Town Hall Clamor Arrives in Washington

A round up on Kaiser Health News: Tea Party Steeps on Capitol Hill.

From the NYTimes web site:

WASHINGTON — A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government.

From Yesterday’s NYTimes blog:

Thousands of opponents of the Democrats’ health care legislation are gathered outside the Capitol, for a noon news conference and rally led by Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, and the chants are already underway, echoing across the Mall.

“Kill the bill!” they are shouting. “Kill the bill!”

A series of spot interviews suggests that the protesters have come to Washington from all across the country – Texas, Ohio, Oregon and the greater Washington area. It’s a generally older crowd, many in their 50s and 60s, predominantly, white, and many self-identified as Christians. They are fiercely conservative and deeply skeptical of the government, many of them adamantly opposed to abortion rights.

Here’s a report on the event from organizers at Freedom Works, a key player in the tea party protests against “Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Cali.) proposed takeover of the American health care system.” (More on their leader, in this Sunday’s NY Times Magazine, already on line.)

The Washington Post counted 10,000 v. Freedom Works’ 25-30,000. NY Times said “tens of thousands.

The tea-party rally was the latest display of a populist wave of voter discontent among conservatives, which has divided the Republican Party in recent weeks. Protesters said the health-care bill is the latest move by Democrats toward socialism

The Post also noted that nine pro-reform activists were arrested earlier in the day  after a sit-in at Sen. Joe Lieberman’s office. The Connecticut senator, who opposes the bill, takes quite a few contributions from his constituent, the Hartford-based insurance industry.  

 

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