August is usually what the Media Elite like to call a "slow news month," but maybe this one will be different, because every day some news organ will be able to run comical footage of legislators getting harassed to death by angry (and occasionally fake) constituents who don't like all this talk about healthcare reform.
Across the nation, the same conservative lobbying groups that brought you the infamous teabagger protests are organizing to flood town hall meetings with outraged yokels shouting about socialism.
Some legislators have already faced the terrifying spectacle of bestickered mobs chanting "Just Say No!" or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance (which, you will recall, was written specifically by Thomas Jefferson to secure a citizen's fealty to a free-market health care scheme).
Americans for Prosperity, the conservative interest group, recently had tea party protesters show up at a town hall meeting being held by the staff of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. Groups like this plan to spend August doing the same thing, dozens of times over, while they simultaneously flood the airwaves with ads picking apart reform legislation, bit by bit.
And, according to a memo [PDF] written by a volunteer for the Tea Party Patriots, many more politicians can expect this treatment in the near future.
The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington. They need to leave the hall with some doubts about their agenda.
So whereas August used to be the month in which congresspeople and senators could return to their home districts for quiet, thoughtful sit-downs with voters, it will now be the month when they confront carefully coached gaggles of protesters whose stated objective is to raise the suspicion that a majority of voters in their district don't want health care reform, regardless of whether that's true or not.
Of course, it's every citizen's right to attend whatever town halls they want to, and to shout whatever they feel like at whomever they want. Our federal lawmakers are, by and large, grownups, and should not wilt under a fusillade of talking points from astroturfing wingnuts. Right?