photo by Steve Steffens

According to accounts from the Steve Cohen health care event in Memphis Tennessee, the teabaggers are showing up armed:

Steve Steffens at Left Wing Cracker: "Randy Wade is to be complimented as well; he arranged for security. There were actually idiots who brought guns (legally, it seems they had carry permits, but why did they feel they needed them?). Yes, you read that right, and Randy made them all check in with the Sheriff’s Deputies on hand.

Gordon G via FDL Event Tracker: "Beginning early in the proceedings many attendees who were clearly against health insurance reform began trying to speak (and shout) out of turn, at times chanting in unison. These bullying attempts were contained by the rest of the crowd, who variously applauded speakers supporting reform, demanded that hecklers behave, and engaged thugs one-on-one to keep the peace."

Steve Ross at vibinc: After the introductions, a line of about 8 Doctors formed to talk about healthcare reform. Many expressed concern about the “public option”. Cohen made no attempts to disagree with them or anything, but allowed them each to talk for a few minutes about both the problems and their concerns. This was not scripted or pre-planned. I really think, in the end, it was an effective strategy to keep the opposition off their game, and some good points were raised, though they were difficult to hear and impossible to record due to all the mumbling and grumbling that was a constant at the event.

Tennessee Wisc Dem: The thing I wish Steve hadn’t done was ask any doctors present to speak first. Did he think doctors would be liberal? He thereby gave voice to every right-wing talking point you have heard. Several times he had to follow a doctor by saying "It’s not in the bill." I remember this especially with care for illegal aliens, but abortion and euthanasia both came up. The most prominent sign in the room was "don’t kill my GiGi." When Steve specifically said there was nothing in the bill to do this, and praised his family’s experience with hospice, he was roundly booed.

Here’s what I don’t understand — Cohen is in a D+18 PVI district. If the rest of the country wants a public plan by a 76% margin, his district has to be considerably more in favor of one than that.

Why is he front loading the meeting with anti-public plan "authority figures" if he intends to hold the line for what he says he believes in? It’s something I’d be doing if I knew I was going to take a bad vote.

If anyone has a report from a recess event, let us know in our event reporting tool.