Baird said his decision to scrub such constituent gatherings was partly prompted by an atmosphere of intimidation and harassment from right-wing opponents of Democratic health care reform efforts who have disrupted town hall meetings in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas, Ohio and Wisconsin.The article notes that Baird is "no stranger to town hall protests." Indeed, this blogger witnessed Baird take a lot of flak--much of it personal--when he came to Capital High School to defend his support for the surge back in 2007. So I'm inclined to grant Baird the benefit of the doubt, here, if he claims to see something more vitriolic than protests past. It's not like he's known for flaking out on his constituents. But the move still strikes me as unwise--if anything, it emboldens the fringe, and reinforces their paranoia.
“It’s a lynch-mob mentality out there,” Baird said. “There is an ugliness to it.”
Last, it's clear that today's health care rabble-rousers have borrowed their tactics from the anti-war movement. After all, they've had over six years to watch and learn.
Update: On a national level, more script-flipping, compliments of Rush Limbaugh.
Update II: Jon DeVore notes that Dave Reichert has been town-hall free for his term.
Update III: And now Baird has put his foot in it. This is turning out to be an entertaining, as in tragic, summer.
Update IV: A cryptic death threat for Brian Baird? Really? People, just stop.