Obama's staff and retreads from the Clinton administration are using Chicago-style intimidation to rescue his extravagant health-care bill from its decline in public opinion polls.
A congressional Town Hall meeting on Aug. 6 reminds us of a memorable political moment when Bill Clinton and his chief aides were in Little Rock celebrating his 1992 election. Heady with victory, Chicago staffer Rahm Emanuel demonstrated how he planned to punish political enemies by plunging his steak knife into the table and screaming, "Dead!" as he named each target.
At Rep. Russ Carnahan's, D-Mo., town hall meeting on Aug. 6, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) thugs, clad in purple shirts, punched in the face, brutally beat and kicked in the head when he was down an African American named Kenneth Gladney, while hurling a torrent of racial slurs. The SEIU goons were following White House advice: "Don't do a lot of talking," and if they encounter resistance, "punch back twice as hard."
The Purple Shirt Brigade picked on Gladney because he was passing out historical American flags with the inscription "Don't Tread on Me," and the Left won't tolerate African-Americans as conservatives. Gladney was taken to the hospital, and six people were arrested.
We are seeing a coordinated smear on those who oppose socialized medicine. Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse mislabeled them as "angry mobs of rabid right-wing extremists."
The Obama supporters are trying to make it appear that those opposing socialism in health care are "manufactured" protesters, as falsely alleged by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, and in MSNBC's Chris Matthews' words, a "Brooks Brothers Brigade." Majority Leader Harry Reid calls them "Astroturf" to pretend that those opposing Obama's health-care bill are artificial grass-roots.
The opponents of socialized medicine are just ordinary citizens, many of whom (like Gladney) had never before attended a political meeting, and many who are alumni of the spontaneous Tea Parties. There is no evidence that they are organized and financed by the insurance companies, or even by the Republican Party.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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