The most shocking thing, and the worst thing, about the fake healthcare riots and the very real thuggishness of the paid Republican operatives involved in them is not that they're happening. That's what Republicans do, after all. No, the really terrible thing is that by all appearances, the Democratic party was caught completely by surprise.This isn't the only place where this is happening. Democratic legislators, too, seem to have forgotten what happened while the Republicans were in charge. That's why there's that drive for "bipartisanship"; they aren't willing or able to acknowledge that their overtures will be thrown back in their faces.
It's as if the eight years of Bush/Cheney, with its lockstep Republican Congressional goons, its relentless intimidation and marginalization of anyone to the left of the John Birch Society, its proactive (and successful) effort to target Democrats for prosecution by hand-picked Attorneys-General - it's as if all of that - and so much more - never happened.
Democratic leadership once again failed to perceive political reality as it is in 21st century America: The Republican Party is dominated by fascists who will do anything, anything at all, to undermine what's left of this country's democracy after the successful Bush/Cheney assault on it. After all, this is a party that used the Department of Homeland Security to hunt down Democrats when they bolted from Texas in order to avoid committing political suicide. After all, this is a party that aggressively opposes the regulation of computerized voting machines, voting machines manufactured by none other than prominent members of their own party.
Shutting down town hall meetings is precisely the kind of tactic these characters love, they spend night and day meticulously planning them, and get well-paid to boot. Shame on Democrats for not seeing these latest Republican riots coming.
I think Tristero is right in calling the Dems out, but let's be honest: the environment has a lot to do with this, too. The Dems won big in 2008, and it makes sense that they'd think that the Republicans would acknowledge their "mandate": after all, that's what they did for the Republicans whenever they win big. They're projecting their own attitudes onto their seemingly-similar counterparts in the other party, and don't get that the modern Republican attitude and mindset is completely different than both the modern Democrats and the pre-movementarian Republicans.
And Washington is still very much a Republican-friendly town. The lobbyists are giving money to Dems, but to Republican-inspired corporate ends; and the media fetishizes a "bipartisan" community so much that they couldn't care less about what kind of country that community would build.
Just look at Broder.
In that environment, it's no wonder that Dems are ill-prepared to face the challenges ahead of them. The Republicans are still better at the game than they are, after all. It's the Republicans bankrupt, terrible ideology that lost it for them; they still walk all over the Dems when it comes to politickin'. That hasn't changed, and won't change, until the Dems give their heads a shake and adapt to fighting the opposition they have, instead of the opposition they want to have.