My heart sank when I saw the document.
I go to to townhalls, and I do occasionally ask questions of my representative. I am firm, but always polite and respectful (unlike certain GOP leaders I know). My current rep., teabag extraordinaire Sandy Adams, doesn't do townhalls, but her cowardice is my fortune because right next to my house is the gerrymandered line of another bagger named Dan Webster. He was affectionately named "Taliban Dan" by his predecessor, one Alan Grayson. After you read this, you will understand how spot on Grayson was.
I had heard that Taliban Dan had his staff take video and pictures of everyone who spoke at different townhall meetings.
Now we know why.
Everyone at Dan Webster's townhalls who asked a tough question was put on a "Citizen Watch List"!
No, I am not exaggerating. You can see the creepy document here.
The document gives the person's full name, picture, and pointed questions to be shouted at the them at future townhalls or given to the media to helpfully interrogate them.
Who are these dangerous extremists that need to be "watched"? According to the document, they are professional trouble-makers who must all work for liberal groups like the dreaded MoveON. Except, they aren't. With one exception, none of them are associated with any group... and ALL OF THEM are constituents of Dan Webster!
The only link between them is that everyone on that list made the local news by asking a tough question at one of these townhalls. That's it.
For example, one person on the list, Ron Parsell, dared to ask a tough question.. and prefaced it by saying he was a Vietnam veteran.
According to the document, like-minded teabag attendees are supposed to shout questions or demand the media ask questions that insinuate he didn't really serve. (Are you really a Vietnam vet? What branch? What unit? Where EXACTLY did you serve?)
He, along with the others profiled, were also supposed to be interrogated as to whether they worked on Obama's campaign. (Like that would matter, but according to the Huffington Post, the one news outfit that picked this story up, NONE OF THEM DID!)
These are Webster's constituents. People he should be looking out for... NOT harrassing!
One of the people on the list is an unemployed gentleman who had the audacity to ask a question about jobs. Now he is regretting his right to speak up. WHY?
Because local organizers have said this document has been distributed as far away from Florida as Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina!
Hundreds of miles away, one GOP wingnut named Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark) handed out this "Citizen Watch List" to ALL ATTENDEES at his town hall meeting in Arkansas. Never mind that the document only had people from Florida District 8 who have NEVER attended a townhall outside of their own district. Like Webster, Tim Griffin had staffers on hand to photoraph and video each person who asked a question.
So why the hell would he pass out a Citizen Watch List featuring these people?
Simple. To intimidate. To scare. To make it perfectly clear: Ask the wrong question, end up like these poor saps!
Griffin's spokesperson, Jon Samford, tried to claim the document was prepared by an "outside group" when asked about it. This didn't explain why staffers ensured everyone had a copy, and why staffers were instructing attendees that this was their "homework"! The jackass then said these watch lists were passed out to show what they WERE NOT going to do. Right.
I would call for a full invetigation, but I know better. Our attorney general, Pam Bondi, is a wingnut with her own severe ethics problems, and our local media has completely ignored this story with the exception of a few blogs. Heck, not too long ago Rick Scott used law enforcement to intimidate protesters at a taxpayer-funded event.
Welcome to the New Florida.