It’s probably not too soon to note the thread connecting the Bush administration’s practice of only allowing certified Bush-loyal attendees at their town hall events (from the Social Security phase-out day) and what’s happening now with these tea-party activists ginned by Freedom Works with instructions to shut down Democratic town halls dealing with health care. From a superficial perspective one might say, well, isn’t the point that the town halls aren’t supposed to be scripted to a T? You want to get some hustle and bustle, some engagement of opposing views? But as I noted earlier, what the tea bagger mobs are doing is qualitatively different. They’re sending in these groups to shut down the meeting entirely.
Both cases are distressingly telling examples of the authoritarian mentality so often found in right-wing politics — force and mob action to shut down actual discussion. It two sides of the same coin — the right in power versus the right out of power.
Par for the course.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.