August Brings Out Birthers, Town Hall Thugs

Why? Because there's no real news to report on

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Oh look, it's scary people holding signs!

    August is truly the most evil month ever invented by the Media. Nothing actually happens in August, you see, which is why scribes like yours truly are forced to waste endless precious column inches on the most frivolous topics ever invented by man.

    Remember last year's stupid "Celebrity" controversy, in which the McCain campaign compared Barack Obama to a couple of know-nothing blondes? The offending ad was released on July 30, and the angry debate raged through the month of August until there was finally real news to report on again.

    This year's version of the "Celebrity" ad appears to be a double-header: first, the "birther" storyline, resurrected after months of hibernation in spite of no discernible news event to justify the attention it's gotten in the media; and then second, the "town halls completely overrun with violent yokels" story.

    At least the latter has some grounding in fact, as politicians have been holding town halls during the August recess. But have they all been pitchforky mob scenes presenting a real and imminent threat to death to any Democrat or liberal within 50 yards?

    Looks like things went OK in Charlottesville, VA, where Rep. Tom Perriello faced a "mostly civil" crowd. Ditto Portland, OR, where Rep. David Wu had a public meeting where he "did spend a good deal of time correcting a heckler and other critics over claims that the legislation would attempt to euthanize the elderly, fund abortion and provide health care to illegal immigrants." That might be a little tedious, correcting people with grave misconceptions about an important piece of legislation, but it ain't the Thunderdome.

    Meanwhile, Chuck Grassley -- a Republican, with Republican constituents who hate the ever-loving dickens out of healthcare reform -- did not stoke the crowds at his town hall into a frenzy of righteous indignation; instead, "Despite the hot, sunny weather, the forum’s participants waited patiently, with hands raised, to ask Grassley questions."

    So, to sum up: despite the impression you may be getting from the news today, it's entirely possible that our nation is not exclusively populated by violent thugs and fire-breathing morons who think the president is an illegal alien sent by Kenyan Islamists to murder your grandmother in her hospital bed. Those thugs and morons just happen to be the people who make for good television in a slow news month.

    Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.