FROM POLITICS DAILY:
From: The House and Senate Democratic Campaign Committees
Re: Explosive "Town Halls"
We urgently recommend that you schedule, as SOON AS POSSIBLE, a town-hall meeting on health care reform. In addition, make sure that the opposition Web sites know exactly when and where it's being held so they can send their wrought-up protesters to yell at you.
See to it that the media are invited -- not just the local television stations but the cable networks. They cannot get enough of the high-volume emotion. You need as many people as possible to see you standing there calmly as some crazy screams at you about socialism and judgment day. The nuttier they get, the more sane you look. And the more voter sympathy you get.
It's obvious what is happening: The wild backlash to the reform proposals has caused its own backlash. The people who are being inflamed look like they're setting themselves on fire.
Never mind David Broder's column predicting growing disgust at these tactics. They'll come anyway. You can't re-leash the unleashed. Besides, these are not people who read the Washington Post. They get their news from Rush, and Glenn and Sean and shadowy Web sites.
Sen. Arlen Specter is an obvious example of what a help this can be. He must be thanking his lucky stars that he went Democrat. Otherwise the loonies would sing their tunes elsewhere. What has happened? Specter, who was facing a tough reelection fight in both the primary and general elections in Pennsylvania, if he got so far as the latter, has been suddenly allowed to look like the picture of calm amid the chaos. He has stood there stoically as the angry ones vented their spleens, at one point taking off his suit coat as they raved on. (Taking off your suit coat is a nice touch. Try to put that into your act.)
Specter is not the only one. Congressman John Dingell in Michigan showed how effective one can be by keeping silent. By saying nothing as an apoplectic constituent crowded him, bellowing, he said everything that needed to be said about her.
When Sen. Claire McCaskill told a rowdy crowd, "I don't understand this rudeness, I just don't get it," and they shouted her down, we wept with joy. She is not even up for reelection this year, but she can certainly serve as an example for others in our party.
The point is obvious. If the Republicans want to turn the August recess into a playground free-for-all, let them. They are the ones who will be bloodied by their own brawlers. Not only will you return to Washington in September unbowed and unbruised, but there's a much better chance that you'll return after the mid-term election.
Please let us know if you need our assistance. We don't think you will. The other side is giving us all the help we need.