By Frank James
Like the cavalry, organized labor reportedly plans on swooping in to the rescue of beleaguered lawmakers who are getting shouted down by conservative activists at town-hall meetings during discussions of health-care overhaul legislation.
The Huffington Post's Sam Stein reports that the AFL-CIO is calling on its troops to counter the anti-health care reform hecklers.
The nation's largest federation of labor organizations has promised to directly engage with boisterous conservative protesters at Democratic town halls during the August recess.
In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform and other topics pertinent to the labor community. The document makes clear that Obama allies view the town hall forums as ground zero of the health care debate. It also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount "Brooks Brothers" protest to rally its members to the administration's side.
The principal battleground in the campaign will be town hall meetings and other gatherings with members of Congress in their home districts," reads the memo. "We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing "Tea-Party Patriots" who will try to disrupt those meetings, as they've been trying to do to meetings for the last month. ...
(Remember the hooligans - many of them Republican Congressional staff - who harassed Florida vote counters in 2000? We can't let that happen again!)."
These already ugly town halls look like they could be about to get significantly uglier.