaggers seem to be more interested in disrupting the Town Halls, and preventing meaningful dialogue from happening, seems to me a clear indication that the motives of the organizers are not genuine -- even if many participants have been goaded into a genuine rage by those organizers.

    Fortunately, meaningful dialogue between "teabaggers" and others does seem to be happening in many places, despite the initial disruptive tendencies of the teabaggers, which is very encouraging; we can only hope that this becomes the trend rather than being a few isolated instances.

  7. I'm a Celente fan and know he has been predicting a revolution of some kind but I don't think I'm ready to buy that this Town Hall Meeting stuff is stage 2 of the revolution. In watching video of several of the meeting most of the screaming was being done about health care and the best indication that it was a staged event to me is a large part of the participants were old enough to be on Medicare and were up screaming they didn't want government in their health care. Now that says they are either ignorant or stupid you pick. Next you will notice a large part of the same audience is obese (by insurance standards) and wouldn't be insured under private plans as they now stand.
    Look at the web site posting of lies against the plan (which doesn't exist yet) look at who is funding them , holy shit batman they are all , every damn last one of them are right wing of one sort or another. Check out this blog. http://thegreytiger.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/twist-and-shout/and or http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/2009/07/deconstructing-the-right-wing-lies-health-bill.html

    It's hard to know exactly how many are being prodded to demonstrate , but some are, and the bottom line is what the hell does it solve. Nothing, absolutely nothing. We are at the point where nothing we say matters anyway, the lawmakers (with a few exceptions) are being bought by the insurance companies, even Obama with his deal with the drug companies to not touch Medicare D (which would have saved us 400 billion a year. We will end up with next to nothing, so if this does blossom into a full blown revolution it will have been triggered by lies.

  8. Oh, and Laura Lee: "denying care to handicapped people" is not in the bill, as I understand it. The current health system does that already, thanks (ask me about my healthcare nightmare!), and the reform plan is an attempt to fix that glaring problem. Can you point to the part of the bill which supposedly denies such care?

    Same for the bit about suspension of elder care; that is actually a massive distortion of a modification introduced by a Georgia Republican, Sen. Johnny Isakson, which helps individuals gain more control over their end-of-life care. See this for more info and further discussion.

    Please, people, check your facts before you spread them around. This is how we make bad decisions, as a country.

  9. I vote for #3...There is definately a taint of economic panic in many of these upsets. Much of the conversation seems to be focused on affordability and whatnot....I also suspect that a few of these could be staged. It would make sense that one party would take advantage of people's anger and attempt to make the other look bad.

    And if they are staged, it's a terrible mistake. Should the economy tank further, it may look like taking one's anger out on your local political nuisance would be the correct thing to do.

    Now that could cause a revolution...

  10. When the bankers were evil we gave them billions of dollars. Now that the health insurance companies are evil I suppose we should do the same.

  11. Whatever the origin of this phenomenon, it's clear to me that it's organized, and that the participants have had some kind of coaching or instruction. For one thing, they're lousy actors (which is not to say they aren't ordinary people who are genuinely angry).

    Isn't it odd that all of a sudden there is this outpouring of crowd anger focused on such a specific target: "congressional town hall meetings"? Here, in the land of the Sheeple?Spontaneous outrage does not happen in such a coordinated manner, abrupt manner, without some focused inflamation.

    It's hard to blame them, though. I've experienced first-hand how manipulative politicians can be in public meetings. They are skilled in the practice of "building consensus," which requires eliminating opposing views by employing various psychological tricks, including ad hominem and other logical attacks.

  12. Stop listening to what the talking head is telling you, hit the mute button and just observe these people. You can tell the difference between the plants and the real people by their sincerity.

    Sorry, MSM & Pelosi just called Grandma and Grandpa un-american and nazis. First, their 401k was cut in half, banks were given trillions to play with on the derivatives market, and now they are being led to believe that they are going to get their Health Care rationed!!

    The woman wearing the Aqua colored blouse told Sen. Specter the truth; this anger is about the systematic destruction of the United States. Socialized Health Care system is just another slice of the pie.

    As for where it could go?? Look at ammo and weapons sales. Purportedly, DHS is partially responsible for the ammo shortage and they're not buying to take care of foreign threats. Can't confirm it, because I didn't hear it on CNN, Fox or MSNBC

    If you doubt what you are being told on TV about the protesters then you probably didn't need to ask the question. You already know the answer.

  13. Most of you guys are making this way too complicated. Americans are genuinely angry. The Pres & Congress treat us with contempt & lies while they stand by as the banks loot the taxpayers. This is way more than health care. Instead of fixing things the government makes things much worse. Get the government off our backs! The media is merely a prop for the government.

  14. I voted for #3 and still think Bush & Cheney should be held accountable for their actions while in office.

  15. Don't miss the obvious anger. It's real. Also, this program is going to be a total sell-out to big pharma, hospital chains, and whoever else owns DC.

    The plants and right-wing jerks are undoubtedly there, and you can be sure the two-party dictatorship will try to spin things into the usual us vs. them crap, but the feeling is real.

    As for those who ask why there wasn't much anger during W's regime, well, the economy. Also, it wasn't so obvious that the wars were failing. Many people have seen their net worths go down more than 75%, and this is a materialistic society.

  16. "MSM & Pelosi just called Grandma and Grandpa un-american and nazis." Whuuuu?? Where? This is BS.

    John: What lies? Why weren't people outraged when Bush & company told outrageous lies? Claiming that it's because the economy was good is no defense; if all they care about is their personal well-being, why should we take them seriously now? And, more tellingly, why aren't these same people outraged at the continuing lies of the Republicans now, when the economy is terrible -- in large part because of the Republicans?

    "Also, this program is going to be a total sell-out to big pharma, hospital chains, and whoever else owns DC." That's what we have now; any move towards a more universal, affordable system has got to be a move in the right direction (show how it's worse, at least! don't just make vague accusations). I'm sure it won't be perfect, but are you going to insist that we keep a horrible system until we can replace it with something perfect?

  17. It's always scary to confront the unknown; these people are reacting to a blizzard of half-truths and whipped-up fears (from many sources) that are paralyzing them with apprehension. A little perspective might be in order; when people from other countries that have free health care look at the current American system, they react with even greater horror! Pity the politician in Canada, England, or France who proposes dismantling their free health care systems, even with their imperfections. Their careers would be over immediately and they'd be lucky to get out of their country alive.


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