Spring Valley, CA -- It was a scorcher out in east San Diego County on Saturday, August 29th, as the crowd gathered to attend Congresswoman Susan Davis' health care town hall. The east county has traditionally been a haven for right-wing fringe groups, and they were out in full force for this event. As we approached the Spring Valley Gymnasium, we were greeted by members of the John Birch Society handing out DVD's explaining how the Constitution works. The driveway was lined with a motley collection of birthers, deathers, Jesus freaks, and anti-abortion protesters.
By the time the doors to the event opened at noon, it was well over 100 degrees outside, with a blazing sun and no breeze whatsoever. The crowd had grown significantly larger than the 1000 seats available in the gymnasium. A quick check of the signs that people were carrying seemed to indicate that pro-health care reform forces had succeeded in mobilizing a significant majority of the multitude.
Inside the hall, pro- and anti-reform forces traded chants, and paraded back and forth showing off their signs to the crowd. There were a few instances of heated words being exchanged, but by and large, things were civil. Things were settling down to a dull roar when a full-throated cheer filled the room.
Entering through the doors were.... "Billionaires For Wealth Care," a collection of men and women dressed to the nines, carrying signs, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd. The signs, which included "Don't Tax My Face Lift," "Keep the Money Flowing," and "A 428 percent Increase in Premium Costs is Just Good Business," had the effect of confusing the anti-reform crowd. Finally, they got it and it turned briefly ugly as threats were made.
Luckily, Rep. Davis' people decided to start the Town Hall at that point. The Billionaires left the building shortly thereafter, getting into a super stretch limo parked out front.