Last week, Dave Weigel queried about where the liberal outrage was over the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it. Of course, there had been isolated incidents of protest at town hall meetings, but Weigel was referring to a more sustained kind of backlash.
As I’ve been reporting in this blog, there have been hundreds of anti–budget cut protests that oftentimes included the mantra of protecting all social services with Medicare thrown into the mix. However, protests centering on thwarting Ryan’s proposal had yet to manifest.
Until now. The liberal outrage has finally bubbled to the surface in an eruption of town hall meltdowns so prevalent that Weigel has since updated his Slate blog to read, “FOUND: More Angry Liberals.”
The Don’t Make Us Work ’Til We Die campaign (I love that name so, so much) scheduled days of action for yesterday and today in thirty-five cities across the country. The group’s flyer reads, “Social Security belongs to us. Putting insurance companies in charge of Medicare is crazy. Slashing health care for American families is wrong. Tell politicians in Washington ‘We Will Not Work ‘Til We Die.’ Hands off our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!”
Additionally, MoveOn is mobilizing and prepping its members for town hall events in their districts, according to Brian Beutler. Although, it’s unlikely liberals will (or desire to) mirror the insane display of anger at town hall meetings during the health care debate.
"I don’t think it’s possible to do that over again," said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn. "It’s like SwiftBoats in 2004. Interesting things happened in August, but it’s hard to repeat."
But things have changed since 2009. Those town hall disruptions convinced members of both parties to lower their profiles. The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) reinforced that instinct.
In 2009, town hall events were publicized and scheduled well in advance. That’s not true anymore.
On top of that, progressive, Democratic, and union groups across the country aren’t fighting off one threat to their interests—they’re swamped by state-level fights over collective bargaining, public pensions, voting rights, and other conservative onslaughts.
The state-level protests are what I’ve been covering in this blog. People are so desperate to stop the bleeding in their personal lives when it comes to things like education and pension cuts and anti-union legislation that shifting attention to a national fight over Medicare, while possible, understandably takes some time to get off the ground.