Al Franken talks an anti-healthcare-reform mob down

When Senator Al Franken was confronted by an angry mob of teabagger/anti-healthcare-reform types, he calmly, rationally and intelligently talked them down, setting an example for how to conduct reasoned discourse that relies on facts and rationality rather than jingoism.

Franken talks down angry mob at State Fair


  1. They don’t look like an angry mob at all :(
    If it wasn’t for the headline, I would have thought it was a group of people who have a different opinion about something they’re concerned about and which they discuss at a polite tone with a politician!

  2. Holy cow. Ten minutes of rational speech from a politician. What a concept.

    Something MUST be done…as a layperson, I am not so arrogant as to propose that I have ANY answers — but as a patient, I know that the current system is dysfunctional at its very best.

    I DO know that we need far more rational conversation like this, and far less hysterical ranting.

  3. I too would
    hardly describe the
    people in this clip as an
    “angry mob”- They all seem
    respectful to me.
    I voted for Franken.
    I try to attend the Mn State Fair
    every year.

  4. That’s funny, they don’t look or act like a mob. What makes one group a mere crowd of demonstrators and another a mob? The story’s editor or journalist might be one answer.

    Anyway, the honorable Senator uses examples of health care systems in other countries to make his case. Does that mean that is what Americans will get? Not necessarily, for It is unlikely that Senator Franken nor any other member of congress will even have the opportunity to read the legislation in its entirety. Buried in hundreds or thousands of pages will be the devil’s details. Basically what these massive government overhauls come down to is this phrase… “Trust us.”

  5. That clip contains no evidence whatsoever of an angry mob.

    It’s wonderful to see Franken engaging with people who clearly want some answers, but to exaggerate this way is embarassingly similar to the right’s habitual characterisation of everything as a conflict with winners and losers, right and wrong.

    Surely, the beauty of the piece is seeing people talking to other people, with a genuine exchange of information? It’s to everbody’s credit. Franken does an honest job of answering the questions with a minimum of political evasion and the crowd, even while in disagreement, allow him the opportunity to respond.

    Heart-warming clip, but maybe the headline could use a re-think.

  6. What is this? It’s an example of the American positivism and engagement that much of the world respects, and of which we saw so little in the last 8 years or so…

    We socialist states may not have all the answers either, but we know how irresponsible it is to let people die of illnesses that are easily and cheaply treatable. Even the American medical community runs needs-focused emergency rooms, at great public expense!

  7. After a second look, I think the “mob” could use a couple of agent provocateurs to liven up the debate.

  8. Clever marketing with the headline, Cory. Not sure if I would have watched this without it.

    “angry mob”? REALLY?

  9. “Angry mob” is the videographer’s own description; read his YouTube text. Apparently they were more riled up before this video started.

    Whatever the case, I think this is the better way to run those town hall meetings — much smaller groups standing eye-to-eye with the politician. You put him on a stage in front of a big audience who also have their own microphone, you’d wind up with a lot of screaming maniacs. Harder to scream Glenn Beck invective if the person is standing right in front of you.

  10. That is about as angry as a mob can get in Minnesota…jk jk.

    Seriously though, it could easily have turned into an angry mob, if franken were not so reassuring and brimming with informaiton.

  11. What the video demonstrates is the effectiveness of the far right/health insurance lobby in getting it’s message out to the average citizen. Franken (and gosh darn it I may have to move my respect for him up a notch) carefully illustrated some points exposing how awkward some of their points line up with what they were expressing a desire for.

    Did you not hear how a couple of the folks were to tie all healthcare costs to immigrants? Medicare costs to illegal immigrants. Or, the woman that wanted government to stay out of health care but was equally quick to damn the current system with her gripe about the cost of pharmaceuticals? Or the woman who wanted no government health care but was concerned with improving her own family’s relationship with government healthcare?

    It isn’t to say that people who object to switching to a single payer system or a government option are wrong to argue for it. But when you argue, unwittingly, a point that makes no sense because you’ve been lied to, well I’d say a group of folks confronting a senator count as an angry mob. When the definition of an angry mob is group think backed up with nonsense talking down sense, shouting or otherwise. Sure, they’re the unwitting mob of the far right. Poor bastards who have been scared to death by complete nonsense in order to deliberately muck up an incredibily important dialogue.

    I mean, have you seen the one with the elected representative of the people advising a distraught woman with no health care for her daughter to just go out and by some. I know Marie antoinnette didn’t really say it, but talk about a fucking let them eat cake moment. My decent health insurance costs my wife and I like 15 thousand dollars a year. Where is she going to get the money to eat that straight out of pocket? And just your average health insurance that you can for out of pocket and afford is basically a limited liability for a catastrophe and that’s it.

    I’m a republican and I don’t like all the talk that a government option is the magic switch to simmer down a catastrophically uncontrollable situation. But people who want to blame immigrants and punch people in the face and get their finger bitten off and reattached with the government healthcare they despise are fucking up this debate. And pleasant or not, that is not any right I’m prepared to acknowledge when it comes to fixing the health insurance industry in this country.

    So yeah, that makes them an angry mob filled with misinformation and the bile that would come with it if any of it had even an ounce of truth in it. You don’t get civic duty points when you unwittingly fuck up a debate with baseless vile nonsense and misinformation. And franken gets two points for responding appropriately.

  12. Reminds me of how Paul Wellstone used to work with people back in MN. It’s good to see Al (who was a friend of Paul’s) doing justice to his legacy.

  13. In Cory’s defense, he is Canadian, and in Canada, what we see in this video clip would in fact constitute an angry mob.

  14. Today there was this huge surge of people changing there status in support of healthcare reform. What did that accomplish? Especially when its not that much harder to do something that might actually make a difference. Take action!

  15. I will say my respect for Franken went up due to this video. I suspect few politicians of either party could conduct (or would choose to conduct) such a respectful, reasoned. sensible, informed dialogue with ordinary constituents. Good job, Al.

  16. My biggest concern with frigging with the health care system isn’t the normal concerns of the reactionary right winger. I fully recognize that if society has decided that it is going to make a reasonable attempt to save everyones’ life and will not tell someone to screw off while they are having a heart attack because they can’t pay, you need a system to cover everyone. The alternative is to have our ugly system where the tax payer still pays to save the lives of the uninsured, but does it at the most expensive intervention step possible. So, you can consider me happily on board with the ‘shit is all screwed up’ folks.

    That said, I worry. Currently health care is eating 15% of the GDP. Every time someone reaches into infinitely complex systems and frigs around with 15% of the GDP… I get nervous. That isn’t to say I am against health care reform, but I really wish they had tried to encourage more experimentation out on a state level before gleefully tinkering with the inner workings of a huge portion of the American economy. I would have much rather seen the welfare reform approach that Clinton / Republican congress used in the 90s. They threw open the doors to the states by loosening up federal strings attached to money, let the states try different stuff, and then once it was clear who the winners were, copied it on a national level. I don’t see that with this current health care reform effort. Massachusetts has made its attempt, but here in good old Massachusetts, we are still feeling around and trying to decide if it work.

    It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out, but watching idiots (politicians) tear into the heart of (admittedly screwed up) heart of the US economy doesn’t leave me resting easy.

  17. Doh. Followed the link to the YouTube vid, and yes the description text says that the crowd was more unruly prior to the clip captured.

    An excellent clip, either way.

  18. Man, I could never be a politician. Besides a lot of other points, the one relevant to here would be that trying to argue with stupid people would make my top blow off and I could NEVER be as polite and calm as this guy! Trying to change the mind of people who have already made up theirs based on lousy information would be so draining…

  19. SimeonW @ 15:

    …, and in Canada, what we see in this video clip would in fact constitute an angry mob.”

    Thanks, SimeonW, you just made my day!

  20. Of course, you USians will have to make your own mistakes…but should not MOST of those talking about this problem on TV be sick people who are using the current system, rather than as it seems to be on CNN, etc., healthy people whose paycheck depends on the current system?

    Of course that ol’ FCC “equal-time” rule would maybe have helped. Sick people often speak quietly. While big pharma/insurance cos. Can afford mighty big microphones….paid for from “profits”… gained by denying care to the sick.

    Putting profits before people, the ol’ American way. It makes me sick…

  21. I’m not American, so I’m only an external observer to this debate.

    It seems to me that whilst there is a fundamental rift between two groups in American society – one that believes that healthcare is a right and one that believes it is a privilege – this debate may not be able to move forward in a productive fashion.

    In my country, the public decided that universal healthcare was the mark of a civilised country over sixty years ago. It is not without its problems, but it is better than any alternative.

  22. He’s seems better at this than Obama. I wish I could see how it ends. Does everybody just kinda look around and go home?

  23. Rindan: The US gov has been running interference for the “health-care industry” vs. Joe Public for generations now. To say that “I don’t want the gov to change a thing” when in fact gov is at fault for the way things are (by failing or omitting to act in the public interest) is both specious and spurious. It’s the private for-profit administrative costs of the current system that must be changed: to do that, have a public-only single-payer insurance system. With a mandate to provide health care, not to deliver profits to shareholders& management.

    The solution is crystal-clear: it’s the healthcos. that are “muddying” the waters, by insisting that only their way (ie profits from the illness of others) is the “American Way”.

    How did health-care become an issue of “yahoo” nationalism, anyway? Oh yeah the healthcos wanted the “average American” on their side…it worked for getting the Iraq/Afpak wars started, did it not?

    It’s actually a little more difficult for the healthcos now to get Joe Public to run interference for them ( seeing as Joe Public has sick or elderly relations and kin and knows better), but they’ve got money to burn to bus in useful idiots. Where did those $ come from again? Oh yeah…profits from “providing (edit.: more often from the judicious denial of ) health care”.

  24. Having grown up there I can honestly say that this is the angriest group of Minnesotans I have ever seen outside of a sporting event. Notice how the guy in blue had his arms folded – in DISAPPROVAL!

    Seriously, this video is more about the emotional neuters of the 10,000 lakes than it is about health care. BTW life expectancy there is higher than most states, largely due to abnormally moderate blood pressure.

  25. Props to Franken. People come up to you wearing t-shirts that are, in practice, a big F-U to your party, and you not only stop to talk to them, but do it in such a civilized tone, showing a deep knowledge of the topic and trying to have a reasonable conversation…
    Well, you deserve to be an elected representative of your constituency.

    It’s no surprise that the people opposing healthcare reform tend to be the same who opposed seating Franken on all sorts of technicalities. They were scared he’d be a good senator, and God forbid we let good people run the country!

  26. Worst comedy sketch ever! Not even the least bit funny, I tell ya Franken has lost his shine.

    Oh, it was real, well nice job Al.

  27. futbol – But people who want to blame immigrants and punch people in the face and get their finger bitten off and reattached with the government healthcare they despise are fucking up this debate.

    You go to town hall with the mob you have.

  28. “confronted by an angry mob of teabagger/anti-healthcare-reform types”

    Am I the only one who can’t help but laugh whenever he sees “teabagger”? An angry mob of teabaggers. God help us all.

  29. As a transplanted minnesotan, I’ll ditto the idea that this is, in fact, an angry mob: MN-style. All of these people are also probably in carb-loaded alpha state from too many mini-donuts, pronto pups, and cheese curds at the state fair.

    Go Al! I had my doubts, but I’m glad you can cut the mustard with some rational talk.

  30. Tak: There’s always pervasive surveillance and database infohording. Not to mention the still-present fears of losing your job and/or home due to continuing douchebaggery on the part of major banks.

    UncleEd: also grew up in the TC and completely concur on the temperament of the average adult Minnesotan.

    Mista Spakuru: no, you’re not alone. But do you specifically get images of John Waters movies in your head when you hear/see “teabagger”? Or is that just me.

    And lastly, Dunkydomo: before insulting someone else’s intelligence, it helps to remove the diction errors from your invectives. Why is it so many webtards have such difficulties parsing homonyms, anyway?

  31. Every other civilized country has a system that works better than the utter lack of a system in the US. Period.

    It isn’t brain surgery, folks.

    Americans seem to believe that they are so amazing and special that economics doesn’t apply to them. It does. You spread the risk around to everyone, everything costs less.

  32. Takuan @39: Arbitrary trauma.

    As for the mob headline, it looks like Cory has one gathering to accuse him of there being no mob.

    Which is a very Republican way of doing things. Good job!

  33. Calling people teabaggers is appropriate when all they do is scream and shout to prevent any reasonable discourse on the issue, thereby “controlling the debate” and “perpetuating bullshit ideas”. LOL

  34. Yahhh, dats an angry mob in Minn-eee-soda der. Better watch it. Our scientists have developed weapons grade Lutefisk and we’re not afraid to use it. Yust back avay slowly from the hotdish and no one gets hurt doan cha know.

  35. I work in the insurance industry designing health plans for self-insured companies. I do a lot of nuts and bolts number crunching to determine costs associated with different programs. I’ve looked at these issues in a number of different ways.

    The largest cost center in our current healthcare system is doctors and hospitals. Our physicians are highly rewarded. Hospital administrators, and there are plenty of them, have very high salaries. Pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical equipment makers are making money hand over fist. I’ve seen equipment markers try to charge $60k for a pacemaker. I’ve seen hospitals with flat screen TVs in every room (all private) of their brand new wings.

    The federal government has historically done a poor job of running programs at or below estimated budgets. Medicare, social security, defense programs (remember the $1,000 screwdriver) etc. You have to admit the results have been poor. Other countries such as France and England have been running deficits for years in their health system programs. I’ve seen cost numbers thrown around for the reform programs being debated. I know one thing, whatever public option is chosen will cost more than we are being told.

    Savings from electronic claims processing, unified claims forms, free preventive services and free wellness programs will not be realized until the distant future if ever. These are upfront costs, gambles, that may or may not provide savings. When an actuary costs out an insurance plan for a large employer he does not provide an estimated savings for wellness and preventive services. He tells the employer they will actually pay more.

    I work for self-insured employers. These are companies generally with more than 200 employees that pay claims out of their own pockets. These companies pay fees (relatively low)of around $15 – $25/employee/month to a third party to pay the claims their employees incur. There is no “profit” to the company. There is no “advertising spending”. No super high executive compensation as a result of denial of services. These companies do however have an incentive to keep their employees happy and healthy.

    Private insurers also are incented to keep costs down. They want healthy people to buy insurance and not use it. They also have an incentive for people to have good outcomes from the procedures they receive. Good outcomes = low follow up costs. Good outcomes are driven by early detection and treatment and by drugs. Insurers are also incented to not provide coverage to unhealthy people and to deny treatments that aren’t proven effective.

    If you asked me who I would rather give my tax dollars to in order to provide coverage to all people in the U.S. I would say the insurers with some caveats. As Mr. Franken says, we should mandate coverage for everyone (no preexisting conditions), no annual or lifetime limits and we should cap the amount of payments insurance companies can receive from both the people and the government. I’ll bet the insurers will find a way to improve outcomes, improve member health and sqeeze reimbursements to providers and hospitals in order to make a profit better than the federal government will.

  36. Yep, they are angry, even if they refrain from being actually loud or violent. Thanks for Minnesota politeness!

    But one can hear the anger and anxiety in the confusion they display. And Al Franken does a good job to listen to them and adress both the fear and the confusion, in a rational and civil way. As a wise person once said: “Sometimes, just talking sense is an act of revolution.”

  37. Al did a good job, even without mentioning some of the better “selling points”: Other countries manage to get better outcomes (longevity, child mortality, etc.) with a fraction of health care expenditures per person per year than US. So they get better outcomes at much less cost by insuring everyone. And Medicare, etc., which are very low-cost compared to private insurance, are GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE. So it’s doable, but fear tactics always trump reason. And those who think no other country’s experience is relevant, because this is the USA and this is a different universe, are in some other reality entirely, even if Rush, Sean, Glen Beck etc. can laugh all the way to the bank.

  38. Congrats to Franken for daring to speak to the masses in what appears to be a wide open forum and disucssing it intelligently. On that note I would like to see him and his colleagues state that they will transition the House and Senate health plans over to whatever the final solution comes to be.

  39. “Minnesota Nice” is a form of passive aggressive violence… that makes this down right pitchfork ‘n torches furious.

  40. Not ever seeing him in anything but comedic roles, and not living in MN, it’s my first glimpse of him in full politician mode. Impressive.

  41. This is exactly the debate that needs to happen. In MN we have one of the best hospitals on earth and certainly some of the best health care in the US. Why? Because we don’t F&*K around with for-profit health care. And despite our cost efficiency, we get reamed by the feds. We have to keep hammering home this point.

    Obama’s wed. night speech is a make or break event. If he doesn’t hang it all out there for the public option or go for universal health care, he is not the progressive I voted for. He’s a puppet constrained by the American political machine. I’ll sacrifice the next 20 elections to right of center candidates before support any more faux progressiveness from the dems. The house progressives (60+) who pledged to vote down health care with no public option need to hold the line. A progressive block of do nothing legislation is exactly the kick in the pants BHO and dem leadership need. Progressives are uncomfortable with power, but have the power and we must exercise it NOW.

    I’m impressed by Franken’s dialogue. I’m loathe to support the man, but if he keeps it up, I just may.

  42. I like how he keeps it from becoming personal. He apologized, took it on the shoulder then moved back to the topic. The guy didn’t get upset, didn’t try to shout, and probably felt better as a person for allowing a civil conversation to continue without feeling oppressed or the need to shout back to be heard. THIS is how inter-party dialogue should be done around the country.

  43. This was good to see.

    Perhaps it was because Franken, new to the Senate, retained skills of debate and discourse that atrophy over time in the “collegial” environment of the House and Senate

    Perhaps it was because it was outside and face-to-face at a State Fair – in the noise and sun, where the population is selected on more general terms than so-called “town hall” meetings with air conditioning – and chairs.

  44. @#39 Takuan

    “after they lose the whip of the fear of sickness, what will they find to control you?”

    Fear of terrorism. I predict manipulation of a vague color-based terrorism alert system and a war against a middle-eastern country that has no connection to terrorists or WMDs. Maybe Iraq.

    Rip Van Winkle

  45. @ Ugly Canuk
    Profit incentive on the part of those spending the money is exactly what the system needs to ensure cost controls. Without it there is no incentive to reign in spending. The government lacks this incentive. I do agree that the government could have done more sooner to regulate private insurers and mandate coverage for all.

    @ Jim Terr
    Many other countries programs run at deficits (France for something like 20 years now) so cost estimates are questionable (be wary of who is providing the numbers). Outcomes statistics can also be misleading. Case mix adjustment for factors such as income level, geographic access to quality providers etc. may not be factored in. Also when comparing overall costs to outcomes be aware the the most cost effective approach is to limit costly and sometimes experiemental medical care at the end of life and to provide counseling and assistance to the patient and their relatives. Other countries do more of this.

  46. Having grown up there, Minnesota Nice can be described two ways, the passive/aggressive mode, and the stoic and taciturn mode of friendly but not overly familiar. If you’re one of ‘them,’ this can be quite nice, but ‘they’ aren’t so nice to their others (blacks, Hmongs, Somalis, etc.)

    The quality of life in Minnesota can be greatly attributed to its Democrat Farm Labor heritage. Unions were successful at organizing the mines in the Iron Range, against the strong opposition of the mine owners, and taxes levied and used to build a strong education system, among other commonwealth investments. Too bad so many Minnesotans don’t realize this, as the state has turned more Republican and more fundamental religiously, to its detriment, imo. I’m happy that Al finally made it in, so he can carry the torch left by Paul Wellstone.

  47. And again, I find myself wondering where the f**k you conservative, “concerned citizens” were for the past eight years as the Bush administration pi$$ed away our national treasure on an idiotic foreign adventure.

    No, you’re only concerned when your tax dollars are going to HELP people not when they go to kill people in senseless wars. Get your priorities straight, you damn3d willfully ignorant hypocrites.

  48. Minnesota obviously has a better quality of “mob” than many other states. Perhaps this is what you get with a random sampling of people who just happened to be there, rather than the orchestrated groups who arrive with an angry mission.

    Even so, I wonder if a state fair is still an unskewed demographic? I would assume it leans toward agrarians, and maybe some “city folk” out to have a good time.

    Either way, I’ve never actually met a Minnesotan I didn’t like. Even Jesse Ventura.

  49. I like the way Teapot Lady actually shakes her head ‘no’ when Al says that he thinks we all agree that people shouldn’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. That’s just waiting for karma to com back and bit her on her ass.

  50. ah, I love Al <3 I wish he could get the entire teaparty movement in a single room and talk sense into them like this!

  51. Aide: “There’s an angry mob to see you, sir.”

    Mayor Quimby: “Does it have an appointment?”

    Aide: “Yes it does.”

  52. My god people! Of course they were angry! It was obvious to a true Minnesotan like me.
    Didn’t you see their beady eyes shifting in righteous indignation and distracting background music?
    Can’t you read their passive aggressive body language, what with all the polyester and folds of stomach fat?
    Isn’t it plain that each one of them was filled with that quiet, seething rage that only comes from eating buckets of fried cheese curds and porkchops on sticks?
    These are angry Minnesotans. Fear them. They would have crushed a lesser man than Senator Franken, with their white hot angriousness.
    I love my people. I love my State Fair. And I love America.

  53. They certainly were not some ANGRYRAWRRRRMOB like we’ve seen on the teevee machine, it’s quite the nice conversation and the one lady had some good questions and concerns. But, you can tell by the way some of those people are looking at him and shaking their heads that no matter what he says, they won’t be convinced of anything except the rhetoric and propaganda they’ve heard from the right.

  54. My pinkie, my pinkie, my kingdom for a pinkie but I guess he has that terrible Medicare a “Single-payer health care insurance” what a hypocrite. Did the little pinkie cry “Wee-wee-wee!” all the way home (or I should say “Fake News”)? It real should have been his right pinky finger that would have been a better story. He takes two punches and (as usual) tries to shove something down someone’s throat and gets his pinkie bitten off, now he plays victim. They are haters not debaters.

  55. I liked this. It was thoughtful, nobody was rude to anyone else or Sen. Franken, and he was intelligently explaining why he felt health care *must* be reformed.

    Anyone who disrupts a town hall meeting (which is *not* a campaign rally or a football game) should be expelled. We all have the right to be heard, and no one has the right to shout-down those with whom they disagree.

  56. That was all well and good what he said but it really pissed me off when that man in the back points out that there aren’t enough doctors for the preventive measures he proposes, and then Franken talks about how doctors abuse patients for profits. 700 Billion a year is spent on unnecessary procedures, but it starts at the court room not the OR. If you really want to cut health care cost, there needs to be severe litigation reform, because right now incredibly expensive and superfluous operating practices are being crafted by baseless litigation and it costs us a whole 5% of the American GDP. If you want more doctors, and cheaper health care, make it safer to practice medicine in the US and you will get cheaper more efficient outcomes.

  57. Here’s an idea: A few years ago my aunt had a dog that wouldn’t stop barking. In order to teach her to shut up, they fitted her collar with a little spray bottle that shot a whiff of citronella right in front of her nose when she barked too loudly.

    These collars should be retrofitted with mace and put on each attendee of these ‘town hall meetings’ you seem to be so fond of (I’m Canadian – it’s rubbing off here and we’re not impressed).

    Anyone who speaks above a whisper gets a shot of pepper spray right to the face. Scream too loud and it’s bear spray for shot number two.

    Problem solved. Or maybe not, but it’d make for excellent TV.

  58. It seems to me that whilst there is a fundamental rift between two groups in American society – one that believes that healthcare is a right and one that believes it is a privilege….

    Your view of Americans is skewed then. I am sure you can find some who believe that it is a privilege, but the vast super majority of Americans believe that everyone should receive health care. That doesn’t by default mean that it needs to be government run. Every American believes that people should be able to have food, but no one advocates government run food dispensaries because everyone believes it would be an inefficient travesty and is better run the by the private sector. The central argument is over the ‘best’ way to dispense health care, not if it should be dispensed.

    To say that “I don’t want the gov to change a thing” when in fact gov is at fault for the way things are (by failing or omitting to act in the public interest) is both specious and spurious.

    Come back after you have re-read what I wrote. I never said I don’t want the government to change things or that things are good as they are. I said that changing infinitely complex systems that eat 15% of the GDP and has its claws dug into an ever larger percentage of the economy makes me nervous and that I wish they had tried what they are about to try on a state level first, like how the US dealt with welfare reform, which I think everyone left and right agrees worked out pretty damn well. My concern isn’t what is going to happen to health care, it is the rest of the economy that health care touches. Again, messing with 15% of the GDP, even if it is needed, should make everyone nervous. This is brain surgery on the American economy. It might be needed, but I wish they had taken their time and actually made sure they fully knew that they were doing before doing it.

    Calling people teabaggers is appropriate when all they do is scream and shout to prevent any reasonable discourse on the issue, thereby “controlling the debate” and “perpetuating bullshit ideas”. LOL

    I suppose you feel the same way when you see anti-war protests or climate change protests too? Just a bunch of screaming idiots throwing bricks at any Starbucks they see? You do realize that the news media likes to make all protesters look like unruly screaming morons, right? Protests and discourse are good and health in a democracy. In any protest you have screaming morons. It is pretty disrepsectful to degrade an entire group of people on the actions of a few that get a camera pointed on them after some careful media editing. I can assure you that there are rational and well reasoned people in those protests with rational and well reasoned concerns.

    Obama’s wed. night speech is a make or break event. If he doesn’t hang it all out there for the public option or go for universal health care, he is not the progressive I voted for.

    1) I really doubt Obama is the progressive you think he is. The guy’s has paternal libertarians serving as informal economic advisors…

    2) If he sticks to his guns, the bill wont pass. It is as simple as that. Obama needs a couple of republican votes and all of the democrats votes. If they want it to pass, they are going to have to find a way to sooth all democrats and a couple of republicans. Welcome to the American system of super majority rule.

  59. No, you’re only concerned when your tax dollars are going to HELP people not when they go to kill people in senseless wars. Get your priorities straight, you damn3d willfully ignorant hypocrites.

    Seriously – I came here to say the same thing. It blows my mind how indignant people get over this stuff. It’s like, “How DARE Obama want to waste MY precious tax dollars to keep us healthy!” It just seems absolutely absurd. Like, Twilight Zone style. These people just seem to have lost their faculties completely.

    I know this has been said a lot, but I really do think it’s just thinly-veiled latent racism. There really is no other explanation. Suddenly people are extremely worked up over ‘wasting’ tax dollars, when this past decade has been the most wasteful in history and NOTHING has come of it, other than needless death. WTF ARE we doing in Afghanistan and Irag now? I mean, does ANYONE know? And this doesn’t make these ‘Teabaggers’ (ha) concerned? Where has this anti-spending vocal minority been hiding when it mattered? Oh, right – they were busily stockpiling their guns and buying more cammo in order to protect themselves from them darn A-rabs that were after us all.

    And I bet 99% of these people would call themselves ‘Christian’, yet they have no problem yelling and booing when a dying person in a wheelchair tells a heart-wrenching story about how she’s going to lose her house because of medical costs. The irony is almost insultingly obvious.

    It really is scary how a large part of the American population is so quick to drink the corporate-sponsored misinformation koolaid and then so forcefully defend their position. That’s a hard lot to deal with.

    Oh, and ROCK ON, Franken. I knew it was going to be good when I saw how eloquently he handled himself in the Sotomayor hearings.

  60. I love that the discussion immediately turns to whether or not a group of angry people qualifies to be a mob.

    They were angry, they probably have screamed at a townhall or carried an Obama=Hitler sign, why are we worried that we are characterizing them as too “crazed”.

  61. It’s amazing in this Information Age we still have to convince people not to screw themselves… by providing them with easily accessible information…

    Appropriate Onion article:

    Nation’s Poor Win Election For Nation’s Rich

    P.S. Cory… thank you for posting this here at Boing Boing. You are doing our country a wonderful service by helping to spread the information on health care reform and I respect you tremendously for that. I thank you and even the wingnuts in the future will finally thank you down the road once they realize what this all truly means.

    I believe getting a single payer system (or something very close to it) will be the next largest achievement in this country since the civil rights movement. This will positively affect nearly every woman, man and child regardless of color. It’s going to save lives… many lives in many aspects of the term…

    Cory, you fricken’ rock!!!!

  62. The profit motive in health care keeps costs down alright: by denying necessary medical care to the sick; and by pushing those with “pre-existing” (that includes I guess those who have already lost their previous coverage) conditions out into the street, or onto the public plan…while private insurers continue cherry-pick (the pockets) of the healthy & wealthy. Rationing of care by the ability to pay, not by medical need.

    The private insurance cos. only want you as a customer if your healthy.

    How long after your sickness knocks you out of employment do those employer-provided benefits last? Not long eh? D’ya think worrying about the cost of one’s health care is beneficial to one’s health?

    Why not crate a health care system “incentivized” (Horrible word! Why not ‘motivated”?) by compassion for one’s sick and suffering fellow citizens?

    Instead of just as now an system of employment subsidy? As I understand it, jobs are hard to come by.

    No job = no health care, eh?

    Apparently simple compassion for your suffering fellow creatures is not enough of an incentive? Then how about the personal self-interest of the vast majority of Americans? Because it’s a certainty that one day you all will need health care (and may that day be long in coming!), whether or not you (or your spouse or your parents) have got a job or insurance coverage.

    Last time I checked, you don’t need either of those things to vote. So when are things gonna change?

    Public insurance means all risks (ie all people) pay into one pot: in the course of time, some will need much during the course of their lives from that pot, others will need very little.

    One insurance plan to cover them all…with add-ons available from the private sector for the elective non-essential stuff.

  63. One more thing about costs: your present private (non-government) system is the most expensive on the planet…do it state-by-state? That’ll be a race to the bottom: it’s got to be national in scope, or one little right-wing parasite State could screw it up for all of them. And State politicians usually come cheaper for the Insurance Cos., and are easier to cow, than Fed politicians.

    15% of GDP too much to trust to government handling? I understand that 50% of the health care system’s costs goes into paying for the administration of claims & payments….every little ins. co. must needs do paperwork…knock that out and you can double the actual amount of health care you’re paying for (ie doctors & hospitals), without spending more then you are now.

    More to the point: a single-payer universal health-care system does wonders for how people view the Government. The average Joe finally gets something useful for their taxes besides infrastructure (which mostly benefits/subsidizes the business classes) and the police forces & prisons (which mostly serve to keep the little people in line & obedient)!

  64. Full disclosure: I am a citizen of Sweden.


    Please consider that I am seeing this from the outside. But this is one of the few occasions that I have seen an adult talk about the health care system in the USA.

    I have been totally appalled, yes, -I really felt a queasy feeling in my stomach- from seeing much of the previous “debate”. It has been a total travesty.

    Granted, this may not qualify as an angry mob, but I guess that the woman dressed in the tea party T-shirt did not go to the country fair other than with the expectation to chant some easy slogans.

    I am not upset with her, because it is clear that she has been led by some (well funded) interests other than her own self-interest. She did not print that swanky t-shirt, she did not think of the talking points.

    Okay, let’s get to the point. You may think that you are heading to socialism. Big deal, Get over it already. Here in Sweden we’ve have had a Social Democratic goverment for decades and decades. We’re not enslaved. Even if you were to ask the most right wing person here they would have to admit that we’re living a pretty good life, for being a “socialist hellhole”.

    So, please for the sake of all that is holy, let the Democrats under Obama give you well deserved universal health care. Don’t give a damn about the lunatic fringe (R). You voted for change, so don’t be upset if you get it!

    And –then– you have fulfilled another promise given by the “American Dream”.

    You cannot have it both ways: extolling the virtues of your precious military (see: government run) and in the same breath chastising the foolish idea of an government run health care system.

    And to the greedy insurance scum: Don’t worry, you’ll make some money anyway. Trust me, or rather; trust your greedy fscking instincts. (What’s a billion here and there really?)

  65. Hooray for Franken who barely made it into the Senate. Love his when he was a comedian on SNL, loved him on Air America, love him as a politician. Thank God he won!

  66. The right-wingers who rely on slogans and phrases and demonization are never going to be logically argued out of their positions any more than creationists or 9/11-truthers are.

    There has always been a right-wing authoritarian portion of the human species. They periodically gain power and do terrible, terrible things. The amount of control and power and influence they have in America today is frightening and disheartening.

    The people who rush to use phrases like “Obamacare” and “Hillarycare” and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” and “Borking” and “Teleprompter-in-Chief” and “Breck Girl”, and who immediately started calling it “The *Terrorist* Surveillance Program” the moment the Bush Administration did, and who gleefully wore purple-heart Band-aids in 2004… THESE are the people who poison our discourse on a daily basis. I don’t think there’s anything we can do about them, now that we no longer have any functional secular civic organizations or journalism in this country. Oh, well, it was nice knowing you…

  67. I can understand how so many seem surprised that Al Franken is so well spoken and thoughtful. I volunteered on his campaign and have known him now for three years. If you like what you see today then you are in luck -he’s like this all the time. He is whip smart but connects at a genuinely personal level. And you see in the video he treated the skeptics with respect. Dusty (the blogger) will be putting the whole video up soon and you’ll see that Minnesotans can get a bit more unruly than they appear in this edit.

    Better yet, his gift for setting up a joke and timing the punch line happens to translate very well into laying out a logical case and driving his conclusion home. His explanation of health care in the video, and at events around the state in the state has been so effective that Obama should step aside at his upcoming address and let Al do the splainin’.

    It has amazed me that Republicans liked to make fun of the fact that Al was an entertainer, implying or even saying and entertainer had no business running for office.

    Unless they were Republicans: Ronald Reagan, the hard workin’ Fred Thompson, Ahhnnold, Sonny Bono, Fred Grandy (Gopher from The Luuuuuv Boat)and at the local level, Squint Eastwood. And don’t forget their newest act -the hilarious Michelle Bachmann!

  68. i just got back from the Fair and the only way you could raise an angry mob in Minnesota would be to shut down the Corn Dog stands.have said that,thank you Senator Franken..
    P.S. the free bus ride line was long but no angry mobs formed.

  69. This is the Al Franken I listened to on Air America Radio for 2 years. He is smart and reasonable and has a strong sense of moral purpose without being too serious all the time. He can tell a joke, sometimes and laugh at himself.

    Everyone should listen to the guy who took over Al’s radio show when Al ran for Senate, Thom Hartmann. He’s very good too and you’ll learn a bunch just by listening.

  70. I use to hate Friday night and month end processing because of all the unpaid EMS bills that just kept accumulating for Charleston County. The forms were progressively difficult to print, then decollate, and they constantly jammed the bluster.

    Not my problem anymore since they decided to bring those people in from India to take my job. Anybody got a link to famous South Park episode? You know the “They took our jobs!”

  71. I don’t agree with Franken on almost everything, however, this is how it should be done.

    The crowd clearly was knowledgeable and reasonable. Franken (and I’m actually a little surprised) seems to realize that his job IS to be responsible to constituents. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but kudos to him.

    A lot of this rage comes from the politicians ramming things down our throats, and then proclaiming from on high why we should shut up and like it. Boxer, Pelosi, Reid, Barney Frank, Louise Slaughter (local rep here), and others just spit in the face of voters. I’m glad Franken at least will dialogue and not demagogue.

  72. Angry mob? They look pretty calm and rational to me. A rarity among far right protesters right now, for sure, but the title is misleading/biased.

    It’s nice to see decent discourse can prevail. It seems like all this health-care reform is dominated by childish shouting these days.

  73. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that lately, whenever a (‘Mercan?) public-policy issue is discussed on on BB, there seems to be a lot more than the usual number unsigned comments? With words like: “I do a lot of nuts and bolts number crunching to determine costs associated with different programs. I’ve looked at these issues in a number of different ways.”

    Can you spell ‘astroturf campaign’?

    I knew you could.

    For the record:
    Yes, the major cost is the actual medical care, as it should be. But the next biggest cost (coming a close second, in the USA) is the administration of health care. This includes the profit margins of the ‘administrators’, of the drug companies, etc…

    Most civilized countries have made a decision to essentially eliminate this easy-to-control cost in health care. And to eliminate any and all barriers to health care (money, essentially) for its citizens.

    This decision, made be all the rich countries except the USA (even Cuba!) and has resulted in better population health outcomes in all of them. And all of them do better overall than the USA does.

    Is this really such a complicated issue?

  74. thequickbrownfox commented:

    Well, they didn’t bite his fingers off.

    Cute, but let’s not lose track of the fact that it was the pro-healthcare reform advocate that resorted to biting, not the anti-reform advocate…

    That’s how the local press is reporting it, as well as a national press agency (AP) are reporting it…

  75. hey everybody thats minnesota that IS an angry mob in minnesota style! because in minnesota people dont get as angry as in other parts of the country get it?

  76. Not for nothing, but even the “anything for a headline” crew over at Huffington Post didn’t call this an “angry mob”:

    While coverage of the health care reform debate has focused on yelling, booing and fistfights, not all engagements between lawmakers and constituents turn hostile. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) discussed his beliefs and goals about health care reform at the Minnesota State Fair Wednesday with a group of constituents, and calmed down some who were upset, giving clear, honest answers to thought-out, sincere questions. “I thank you for your passion,” he says to a vocal member of the crowd, “we need that, and we need to have these conversations.” And then, remarkably, she calms down, and everyone discusses the matter in a reasonable and cool-headed manner.

    Cory, are you all out of strikethroughs?

  77. Al Franken talks an anti-healthcare-reform, republican voting, Bush-loving, cretinous bunch of wastes of skin that cheerfully burn brown children alive so they can drive their SUVs to their klan meetings while watching the oceans rise group of citizens down?

  78. Hmmm, Al Franken does an amazing job at keeping the discourse civil and articulate — and so the only thing we can argue and focus on is whether it’s an “agry mob.” Let’s make that the argument, cuz it’s winnable! Let’s devote 40 comments to whether they were angry or not (videographer’s comments that Al had gotten them down to the point we see them at) … and gee, why would anyone come up with the term “angry mob” lately — gosh, we’ve seen no evidence to support this at recent townhall meetings … forget the spectacle of seeing people hopped-up on-the-Fox getting articulate and well-reasoned answers …

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