STEPHEN C. WEBSTER
On November 19, 2000, a funny thing happened in Florida. You may remember this:
An angry mob of conservatives staged a riot inside a Miami-Dade County polling office and managed to shut down the most crucial Bush v. Gore recount in the country.
It was later discovered that some of these individuals were on the Bush recount committee’s payroll. They were just a few of “at least 750” Republican operatives flown in from around the country on the GOP’s dollar.
Although originally described as a spontaneous uprising, it soon became clear that the recount riot was organized by then-Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY), who had issued the order to “shut it down.”
(A grateful President George W. Bush would later nickname Sweeney “Congressman Kickass,” for reasons that are all his own.)
And wouldn’t you know it — the “Brooks Brothers rioters” are back.
This time, instead of helping to bilk Florida voters out of a thorough and complete recount, they appear to be fast at the work of ensuring America’s poor are not allowed the luxury of decent health care.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow revealed last night that her recent comparisons of the anti-health mobs and the 2000 ‘Brooks Brothers riot’ were just in theme and spirit. “A historical analogy,” she said.
But — Lo, and behold — some of the same operatives that helped secure the George W. Bush presidency are organizing not-so-different angry mobs today.
Highlighting the connections between the men spotted then and now and the organizations behind both the 2000 riot and today’s town hall disruptions, Maddow wryly asked, “Who knew the organized efforts to take over town halls and chase congressmen through parking lots would also serve as a ‘Brooks Brothers riot alumni’ meet-and-greet?”
“What a tremendous coincidence!” she concluded: