Democratic activists prepare for raucus health care meetings
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08/04/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

As the battle over health care moves out of Washington and into the town halls of America, there are concerns amongst Democrats that these town halls may be overrun by critics of reform.

Over the weekend, Town Hall events hosted by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter and Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett were met with derision and anger.

That’s led some liberal bloggers to speculate if the Organizing for America group is getting out-hustled at the grassroots level. Organizing for America used to be Obama for America, and it’s the political operation of the Democratic National Committee.

Susan Smith is a liberal activist based in Hillsborough County. She plans on attending a pro-health care reform rally scheduled to be held this Thursday night in Tampa, and is prepared for opposing forces to create havoc.

In trying to craft legislation that makes major changes with health care, President Obama is trying to pick up the issue that hasn’t been addressed since efforts by Bill Clinton went down to defeat 15 years ago.

University of Florida Political Science Professor Dan Smith says that even though many of those who were against the plan in the 1990’s are working with the White House this time around, there are plenty of major figures that are reprising their roles of opposition in 2009.

Conservative groups have been much more vocal and visible in the Tampa Bay Area in 2009, starting with so called Tea Party rallies, including major ones on April 15th and the 4th of July. They’ve also been successful in upending two rallies in favor of health care reform that were held in front of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s offices earlier this year.

Democratic Party activist Susan Smith doesn’t agree that now that Democrats are in control of the Congress and the White House now, activists like herself are taking it easier than a year ago when they worked to get Barack Obama elected.

Smith admits that the right wing may have more passion than they have in many years, because their leaders are all out of power.

University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith said that though the opposition to health care reform may look more authentic, the battle still comes down to between those forces of the status quo vs. change.

A town hall meeting on health care reform will take place this Thursday night in Tampa at 6PM, at the Children’s Board headquarters. That’s at 1002 East Palm Avenue in Ybor City.

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