It's August, and in the world of politics that means something else besides terrible heat, bad movies, and the inexplicable mental slowness that descends on everyone. It means a month-long congressional recess, lawmakers returned home from Washington, and the subsequent facing of music. This year it also means campaigns.
- July 28: A health care protester poses for a photo while hanging Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) in effigy at a protest on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
- August 3: Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are booed loudly and shouted down at a town-hall event in Philadelphia. Pleading with the crowd for civil debate, they are unsuccessful.
- August 3: Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) is shouted down at a town-hall event in Austin, Texas. Protesters follow him to his car in the parking lot, berating him and chanting in opposition to health care. One sign depicts Doggett with devil horns.
- August 5: Rep. Brad Miller's (D-NC) communications director tells TPMDC that his office has received death threats and that the congressman won't be holding any town-halls, just one-on-one meetings about health care.
- August 6: On the same day, two town-hall meetings boil over into violence. Outside an event in Mehlville, MO (an exurb of St. Louis), members of SEIU clash with a street vendor. Punches appear to be thrown, and two men are on the ground. Six people, including a reporter, were arrested. And at a town-hall meeting held by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) in Tampa, local media reports on at least two scuffles. A video shows shoving and angry shouting. At least one attendee had his shirt torn.
- August 7: Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), 83 years old and the longest-serving member in the history of the House of Representatives, holds a town-hall meeting in his district. The father of a man with cerebral paulsy shouts in Dingells face, claiming his son will be denied health care if Democratic reforms are enacted.
- August 10: Sen. Arlen Specter gets it again: an angry constituent confronts him at another town-hall meeting and shouts at him, claiming Specter's office lied to him and that he had been denied the opportunity to speak at the event. Specter prevents the man from being hauled out by security. After a diatribe, the man leaves.
- In the most bizarre twist of all, which fittingly happened as it concluded, a supporter of health care reform leaves a pro-reform rally and, walking through an anti-reform protest across the street, gets in an altercation with a 65-year-old who opposes health reform. The reform supporter bites off the reform opponent's pinky finger.