Tea Party Activist: Lieberman Staffer Threatened to Have Me Arrested
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He's the senator that progressives love to hate, but Sen. Joe Lieberman isn't feeling the love from the right wing either. Though he may have torpedoed the public option and vaporized the Medicare buy-in proposed as a stand-in for a public option, right wing operatives are determined not to see any health-care reform bill -- not even a toothless one -- passed by the Senate this year. And now, Lieberman seems to have played his hand in such a way that makes the bill all the more difficult for the conservaDems still holding out -- Landrieu, Lincoln, Webb and the Nelsons -- to vote no.
This morning, members of the Tea Party Patriots led a lobbying day in the Senate, busing in hundreds of right-wing activists (with the help of the astroturfing group, Americans for Prosperity) to visit senators, demanding that they vote down the health-care reform legislation currently being negotiated.
At an afternoon anti-Obama, anti-health-care reform rally, Tea Party Patriots board member Mark Meckler said a Lieberman staffer threatened to have the activist arrested when he refused to leave Lieberman's office after being told the senator was not available.
Here's what Meckler told a crowd of around 1,000 or so right-wing protesters this afternoon from the rally stage:
Three of us -- two on the national board of the Tea Party Patriots, and one of our constituents from California -- went to visit Sen. Lieberman. And we went in respectfully, just like we did every office in the Senate office buildings. And we sat down and said, 'We'd like to see the senator.' They told us he was not available. We said, 'That's okay; we'll wait ' And we went in, just like we did at some of the other senators' offices. And after about three minutes, the staffer came out and said, 'You're going to have to leave now.' They said, 'You're going to have to leave, or we're going to have you arrested.'
We tried calling Lieberman's staff for comment, but the voice mailbox was full. I'm sure it is. Question is: Who's left more vituperative messages? Progressives or wing-nuts?
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.