Shame on those of you who have been protesting at town hall meetings over the past few weeks. According to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who hails from my part of the country, you’re just “hostile and rude.” Not only that, you’re also disingenuous, using the issue merely to advance the Republican Party’s chances in the 2010 mid-term elections.
From an NPR interview last week:
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, called citizens who have been booing, heckling and interrupting town hall meetings "hostile and rude." These vocal opponents of President Obama's health care plan are no longer engaged in a civil debate, Clyburn tells NPR's Michel Martin, but are trying to start "a cascading effect that will result in victories for them at the polls next November."
According to Clyburn, protesters have been perpetuating lies about the president's health care plan, saying Obama supports a single-payer plan, which the congressman says is untrue. "No matter what you say, they have decided that 'this is my line' and they are sticking to it," he said.
"This is a fight for the heart and soul of the United States of America," Clyburn said. "Those of us who believe that the heart carries with it a certain degree of compassion are committed to this effort to get this done. Those who think differently will try to stop it."
Pulling directly from the Democratic playbook, specifically the “Panic” section, it’s Clyburn’s turn to carry the water as the civil rights veteran who can’t believe that people aren’t just falling all over themselves to support the president’s healthcare reform plan. Instead of attempting to argue the merits of any of the plans currently in circulation, Clyburn falls back on the Dems’ modus operandi of making personal attacks and over-the-top emotional appeals. Never mind that he’s attacking citizens of the United States who are exercising their rights under the First Amendment; no, Clyburn thinks that doesn’t apply here:
[Interviewer]: Well some say it's just free speech, it's political speech and therefore it is American.
CLYBURN: Well, nah, free speech is as one Supreme Court justice, (said) would not give you the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. So no matter how free you may be of speech (sic), you don't have unfettered speech. So [I] think what this is, this has gone beyond the notion of free speech it's gone into those areas where you are in fact trampling the rights of others.
So let me get this straight: Not only are the healthcare town hall protesters hostile and rude, it appears that they also don’t have hearts – or at least compassionate hearts; after all, compassion is the defining virtue of the left – and that they are violating the rights of others in the protesters’ exercise of their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech. Hmmm…perhaps Clyburn should clarify that with the Constitutional Scholar in Chief.
Oh, and if the healthcare protesters’ behavior is considered hostile and rude, I wonder what Clyburn would call this. Pot, meet kettle.