Is Kenneth Gladney a Democratic Plant?

Watching these town hall battles — which seem to have settled into a stasis as supporters of health reform have decided to show up finally — has convinced me of one thing: Obama is winning this August health care battle.

No, his ideas aren’t necessarily winning plaudits among various elements of elite political commentary. Nor are skeptics necessarily embracing any of the five broad proposals on the table. Instead, his political opposition is imploding in a fit of self-referential rage.

There are lots of very serious issues to discuss, including how we will pay for health reform, how it will affect the doctor-patient relationship, how it will affect Medicare, how doctors will be paid under a new system, how a public option or co-op will affect the private insurance industry, and most importantly — how each of these interchangeable parts will affect the other.

But we aren’t having that discussion this August. Instead we are talking about a black conservative in St. Louis supposedly beaten up by “SEIU thugs,” even though the video of the incident shows Gladney walking around while two SEIU members lie on the ground. Then, as tea party protesters picket the SEIU, it comes out that poor Kenneth Gladney had no health insurance

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. If anything was more calculated to make the Right look foolish than this St. Louis incident then I’d love to see it. Of course, that’s only one example of the nuttiness on the right, including posters of Obama as Hitler, and screaming wackos of various stripes.

Sarah Palin’s obscene death panel comment only underscores just how much the Right has ceded serious discussion of health care.

Much like the radical left in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the nuttiness of the protesters only helped to marginalize them among the larger population.

And I’ll add one more thing. I don’t think this is all about some racial subtext, as Paul Krugman argues. I think it’s about the last gasp of Reaganism, which died in the 2008 election. Just as the FDR New Deal Coalition fell apart in 1968 so did the Reagan Coalition falter in 2008. The Tea Party protesters and other assorted screamers, birthers, deathers, etc. are desperately trying to keep the band together for another go-around. Meanwhile, the country has moved on. Yes, the transition is rocky, as it was for Nixon in 1969-71 (and Reagan in 1981-83). But the era of angry, white, conservative, elderly, rural and exurban voters dominating American politics is over. And without even a Republican leader to rally them, the frustration and rage becomes more palpable. “Socialist” wasn’t enough of an insult to defeat Obama in November. It still isn’t.

As for health care reform, the various Democratic members of Congress besieged by these nutters have only reaffirmed their commitment to health care reform. Whether it still includes a public option is still up for grabs. But I have no doubt after watching the self-immolation of the Right that health care reform will pass. Perhaps President Obama should invite some of these tea party protesters to the signing ceremony. He’ll need them to push through the rest of his agenda.

Author: AARON ASTOR

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58 Comments

  1. Again, while I obviously do not support those who scream and yell and behave badly I am troubled by the implication from some that anyone who opposes the current proposal is somehow a nut or angry or bad.

    There are many problems with the current proposal and they need to be investigated. As to being attacked by union thugs, speaking as someone who has worked at GOP campaign events since my college years I can personally speak to being physically attacked, having my car vandalized and being verbally threatened with worse at the hands of union thugs.

    This is not to say that all union members are thugs, but there is a very violent element to some and they do not like opposing views any more than some of the people you condemn here.

  2. Kenneth Gladney was beaten down by union thugs and the poor man didn't even have insurance coverage. When he showed up at the hospital the3y turned him away because he was uninsured. He laid out in the street for 3 hours until he could get up enough strength to drag himself home to nurse his wounds by selling his possessions for next to nothing just so he could get enough money to go to the drug store to buy some aspirin for his broken head and buy some oral gel for his broken teeth. He had to rub dirt on his wounds to stop the bleeding long enough to rip the shirt off his back to fashion a makeshift bandage. Luckily he was able to find a stick in the street as he crawled home that he has been using for a cane. As he shivered from the……huh?….. They treated him at the hospital?…. Nevermind.

  3. Patrick,
    The whole point here is that the screamers have hijacked the town halls. Of course there are serious questions to be asked. But they aren't being asked amidst the din of the screamers. All of which means the Congressmen will go back to Washington and conclude that the only people opposed to this legislation are extremists.

    The problem, I think, is the arrogant assumption of the screamers that the Congressmen are all lying and only the tea party patriots have “read the bill” and know the truth. Alas, every attempt by the Congressmen to offer an answer to a question is met by screams of derision. This is EXACTLY what happens when conservative speakers get shouted down on liberal college campuses, by the way. It's pure thuggery and arrogance.

  4. it comes out that poor Kenneth Gladney had no health insurance

    ROTFLMAO…

    Too stupid to know to know on which side his bread is buttered…

  5. i think it's funny that you'd reject an implication of racism for reaganism. when. reaganism was built partly on racism.

    he kicked off his presidential campaign in a place that could give a wink and a nudge to the mississippi burning. his landslide elections were the result of getting white, racist democrats to vote for him.

  6. elrod, there probably is some truth to the charges of disruption by protesters. However, for most of the videos I have seen, including the St. Louis town meetings, the reason the protesters started shouting was because they were shut out of the meeting. That is where the arrogance lies. As far as reading the bill, it is based on the way this congress has been introducing bills late at night, voting on the bill the next day before there has been a chance for anyone to read, let alone debate, the specifics. We added an additional trillion dollar stimulus bill to this nations debt in that way. Congress attempted to do the same for the health care bill and would have succeeded if there had not been a constituent uprising. It is going to create an even bigger dilemma for politicians if they keep trying to portray protestors as shills rather than concerned citizens. More arrogance by know nothing politicians who are showing how clueless they are if they truly believe that. We are rapidly descending into an irreconcilable debt situation in this nation. This is not a partisan issue. Bush and the GOP started the problem with out of control spending. We got rid of them for their irresponsibility. Now Obama and the Dems are quadrupling down. Social security is a Ponzi scheme. All the money paid in has been stolen by the politicians of both parties. Social Security is now being funded for past workers by current workers. It is unsustainable. Medicare is not fully funded. It is also going bankrupt even though it is largely being funded by private insurers through cost shifting. We are spending as a nation double what we are receiving, all adding to the debt. health care reform will add an additional trillion to the debt. The government option will be funded by deficit spending until all private carriers are run out of business. At that point we will have to start rationing care. Another trillion will be taken from the private sector theough cap and trade. As more and more industry is taken over by the federal government, there will be little left of the golden goose to pay for the burgeoning debt. the system is easily on the road to collapse if we continue on the path we are on. Congress must cut it's spending and lift the ever growing burden on the private sector if we have any chance of working our way out of this mess. Instead we are going the opposite direction. Castigating investors, adding inconceivable debt to our children and grandchildren. Expanding programs that will be tens of trillions more in debt at the same time the private sector is being burdened with higher taxation and an unsympathetic government. The protesters are rightfully concerned and deserve to be heard. Instead they are being dismissed and shut out, just as they will be if they have a concern when we go to single payer health care with no place to turn.

  7. Looks to me like the dems are losing it. The poll numbers are bad for them, Brian Baird and Nancy Pelosi have already invoked Godwin's law by calluing the protesters Nazis, the White House has started a snitch line that runs the danger of Nixonian name collecting, Democrats are running away from townhall meetings using phone meetings (which noone can really tell if the callers are prescreened for supportive viewpoints) and holding town hall meeting in children's hospitals so they can use baby shields (like a scandal ridden Congressman who has lots of kids at his press conference) or in churches for “vigils” on healthcare (hey if your going to pray to God for the healthcare bill, why not pray for perfect health? its not like God has limits). Also Obama is trying to get his folks to travel to these events, and “hit back twice as hard”, is that a really good choice of words if your trying to make the gatherings more peaceful, and the messengers aren't exactly the best judging by the SEIU people who got arrested for assault.

    Looks to me like its the Democratic Party coming unraveled. I mean just think a second. They have the Presidency and both Houses of Congress with a filibuster proof majority. Its not the Republicans stopping them from passing this, its their own party members that are. This is just hilarious.

  8. @George Sorwell You should check updated polls: last weeks Quinnipiac Poll found that 57 percent said health care reform should be abandoned if it will “significantly” add to the deficit [which it most definitely will.]

  9. The person running this blog and making this post sounds VERY ANGRY and a bit hateful, condescending, and intolerant. Basically, the characteristics they are trying to portray on conservatives. THAT is the irony of today's modern liberals and “moderates”, supposedly tolerant of everything– except all those pesky Reaganites.

  10. Ditto Leonidis.

    This is the biggest Senate majority since Democrats had Senate for decades. It is the biggest House majority in ages. They have the Presidency.

    Out of sheer frustration they lash out at a small minority as if that small minority of conservative/libertarian voices has even the slightest ability to stop anything.

    Want to end the war? All the Democrats have to do is vote.
    Want universal government run health care? All the Democrats have to do is vote.

  11. Patrick,

    Elrod, in the original article was not calling everyone who opposes healthcare reform a crazy screamer. He was simply condemning those who are attempting to shut down the debate and preventing people like yourself from being able to discuss this important issue.

  12. Watching these town hall battles – which seem to have settled into a stasis as supporters of health reform have decided to show up finally – has convinced me of one thing: Obama is winning this August health care battle.

    If by winning you mean he's winning politically because his opponents are making themselves look dumb, there's some truth to that. As far as the substance of the House plan, I think the longer it's out there the weaker it gets. The CBO Friday did not support the claim that preventive medicine is going to lead to cost savings, which I think is another major hit to the plan.

    From a benefits standpoint the House plan is mostly fine, from a monetary standpoint it is not and that becomes more clear the longer the plan is out there. I look forward to seeing some other plans.

  13. This issue is imploding on the Democrats. For all the BS that there is no real grass-roots concern or outrage, only manufactured and astroturfed resistance, the congressman themselves know that is not true.

    There is very, very real anger in their constituents; you know, the ones that actual vote to keep them in office.

    This is becoming so toxic so fast that many, many congressman, out the the single most important political factor in existence, their concern for their own self-preservation and re-election, are not going to support this or anything like it when push comes to shove.

    The Democrats are not winning this debate. They have already lost it.

  14. @@ The CBO Friday did not support the claim that preventive medicine is going to lead to cost savings, which I think is another major hit to the plan.@@

    I didn't see that before, Dagoat, so thanks. Indeed, that removes one of the few remaining pro arguments that is cost centric and not just bleeding heart blather.

    Maybe Fishman can write a further post on it.

    Yeah, what is a Dem victory here?…….a couple of gateway plans?…….I though the Dems wanted single payor/ public option.

  15. CO, here's a link:

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/08

    Obama responded by saying they would focus on the few preventive measures that do save money. Unfortunately there aren't very many of those, certainly not enough to save much.

  16. I had some problems editing my previous comment, which was supposed to have included a link to this article by conservative writer David Frum.

    Here's a quote:

    We’ll have entrenched and perpetuated some of the most irrational features of a hugely costly and under-performing system, at the expense of entrepreneurs and risk-takers, exactly the people the Republican party exists to champion.

    Not a good outcome.

    Even worse will be the way this fight is won: basically by convincing older Americans already covered by a government health program, Medicare, that Obama’s reform plans will reduce their coverage. In other words, we’ll have sent a powerful message to the entire political system to avoid at all hazards any tinkering with Medicare except to make it more generous for the already covered.

    If we win, we’ll trumpet the success as a great triumph for liberty and individualism. Really though it will be a triumph for inertia. To the extent that anybody in the conservative world still aspires to any kind of future reform and improvement of America’s ossified government, that should be a very ashy victory indeed.

  17. There are two arguments made by conservatives that are not as powerful as conservatives think.

    First, conservatives argue “The protesters are rightfully concerned and deserve to be heard.” Well, no they are not, and if anyone were at a meeting that was disrupted like this, you would feel like you were living in a country where there was a Civil war about to break out.

    Look for yourself: http://www.dailykostv.com/w/002030/

    The people who come in and shout down the Representative who is trying to explain her position are unmoored by their own anger.

    The second argument which is not strong is that the Democratic Congress and President are failing because they have not cured all our nation's ills since January 20, 2009.

    President Obama does NOT have a “Veto-Proof” Senate with 60 reliable votes. Our Republic-based democracy moves very slowly.

    But it will not be President Obama who will look bad if Health Care Reform does not pass. The same people who shout “Government keep your hands off my Medicaire Medicaid” and the Conservatives will be the ones who will have to answer.

    It is not surprising that President Obama's ratings have slid: Obama is trying to do something about our problems. Americans have a split-personality when it comes to problems: they want the problems solved quickly, and easily, and painlessly.

    Obama only needs to be patient and persistent and optimistic. Conservatives are good and great at anger and “mega-ditto's” rank conformity. Obama will win because in the end, as much as so many conservatives worship nihilism and destruction and anger, Americans are hope-filled people.

    This debate has been a disaster for the Have's, who have shown themselves to be self-righteous, deeply selfish, and depressingly filled with rage. Limbaugh IS conservatism, which is terrible for David Frum, and Daniel Larison, and Rod Dreher, and so many other important voices.

    Shout 'em down and listen to Rush is good for Culture Wars and about 20% of the vote. The Middle will win if we do not panic.

  18. Being beat up by union thugs, yes, is very unhealthy. The bill for all of Gladney's treatment AT THE HOSPITAL should be paid by the SEIU. He didn't get sick. He was freakin' beat up! That isn't poor health. It's assault and battery.

  19. Oh yeah.. On Friday, the day after the SEIU union people beat the crap out of Gladney, Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, in a private, union member only web conference, told the SEIU to keep it up!

    The message to the SEIU? Find people without health insurance coverage, beat them up and THEN tell them they shoulda had health insurance! Nice. So typical of Totalitarians. Create a problem and then create the solution which results in loss of liberty.

  20. You have to wonder if gerryRud even bothered watching the video that shows Gladney walking around with no apparent injuries after the fight.

  21. The whole point here is that the screamers have hijacked the town halls.

    No, Elrod, actually the whole point here is that the Craigslist ads and union thugs at the meetings were overwhelmed by honest tax-paying citizens, and thus the left, like yourself in true Saul Alinsky fashion & acting like Lenin's useful idiots, has to demonize them.

    Astroturfing is using Craigslist to hire fake “health care reform” advocates at $11-16/hour. Pelosi and yourself should hide in shame if y'all were capable of that type of compunction.

  22. Watch the video, Gladney was not beat up by anyone. He's a plant & looks very foolish.

  23. Yeah… The same Q-Poll also showed that an even greater majority, 62%, want a government run public option AND want the rich to pay higher taxes for it (61%). And considering Obama has stated over and over again that he wants a bill that is deficit neutral – I think you might be hyping the wrong numbers from this poll because it is all you've got to cling to. Nice try, though.
    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1357

  24. The funny thing about the Q-poll is that if you look at all of the numbers you see a picture of a moderately liberal American majority disappointed that Obama is not coming to those moderately liberal answers.

  25. Here's a story from Memphis where, surprise!, all the opponents of health care reform came from outside the district – and outside the state!

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/aug/0

    Now maybe Rep. Travis Childers, a Blue Dog, should hold a meeting in North Mississippi so he can answer his own screamers. But to say that these are old members of TN-09 coming out to give their own Congressman an earful is fantasy. TN-09 is a black majority district (represented by a Jewish man, Steve Cohen).

  26. I did watch it.? First of all, it's in the dark and you can't see the assault.? You can hear the fight and you can hear people yelling to stop the fight.? Secondly, the assailants didn't deny beating him up.? They said that HE (Gladney started it).?? So, why are you lying about it?? Also, I had another exchange with an SEIU guy who was there.? He said the guys who beat up Gladney were idiots.? HE SAID THEY DID IT.? Why would I believe you?

  27. Here's a story from Memphis where, surprise!, all the opponents of health care reform came from outside the district – and outside the state!

    I don't see where the article says that. I only see one mention of someone from out of state and 2 out of the 4 area physicians Cohen invited were against the government plan.

    The larger question is should out-of-towners be at these functions. I don't support anyone being intentionally disruptive but the issue at hand is federal, not local. Speaking as an Iowa resident I know during the primaries tons of out-of staters were here for hundreds of functions for all candidates including Obama.

  28. I've seen the video, and you CAN see the assault. Gladney is thrown to the ground by a man wearing an SEIU shirt, and 3 seconds later is back on his feet. Of importance, at the beginning of the video that I saw, there is already an SEIU member on the ground before Gladney is thrown. During the shouting afterward, you can hear someone (presumably an SEIU member) say about Gladney, “He attacked a minister!” Putting it all together, it sounds like Gladney knocked down a minister who was an SEIU member, and was attacked by a single SEIU member in retaliation.

    I don't condone what the SEIU member did, but to say that he was beaten up by an angry mob in an unprovoked attack is stretching the truth.

  29. It turns out that Kenneth Gladney has NO HEALTH INSURANCE and now needs help with medical bills.. And he is out protesting the very reform aimed at helping people like… Kenneth Gladney…

    Only Republican genius can be that poetic..

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/indiv

  30. Kenneth Gladney is to the Health Care Reform as Ashley Todd was to the 2008 Campaign.

  31. >>Last gasp of reaganism

    Abosultely – the policies and practices of far right, dominated by neo-conservatives, have become manifestly bankrupt, but it sure is ugly when authoritarian types find temselves losing power.

  32. Strange… Gladney wasn't arrested.? All the witnesses there didn't see what you imagine occurs in the dark video.. One of the assailants fled the scene.? I had an exchange with another SEIU member who was there.. he says the guys who attacked Gladney were idiots.? He didn't say anything about Gladney attacking them.

    You're totally delusional.?

  33. gerryRud:

    Quit? using? question marks? where they don't belong?

    Which witnesses are you referring to? The other anti-health reform protestors? Am I supposed to believe them? (Note the proper use of question marks to denote an interrogative statement.)

    BTW, how come Gladney was in a wheelchair, and unable to speak because of painkillers at the press conference/rally on Saturday, but he was not in a wheelchair and was fully conversant when he was interviewed on FOX on Friday? That's some delayed reaction!!

  34. FYI, the man who was on the ground at the beginning of the video has been identified as a minister, and has been reported as having a broken and dislocated shoulder (you can see him in the video holding his shoulder). Now, this may or may not be any more true than the reports of Gladney's injuries. And it's still not clear who actually started the ruckus – maybe the minister did. But we should make an effort to get the facts before jumping to conclusions.

  35. What better way to convince somebody he needs government health care than to put him in the hospital?

  36. Much like the radical left in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the nuttiness of the protesters only helped to marginalize them among the larger population.

    True enough. The protestors, like the old anti-war rowdies, think they are just setting the world on fire. The people who watch think they are a bunch of nuts. These are old goats on Medicare and Social Security throwing a hissy over “socialism”. Don't think people don't notice. In general, Americans don't like protestors anyway.

  37. JT – you made me do a real spit-take with my coffee.

  38. What better way to convince somebody he needs government health care than to put him in the hospital?

    Actually, Jim, the better way to convince him he needs government health care is to put him the hospital when he doesn't have insurance!

    Did you miss that part of the story?

    Brown finished by telling the crowd that Gladney is accepting donations toward his medical expenses. Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance.

    I added a little emphasis there to help you out, Jim.

  39. daveinboca, do you make things up out of whole cloth for a living?

  40. This internets thingy must be pretty tough for you lefties. It took me all of a minute to find that Mr. Gladney is carried on his wife's insurance. Oh, OK. and another 30 seconds to make a tiny URL.

    http://tinyurl.com/lgesjr

  41. Nope, but the ad in Craigslist is in Redstate and the Soros thug-machine is $5 million pledged to support astroturf efforts by the DNC. Which is the organization you obviously work for.

  42. Steve, the best thing to do with a post from daveinboca is to simply skip it.

  43. Wrong. Facts don't seem to matter to many, when they are in favor of supporting some pet theory. Kenneth Gladney had insurance through his wife's provider, but is currently unemployed – used to work in an optical business. As to Gladney walking around – have you ever heard of adrenaline after an accident – he was just being beaten up – had been separated…he later had an overnight stay in the hospital and then had bandages all around one of knees, and who knows what all else.

    Of course you blame HIM? Typical and gutless that you'd do that! Hello – if you're going to make weird accusations, at least support them with the facts.

  44. greguva: “BTW, how come Gladney was in a wheelchair, and unable to speak because of painkillers at the press conference/rally on Saturday, but he was not in a wheelchair and was fully conversant when he was interviewed on FOX on Friday? That's some delayed reaction!!”
    +++++++++

    I love how you big men want to impugn and character assasinate this conservative man, who was assaulted. Might big of you to immediately assume fakery. Sure he was coherent THE NEXT NIGHT – after he'd been at the hospital for treatment overnight. He's sitting down in the Fox interview and talks about his injuries – are you saying those are fake as well…again might big and compassionate of you – ad hominem attacks on the person that was assaulted!

    As to not being able to speak at the rally on Saturday – have you ever taken pain killers?? Do you suppose, he held off for the national interview, but on Saturday at the rally, let others do the talking.

    Is that good enough for you – or you going to attack this man's character some more, for no reason?

    You and your goon squad.

  45. Actually, Jim, the better way to convince him he needs government health care is to put him the hospital when he doesn't have insurance!

    Yes, it's quite brilliant. “You don't realize how much you need us, so we'll beat you up. There, see?”

    Did you miss that part of the story?

    No, I missed the part where it somehow helps the case for ObamaCare. Besides which, it now turns out he's insured through his wife's employer. But still, I'm sure you're right about the efficacy of putting people in the hospital to prove they need socialized medicine.

  46. Jim-bo obviously works for ACORN or a similar rent-a-mob.

  47. Jim-bo obviously works for ACORN or a similar rent-a-mob. You look like a functionary of some type who would obviously profit from another government raid on the private sector. Just what did you do for a living before becoming a parasite?

  48. If he is covered by his wife's insurance, then the fact that he's asking others to help out with his medical expenses is somewhat suspicious, I'd say.

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