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Tea Party activists swarm Capitol Hill -- can they kill healthcare bill?

olice stand near protesters outside Portsmouth High School where President Barack Obama held a town hall on health care in July 2009
The Tea Party is coming to Washington today.

Minnesota's firebrand Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann stoked the rebellion by organizing today's noontime rally against healthcare reform on the steps of the Capitol. Galvanizing the anger that erupted over the issue at last summer's congressional town hall meetings, she urged her loyal band of citizen lobbyists to "Go into the Capitol and find members of Congress. Don't bring your pitchforks, bring your video cameras. And get them on record saying how they're going to vote and why."

Predicting that the healthcare bill would impose huge tax increases on Americans, Bachmann called the battle "the Super Bowl of Freedom," adding: "Nothing is more influential than an eyeball-to-eyeball meeting between a freedom-loving constituent and a member of Congress. Nothing scares a member of Congress more than freedom-loving Americans."

Heeding the call but unable to make the trip, some activists in Arkansas are planning to engage in what might be called a Fax Fight, besieging their elected officials via fax -- all at noon -- with demands to kill the healthcare bill. They are especially targeting Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, one of the Blue Dog Democrats from swing districts where a vote for a healthcare bill with a public option could spell political trouble at home.

The Capitol phone system can probably handle the traffic. As for the political system, not so clear.

President Obama is planning to lobby members of Congress personally Friday, touting a bill that has defined his first year in office. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, planning a Saturday vote, is corralling the Blue Dog Democrats, many sobered by Tuesday's election results.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Police watch over protesters outside Portsmouth High School last July as President Obama held a town hall meeting on healthcare. Credit: McCollester / Getty Images

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"Go into the Capitol and find members of Congress. Don't bring your pitchforks"

She should have told them not to bring their guns.

1000's have apparently showed up.... not one picture... hmmmm.

A great example of freedom loving Americans "speaking out!"

An excellent unpaid example of democracy in an extended federal republic. Very unlike the feral rats of ACORN. I love you Americans! You can be so good at the basic level; so evil at the elite level; yet here is one who is asking for (unpaid) democratic participation by regular "Joe & Mary Sixpacks."

I noticed that your conservatives do not emulate the Left very well; all your protest areas are clean and no cops are beat up. Yet they seem to be getting ahead of you with the election of Mr. Obama.

They don't have a prayer.

So very interesting. A photo of a demonstration in July at a highschool as opposed to the one at the Capitol Building.

Photo: Police watch over protesters outside Portsmouth High School last July as President Obama held a town hall meeting on healthcare. Credit: McCollester / Getty Images

And you wonder why no one buys your papers anymore.

I'm truly curious.

Is it NOT a violation of House Rules for one member of Congress to incite mob action against another Member?

I 'm a former Republican, currently unaffiliated. However I find Rep. Bachmann's behavior be be outside the pale of any party or political persuasion.

She has demeaned the office to which she was elected, and instead of representing the needs and will of her local constituency, she has used it as a platform to promote political violence. She is not a Republican, she is a Populist. The worst kind of politician.

This is something that could have gotten entirely out of hand and someone could have gotten hurt.

I sincerely hope, that a motion of Censure be made against Rep Bachmann. She is an embarrassment to the country, and an embarrassment to all professional women everywhere.

I expect *violent* response to passing of Obamacare. They might just find seniors throwing rotten egss and rocks pretty soon. Many of them grew up in the 60's and did just that over Vietnam. If Seniors break out that way, watch out!!!

exactly...not one picture because the media (including this bias report by the LA Times) doesn't want you or anyone to see it.

Objective journalism id dead! LA Times, NY Times, MSNBC and CNN killed it!

So I guess all the people protesting this "socialist" form of medicine are ready to give up their rights to have Medicaire, right? After all, THAT'S socialized medicine. My older sister is about to qualify for medicaire. It's the first time I've been jealous of her being older! I'm truly shocked at how these people have been duped by the insurance companies to protest the healthcare that is so necessary in this country. How dumb are you folks?!

Its so sad that the Republicans, the hillbilly idiots that they are, can actually pull together people that don't even benefit from being republican to kill an important bill that could actually help them in the long run. And then these "liberal" democrats, are too scared to stand together and try to make some positive change. Gotta give the Hillbillies some credit. They get things done...

The socialist/communist/marxist in the halls of congress and senate need to be voted OUT! I hope you will write these names down and send to everybody on your email list so we can get them OUT of office. Discounting the ones that has died or moved on, the names below was pulled from the membership list of the Progressive Caucus, which I understand is a communist organization and from the membership list of the Socialist Democrats of America. The membership has been pulled from the web site because they don't want everybody knowing who they are. They are: Eni Faleomavaega, Edward "Ed" Pastor, Lynn C Woolsey, George Miller, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara lee, Fortney "Pete" Stark, Henry Waxman, Xavier Becerra, Maxine Waters, Bob Filner, Diana DeGette, Elearnor Norton, Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings, John R. Lewis, Neil Abercrombie, Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Luis Gutierrez, Danny Davis, John Olver, James McGovern, Barney Frank, John Tierney, Michael Capuano, Lynn Rivers, John Conyers, jr., Bennie Thompson, Melvin Watt, Donald Payne, errold Nadler, Major R. Owens, Nydia M. Velazquez, Charles Rangel, Maurice Hinchey, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Sherrod Brown, Peter DeFazio, Chaka Fattah, William Coyne, Sheila Jackson Lee, Robert Scott, Bernard Sanders, James McDermott, Tammy Baldwin. We MUST get these socialist/communist OUT of office. Spread their names FAR and WIDE.

Bad news, LA Times. I flew to Washington to attend this protest and I am hardly an activist. Actually I have never been at a protest in my life, but I have had it. I've had it with a press that is in the pocket of one political party, I am tired of a President that seems to only represent part of the country, and I'm tired of a Congress that feels they have a right to take 5 months of my pay to expand goverments footprint. So, LA Times, I'd recommend a trip to the heartland. Because it is a bit more than "activist" out here who are out of patience. By the way, nice pictures from the protest. Or not. Need I say more?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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