Republicans are being confronted by angry citizens who don't want to see sweeping changes to Medicare as proposed in the House GOP's budget for next year. The raucous events echo the chaotic town halls Democrats faced in August 2009 amid a backlash against the not-yet-passed health care overhaul. Recalling that those confrontations hurt the popularity of the health care bill, Democrats are organizing their supporters to attend the town halls to harangue Republicans, The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer and Carl Hulse report.
Florida Representative Allen West had to tell hecklers "You're not going to intimidate me," as others rose to defend him Tuesday night, the Times reports. Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, heralded by conservatives as brave for authoring the bill, was booed by his constituents the same night. Pennsylvania Representative Lou Barletta groused, "My town halls are being disrupted by Democrats. .. I am not sensing the general public is angered over Medicare reform." And Representative Daniel Webster, also from Florida, was confronted by people holding signs reading "Hands Off Medicare" who urged him to "tax the rich." Those folks were urged to show up by liberal groups. The altercation with Webster was caught on tape (an angry questioner is shown in the photo above) as the crowd yelled "You're a liar!" and others shouted "Let him talk!" according to the Orlando Sentinel's Mark Schlueb.
Slate's Dave Weigel observes "The yelling is coming from both sides, then; this isn't as one-sided as the 2009 town halls. But Democrats are figuring out where to go to make noise."
Video of the shouting at Webster's town hall from Think Progress: