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Friday, August 7, 2009

Meet the 'Mob:' Longmont Protests Obamacare

Longmont CO Health Ralliers Reply to Democratic 'Mob' Charge

August 10 Update: In the above video, Spark Erickson says, "Hell, we came in on a bus with 45 agitators... of course we are [part of a mob]. You know that... And if I'm not, they'll tell you I am, so... go whatever way you want to with that." Apparently Erickson's sarcasm was lost on some viewers. Jeff Crank, the event's organizer, reports, "In total, there were six people who rode the bus from place to place on the bus tour. That includes the driver and tour coordinator."

Longmont CO Health Raly August 6 2009 Part 1

Longmont CO Health Raly August 6 2009 Part 2

Longmont CO Health Rally Speakers August 6, 2009

According to certain Democratic leaders, those who protest Obamacare are mobs. Ben DeGrow offers a good summary of articles related to this.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter told the Denver Post about tense Town Hall meetings, "They gin up this conflict and in some ways thuggery to try and stop stuff."

In other words, at a Town Hall meeting, where politicians invite people to come and speak, politicians expect people to shut up and take it.

According to Congressman Perlmutter, forcibly confiscating people's money is not "thuggery." Forcing some people to subsidize others through a maze of insurance controls and mandates is not "thuggery." Dictating to doctors how they shall provide health care, to patients how they shall receive it, and to insurers how they shall insure it, is not "thuggery." But complaining about it, that is "thuggery." Speaking up is "thuggery." Saying "no" to Big Brother is "thuggery." Daring to exercise the First Amendment is "thuggery." According to Congressman Perlmutter.

I was amazed that 150 to 200 people showed up for a "Hands Off My Health" rally in Longmont, in the middle of a work day, when seven such rallies were scheduled across the state with little advance notice.

I talked to a number of participants. I asked people why they came to the rally. I asked them why they oppose Obamacare. Finally, I asked them what they think of Democratic smears that they're part of some "mob." In short, I did what Democrats are deathly afraid to do: listen to people's opinions.

August 8 Update: I've added a fourth video, featuring some of the comments of the speakers. My favorite videos feature the participants. Please note that I don't necessarily agree with everything said at the rally.

Moreover, I didn't include everything I recorded in the published videos. I omitted a couple of comments, one calling Obama a "bastard" and another calling him a "racist." These were not indicative of the mood or sentiment of the event, nor do I regard such remarks as remotely useful. I recorded at least one comment about abortion that I left out; however, I think only one or two people I talked with mentioned the issue.

One guy said he thinks the solution is local taxes to care for the poor, which, while arguably better than federal programs, is neither consistent with liberty nor remotely adequate for those who regard health care as some sort of right.

Jeff Crank, the event's organizer, made the same comment he made at a previous rally, which is that the government should force insurers to ignore pre-existing conditions. I've criticized that view previously (in a co-authored column with my dad).

I approached people more or less randomly for interviews. Obviously only a minority agreed to be interviewed.

Interestingly, while some of the handful of union-associated counter-protesters talked with the Longmont Daily Times-Call, they all refused to grant me an interview. They said they were too busy and had to hit the road to attend the next rally. I think they were simply unable to make their case for Obamacare and knew as much.

However, I gave Nate, one of the counter-protestors, my card. I told him he could write a 500 word reply to this post, and I would publish it, unedited, perhaps with my reply. If you actually have arguments for your position, Nate, please take advantage of my offer. Otherwise, people might think you're all show and no substance.

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Blogger mtnrunner2 said...

Those look great. Really clear video and audio, nice editing.

August 7, 2009 8:21 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Wow, spooky Brooks Brothers people..sorry, kidding. Very nicely done, well put together. Thank you for sharing this.

August 7, 2009 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Rabble said...

Me, myself and I = mob

August 8, 2009 7:54 AM  
Anonymous planecrashlaw said...

Such as spontanious gathering. Too bad they failed to edit out the "hands off my healthcare" bus that was used to spontaniously take them as a group to the rally. Yep--total grass roots.

August 8, 2009 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Kirk said...

You did some great work with those videos and report. Thanks!

August 8, 2009 10:20 AM  
Blogger Ari said...

The bus is in fact shown in part of a video. But the bus only took around a few of the event's organizers. By and large the rally consisted of people from the area to traveled to the event independently -- which was why the parking lot was full of cars. The union-associated counter-protesters, though, did travel from rally to rally.

August 8, 2009 10:23 AM  
Anonymous planecrashlaw said...

Check the video--one man says 45 came on the bus--so 1/3 to 1/4 of the crowd. By and large I will also drive myself to a pro reform rally, but the spin on the right will be that we were all bussed in by ACORN.

No big deal, I'll admit to some astroturfing on my side if you will on yours.

August 8, 2009 10:55 AM  
Blogger Ari said...

planecrashlaw -- I thought it was obvious that guy was being sarcastic. Nevertheless, I've left a message with Jeff Crank, and I'll ask him exactly how many people went from rally to rally in the bus.

August 8, 2009 11:38 AM  
Blogger Diana Hsieh said...

Great job, Ari! I'm impressed by the responses people gave to why they opposed socialized medicine.

August 8, 2009 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the democratic leadership who call these people mobs - you must be familiar with the mob - it takes one to know one.

August 8, 2009 3:32 PM  
Anonymous kelly said...

so busses = astroturfing? always? really?

look at the people who came on that bus... the elderly... the elderly are well known for going places together on busses.

last week, i was at the mall and about 35 sweet ladies in their 60s-70s (by appearances) got off the bus and the bus driver parked the bus while they shopped.

astroturfing mall walkers? hardly.

the fact that some people got together and hired a bus to bring them to a rally is not evidence of manufactured protest.

you have to look a little deeper than the surface for reasons to accuse protestors of astroturfing.

here are some characteristics of astroturfing:

** identical signs that have been mass produced

** inability to answer substantive questions regarding the topic at hand

**unwillingness to engage in conversation with anyone they deem unsympathetic to their own views

** "team" uniforms

** preponderance of attendees who are not from the area

not one of those things was in evidence at this gathering.

people riding a bus together... that doesn't equate to astroturfing.

August 8, 2009 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and i meant to say... great job, ari. thank you so much for taking the time to do this.

more of these grassroots videos are what we need to combat the lies and smears.

the reporters can write all they want about screaming mobs... but if we're posting the truth in video, their words become pointless.

August 8, 2009 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Obama squads have been instructed not to speak to anyone other than the "real" press. No YouTube exposes for them.

Senior living centers/communities plan trips for their residents all the time and people sign up for them at will. Nothing astroturfy about that.

August 8, 2009 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Americanwoman said...

This is better than S*X! Finally, the American People are getting up off their sofas and SHOWING UP! The whining liberals are coming apart at the seams, led by President Barack Obama. As a Sr. Citizen, I must say, I've never witnessed a United States Presidential administration like this one. I say, "Bring it on, Mr. President. Gather all of your horses and all of your men and let's see if you can survive the WILL of the American people!
Personally, I am shopping for a new outfit...maybe an evening gown, to wear to my next rally. Keep 'em guessin'...right, Senator Boxer? The arrogance of this bunch is thick as pea soup. AMERICA FIRST! GOD BLESS AMERICA!

August 8, 2009 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Americanwoman said...

To Planecrashlaw: We have, on two occasions so far, hired buses for our rallies here in California. We needed mass transportation after our first couple of rallies (large turn-outs), so we took the initiative to make arrangements...probably a foreign concept to liberals.

August 8, 2009 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please next time around remember not to call leftists thugs, mobs... By the way why people talk about their clothing or profession to prove that they are not a mob?

August 9, 2009 9:58 AM  
Blogger Ari said...

The comments about clothing are a response Democratic smears.

August 9, 2009 10:46 AM  
Blogger sh007r said...

Plane crash lawyer?
At least he admits to be a liberal.

Soo0, planecrash, how bout some TORT reform? That could save $3-500 Billion annually.

August 9, 2009 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff!

I wonder if interviews with a busload of fat guys in purple "SEIU" t-shirts would be as convincing.

August 9, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger Ari said...

Actually, the union-associated counter-protesters, who went from rally to rally, were relatively young and attractive. And entirely uninterested in articulating their views.

August 9, 2009 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are commenting on their clothes, because Barbara Boxer (D-CA)said that the healthcare reform protesters are too well dressed to be just concerned citizens so they must be planted by the GOP, insurance companies, etc.

August 9, 2009 12:48 PM  
Anonymous T.L. James said...

Great stuff, Ari.

We have some coverage over at People's Press Collective of Perlmutter's town-hall cowering-I-mean-meeting in Brighton yesterday. Including some shots of a pro-Obamacare astroturfer and an interview which illustrates the point above about not knowing the issue.

August 9, 2009 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what's the big deal about going on a bus to these things? Saves on parking, traffic, gas, and let's not forget fragile Mother Earth!

August 9, 2009 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... As a Sr. Citizen, I must say, I've never witnessed a United States Presidential administration like this one. ... Of course senior citizens are against health care, they've already GOT their government health care and could care less about the rest of us. Why don't you hypocrites fight to get rid of Medicare? Oh, that's right, YOU are entitled to government health care but those of us working and paying taxes to support YOUR health care have no right to health care ourselves. Got it. Thanks.

August 9, 2009 10:38 PM  
Blogger Ari said...

THE BUS: To definitively settle the matter, Jeff Crank, the event's organizer, reports, "In total, there were six people who rode the bus from place to place on the bus tour. That includes the driver and tour coordinator."

August 10, 2009 11:40 PM  

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