Hey, Obama, the Anger’s Not ‘Manufactured’ It’s REAL

Guest Opinion

Hey, Obama, the Anger’s Not ‘Manufactured’ It’s REAL

The anger that is being seen at town hall meeting is far from manufactured.  It is genuine, heartfelt, deeply felt, and increasingly widespread.

Confronted by the mass-uprising against the Democrats’ plans to take over health care in the name of reform, the left-wing message machine has kicked into high gear.

Desperate to explain away enormous citizen responses to nearly every public appearance by a member of Congress in recent days, the Soros-backed Center for American Progress issued the new talking points on Friday.  Their claim:

Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform.

Within days, as usual, The New York Times, the White House, and the full constellation of so-called progressive interests were following their lead. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called it “manufactured anger,” which is such delicious irony as he parrots the talking points from the Center for American Progress.

As one of the senior staff members at Americans for Prosperity, I’m flattered that the power to “manufacture” massive, widespread anger is attributed to us.  If we had that skill, I’m sure we would have won a few more fights in recent years. 

The reality is people join our organization and other free market grassroots groups like FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union, and RecessRally.com because they are angry about what’s going on and they want to make a difference.  They tell us what’s important and worth fighting for, not the other way around.  We just send them news about what’s happening in Washington and let them know about opportunities to get involved in their areas.  We provide information.  They are already highly motivated.

On April 15th we saw more than a million people take to the street during the tea parties, a scale of action so broad that any claims of being artificially “manufactured” were on their face absurd.  All over the country people who normally go about their daily lives, worrying about work and family, are so fed up with the direction in Washington that they are getting politically involved for the first time in their lives.

One of our goals at Americans for Prosperity is to help them to be the most effective activists they can be.  We are trying to teach people who haven’t been involved before that calling and writing to people other than their own representatives is counterproductive, because it clogs the lines and blocks real constituent calls from getting through.  We are telling people not to be disruptive or violent, to keep things civil and be sure their voices are heard.

That some situations have got out of control is unfortunate, and it is something we are working hard to stop.  The anger that is being seen at town hall meeting is far from manufactured.  It is genuine, heartfelt, deeply felt, and increasingly widespread.  Polling shows that the anger on display at town hall meeting is representative of the overall public: according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, the public is now opposed to the health care reform being debated in Congress by 49 percent to 47, which is close, but those who strongly oppose far outnumber those who strongly support the reform by 41 percent to just 25 percent.

Certainly, groups like Americans for Prosperity have a role to play in the protests we are seeing, and we’re proud that we are helping people connect and getting them the information they need to be effective activists.  But it wouldn’t be possible without the tens of thousands of real people who are giving up time from their lives and families to make a difference.  Our health care effort, joinpatientsfirst.com is supported by donations from thousands of patients across the country who are concerned about what a Washington takeover of health care means for them.  Members of Congress who follow the Center for American Progress talking points as an excuse to ignore real grassroots anger over health care may learn how real it is come election day 2010.

Mr. Kerpen is director of policy for Americans for Prosperity, which runs the health care web site www.JoinPatientsFirst.com.  He can be reached through www.philkerpen.com.


  1. One part of manufacturing a movement is to claiming much higher turn-out for events. One million people did not turn out for the April 15th tea parties, it was likely 250K, if that.

  2. I think it is also important to point out that the behavior being seen is not in fact spontaneous but has been pre-planned by volunteers working on this issue, lie the memo from FreedomWorks volunteer Bob MacGuffie which the following advice:

    – Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

    – Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

    – Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

    I certainly won’t begrudge people protesting in such a forceful manner as it can be effective, but please don’t pretend it is not coordinated.

  3. The funny thing is that according to liberals, you’re damned if you organize and you’re damned if you don’t organize!

    I love the fact that the working class taxpayers are now sacrificing their time, talent and treasure to stand up to the obamination taking place in this country. I just wish they would have done so before the 2008 election.

  4. DSW,
    Who is footing the bill?

  5. The taxpayers, their children and their grandchildren. And since conservatives tend to have more chilren than liberals, consevatives will bear the long-term burden of liberal policies.

    Am I happy that we are finally organizing? You bet! It’s about time we got off our butts and did something to confront this move in the wrong direction.

  6. DSW,
    I mean who is footing the bill for the Freedomworks and AFP efforts.

  7. Taxpayers/donors who don’t want to see this obamination occur in this country. Let’s turn the same question around and ask who’s funding the DNC’s “Organizing for America” ad campaign?

    According to The Hill,

    “The new advertisements are the first significant pokes the Obama administration, through its political wing at the Democratic National Committee, have taken at centrists in their own party. OFA has been organizing around healthcare reform for the past month and a half, kicking off its canvassing program on June 6.

    And the administration has no intention of being rolled by members of its own party. OFA could launch a new series of ads as the healthcare debate continues, according to a Democratic source.”

    Also from the Washington Post: “Obama Announces ‘Organizing for America'”

    “The new group had been long expected within Obama’s inner circle and, although no details on how it would be staffed were released by the transition office today, it is expected that longtime Obama loyalists will be placed in charge — following the blueprint set out at the DNC.”

    Feel free to submit this blog to the Adminisration as they prepare for their re-education campaign.

  8. Veritas Vincit says

    todd, nice to see you again… now to your comments in posting #1, How can you substantiate your claim? Or are you wearing those nifty sunglasses sold on Diversity Lane?

    As for posting #2; I can counterfeit a bogus memo on the internet too (even a few ID documents if pressed; like a certificate of live birth comes to mind. Its really quite easy if no one is watching you) Not that I ever would mind you.

    todd, re: posting #4 I’d ask you the same question when they hold those massive “Immigrant Rights” rally’s and other kooky leftist marches for odd things and the sort. You know, ACORN (which is hiring in Arizona for $24K/yr … but then again, where do they get their funding?

    There’s a whole constellation of crack-pot funding sources for the Lefty kooks.

  9. Tucson Vice says

    And the red-shirted extremists who all decided to gather at the Giffords and Grijava protests and scream at passing cars together? Was that random as well?


  10. These very odd people shutting off debate and dialogue with their bizarre chanting appear to have been sitting in their attics since the anti-tax tea parties, listening for signs of alien aircraft. But on the bright side, they’ve finally got something to distract them from the president’s birth certificate.

    I know that most of the people who read this site in Arizona must be very hot under their tinfoil hats these days, so we in New York can understand that your brains are melted a bit.

  11. And, again, do any of you laughable people on the far-right fringe who protest this “obamanation” have any solution or alternative to offer for the following serious problems:

    –The high overhead costs of for-profit insurance companies?

    –The expenditures forced on doctors to comply with the requirements of dealing with so many insurance plans?

    –The high costs of malpractice insurance?

    –The use of expensive diagnostic tests instead of taking a comprehensive history and doing a complete physical examination?

    –The extraordinary amounts of costs associated with treatment of a few specific diseases and with treatment of patients in the last six months of life?

    –The high and growing number of uninsured, whose medical treatment we all pay for, whether in lower salaries, higher copayments and premiums, and higher taxes?

    Those of us who are normal Americans are trying to solve these problems. If you were one of us in the mainstream, you might be able to comprehend this.

  12. For myself, I am certain that in Obama’s second term (or the first term of the next president), I will be covered by what you on the fring called “socialized medicine.”

    We normal Americans call it Medicare. And it’s pretty popular.

  13. James Davidson says

    Professor Grayson:

    You have posed some good questions, and so here are some answers:

    1. High overhead at for profit insurance companies:

    Conservative answer: If this does exist in reality rather than in liberal talking points, more competition, particularly across state lines, and hope that Wal-Mart, with its extremely low overhead, gets into this line of business.

    Liberal answer: Let government do it. Then we’ll all go to paper-work heaven.

    2. Paperwork forced on doctors resulting from having to deal with so many plans:

    Conservative answer: We like competition. and so if paperwork results from it, prices will go up for the insurance companies with the most paperwork, and make them less competitive, and their book of business will shrink and they’ll do something about it or be forced out of business.

    Liberal answer: Let government do it so we can create a paperwork explosion.

    3. High costs of malpractice insurance:

    Conservative answer: Tort reform to shut down greedy trial lawyers.

    Liberal answer: We like greedy trial lawyers because they fund our candidates big time, so we’re going to strangle tort reform every time it comes up.

    4. Overuse of expensive diagnostic tests:

    Conservative answer: We’re all for reducing needless tests, which is why we support tort reform so strongly. If doctrors aren’t scared of being sued, you’ll see diagnostic tests drop substantially.

    Liberal answer: Raise it as a straw man but don’t really do much about it.

    5. “The extraordinary amounts of costs associated with treatment of a few specific diseases and with treatment of patients in the last six months of life?”

    Conservative answer: We finally are smoking you liberals out. I went round and round with Todd and Kral to get this on the table, and they dodged it. Now Professor Grayson serves it up as a fat pitch. We believe in the equal dignity of every life, no matter how feeble or hopeless. Let the doctor and family decide what’s best for Grandma and Grandpa in the last six months of life. Most people do not want to go through hopeless procedures, hooked up to machines for six months, and would prefer to die with dignity.

    Liberal answer: We ration care, so cut them off and let them die (we all have to at some point) but do it with nice fancy Orwellian double-talk as they do in Britain to obsure what you really are doing.

    5. Dealing with the uninsured:

    Conservative answer: Determine why people really are uninsured. If they are young and healthy and decide they don’t want to buy insurance, that’s a decision they have made. If they are here illegally, send them home. If they work for small businesses that cannot afford to provide health insurance (e.g. the single-mom waitress who makes just too much for AHCCCS), help them with the premiums to buy a private policy. I had one for ten years and it works just fine.

    Liberal answer: Ruin the existing system that generally works fine for the 80% who have insurance. Create a single-payer government behemoth like the V.A. Run up costs and bankrupt the country.

    6. Medicare as socialized medicine: Not quite. It is more of a Bismarckian plan of social insurance when you pay in during your working years and draw out in your retired years. The system of providing care — the doctors, the nurses, and the hospitals — are still largely private.

    The poor V.A. system that is foisted on our veterans is closer to a true socialized plan. I have some experience with it. I lost a family member when the VA failed to catch a cloud on the lung x-ray, and cancer developed and killed her. I lost another family member when he went in for exploratory surgery on a lung and the doctor removed it without permission and a week later another doctor punctured the remaining lung. He couldn’t make it without having a lung to breathe with. I have a family member who was feeling run down and went to the VA where they told him he had anemia and gave him some pills. The pills weren’t doing him any good so he went to a private doctor who got him into a great Phoenix hospital because he had bone cancer. He would have died if he kept taking the pills for anemia.

    And then of course there is the Walter Reed scandal.

    And this is what socialized medicine provides for our veterans whom we should do our best to honor and care for since they have given so much to us.

  14. James,
    I am not dodging anything and I object to the claim that I am for cutting of care to the elderly and allowing them to die. Furthermore, are you seriously suggesting that in our current system decisions about care are not made in part on financial costs? If you are, I think you are sadly misinformed.

    You keep asserting that the currently discussed plans will lead to denying life saving care to elderly because you claim systems that aren’t being proposed by Congress for the US deny life saving care to their elderly. It would seem you have a substantial task here if this is to be taken seriously. Please point to reasonable evidence, not conjecture, that 1) universal care systems allow their elderly to die rather than give them treatment at some level above our own and 2) that whatever is being proposed here in the US has the same traits and will lead to this outcome. I still have not heard anything from you to indicate why these claims should be taken seriously.

    Medicare is in fact a single payer socialized system. The payer is the government. I think you have some confusion because you focus so much on the UK’s system in which the government owns hospitals. In many countries with socialized medicine there are both public and private hospitals just like the US. However, again the plans being suggested in the US are sadly not socialized medicine even though AFP and Freedomworks want to tell us differently.

    I don’t want to defend the VA system but I can assure you that we can find horror stories of among the private sector. Where is the data to support you claim that the care is worse.

  15. VV
    #1 – My claim is form published estimates. If AFP has estimates above these I suggest it is their job to substantiate them.

    #2 – The memo isn’t bogus. IF you have evidence to the contrary, post it.

    #4 – I have no problem with any group that actually tell us where their funding comes from. DSW’s taxpayers/donors is meaningless. I want to know how much funding comes from corporate interests and who these interests are.

    BTW, I think twitter is the perfect venue for you since you can post your tweets without people seeing any responses.

  16. kralmajales says

    Todd is absolutely right and the fact that this guest opinion even appears is proof positive that those organizing this are starting to get a little worried that people attending might learn that it is NOT bipartisan and that it is clearly a right wing conservative group.

  17. kralmajales says

    What interests me most is that Trent Humphries is organizing the Tea Party here in S. Arizona. When I posted on the Gila Courier the same evidence that James did about Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity, they flipped out! Untrue! No coordination. BS.

    And Trent, I hear you are running again. Great. If you plan to use this “movement” as a vehicle for your campaign, you take a MASSIVE risk. The tea party is quickly being shown to be extremist and very much NOT bipartisan. You might do well in a primary if you want to take out Vic Williams for instance, but you will be forever labelled as the organizer of this group (you were good on tv by the way…sincerely) and will likely be pinned that way when you run in what is a moderate district.

    Also, stay away from Al Melvin. If you are planning a coup against Vic Williams (as is rumored), you might very well go down with the Captain’s ship.

  18. Isn’t it great to see the “Community Organizer In Chief” advocating against community organizing? This administration is becoming increasingly Orwellian in its philosophy and tactics. Last time I checked, the First Amendment was still in effect. If you government-run health care advocates want exposure, then marshall your own community organizers! And we’ll be glad to meet you as non-violent civilized individuals in the streets. Put up or shut up! As far as specific individuals leading these efforts, wasn’t the “Community Organizer In Chief” one of these people when he ran for office? This is really starting to look like “some individuals are more equal than other individuals.”

  19. One reason Republicans are so afraid of health care reform is that they fear it will be prove so popular and successful – like Medicare, the “socialized medicine” program I will be on soon, merely because I’ll be old enough.

    Compare health care with the Cash for Clunkers program, which this blog’s fringe writers have been inveighing against. It’s been far too successful — dealers have been swamped, people are lining up to buy cars that burn less gas and bring instant cash to crippled local economies.

    This is old fashioned stimulus of a sort that Republicans have always advocated, using financial incentives to change behavior. Rep. Candice Miller, a sensible Republican from Michigan, called it “the best $1 billion of economic stimulus the government has ever spent.”

    But look where the rest of Miller’s party is. Last week, Sen. John McCain threatened to lead a filibuster rather than let Cash for Clunkers continue to September, as the House has agreed to do with an additional $2 billion from money already approved in the stimulus law.

    He backed off this week, though he and other critics continued to treat Cash for Clunkers as anathema.

    They hate it, these Republicans, because it’s a huge hit. It’s working as planned, and this cannot stand. America must fail in order for President Obama to fail. Don’t be surprised if the tea party goons now being dispatched to shout down town hall forums on health care start showing up at your car dealers, megaphones in hand.

    The hate-America types who control Sonoran Alliance are rooting for our great country to fail.

    Well, we normal patriotic Americans are not going to let that happen.

  20. kralmajales says

    Come on…DSW…dont go to that Limbaugh we are victims type a language. You know, that stuff that makes it sound like conservatives really need to stick together or its ok if they do it but not if we do stuff.

    Look the Tea Party is democracy. The rich do have a right to organize too. So do insurance companies. But a good democracy call ASTROTURF what it is…PLASTIC.

  21. James Davidson says


    1. I would disagree that Medicare is socialized medicine. I would describe it as a hybrid. From your past posts I know you are familiar with the literature. There are two main models in Europe, the so-called Beveridge-type (Britain) and the Bismarckian-type (Germany.) The Beveridge type is what I would call socialized medicine. The government pays for the system from general revenues, most hospitals are government-run, and most doctors are government employees. The Bismarckian type is a hybrid. The government pays the costs but from an earmarked tax (like the medicare tax) so that those who pay in eventually draw out. The government does not run most hospitals and most doctors are not government employees. The Japanese essentially use this system. I would describe the medicare system as coming closer to the German than the British models.

    2. If you took my comment as suggesting that you want to cut off old folks, I apologize. I think a fair reading of all your posts would not support that. I took the opening from Professor Grayson’s earlier post about containing costs in the last six months and ran with it.

    3. If the Dartmouth studies are accurate (and they are partially funded by insurance company foundations) spending among American cities in the last year of a person’s life is widely divergent. Doesn’t President Obama or Secretary Sebelius have authority to issue regulations now to establish uniform treatment protocols? If so why do they hesitate? If Dartmouth is right, that would save enormous sums without making major changes in the current system. But they could not getto single-payer by obvious and relatively painless reforms, again assuming Dartmouth is right.


    Cash for clunkers is idotic.

    First, do we really want to subsidize foreign car copmanies? Three out of four of the top beneficiaries were foreign.

    “Ford Motor Co.’s Focus was the top seller, followed by Toyota Motor Corp.’s Corolla, Honda Motor Co.’s Civic and Toyota’s Prius and Camry, data from the department showed today.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a3CNK6Olm0hc – – Cached

    Second, how do we know that the buyers aren’t going to default six months from now or later a la the housing crisis?

    Third, how do we know that the subsidy goes only to American citizens?

    Fourth, why favor the car industry to the exclusion of the rest of the economy?

  22. Tucson Vice says


    Community organizing is one thing.

    Lumping that in with the fanatics who I literally saw screaming at passing cars outside Grijalva’s office? That isn’t organizing.

    If you want to be taken seriously and not as fringe lunatics and extremists, stop acting like fringe lunatics and extremists, and try enforcing a little party discipline instead of letting them go like rabid animals.

    And yes, you will always have good numbers at your protests. The simple fact is that it takes no (zero) intellectual fortitude to get on board with the teabagger movement. Alienating minorities and gays is easy. Telling the government “screw you, it’s my money” is easy, short sighted and simple minded.

    Put up or shut up? Brother, we have put up. Regardless of how many teabaggers you guys have screaming on the street, our southern Arizona members of congress are both liberal democrats, and will continue to be, and you know it.

    We HAVE put up. We got our candidates elected to congress. You have NOT put up, in that you FAILED in the congressional races. So, if the options are to put up or shut up, and you haven’t “put up,” then please…

    …shut up.

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