Forget Norman Rockwell. The town hall meetings that many representatives and senators are holding back in their districts to make the case for a health care overhaul are turning into knockdown-dragouts.
Some of the aggressive questioning, and even heckling, of legislators meeting with constituents across the country appears to be staged. A memo on "best practices" for disrupting town hall meetings has surfaced on the Web.
A conservative group in Connecticut called Right Principles laid out how it "conducted an action" at a town hall meeting of Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) in late May, even calling it a "potential playbook" for others who want to do the same.
Some of the tips: be organized; be prepared with detailed questions (including some that cite the legislator's voting record); try to sit in the front of the room; leave the protest signs outside the hall.
The group posted a video from the event, which you can watch below.
Another video making the rounds shows a raucous crowd at a town hall meeting featuring Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania senator who jumped to the Democratic party this spring, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Specter told the Associated Press that he thought "political organizations orchestrated some of the commotion," though he acknowledged that some people with "serious concerns" also attended.
For the administration's response to all the hubbub, check out this White House blog post, which also includes a video of Linda Douglass from the White House's Health Reform Office.