After claiming that former Majority Leader Dick Armey's FreedomWorks is a grass roots organization, their President Max Pappas encourages a CCC caller to sign up for their organization, and tells another caller that there is no way for them to tamp down on the behavior of these tea baggers showing up to protest at these town hall meetings.
From Think Progress:
FreedomWorks, an industry-backed right-wing group led by former GOP congressman Dick Armey, has been heavily engaged in organizing conservatives to ambush Democratic members of Congress supporting health care reform at town halls across the country during the August recess. Its “astroturf” campaign is designed to present the appearance of wide-spread public discontent with health care reform, but the reality is that the town halls have become forums for disruption, extremism and even violence.
Another caller who claimed to be from the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) — a group that claims the U.S. is a European country and was founded by a “longtime white-power activist” — praised Pappas. “I want to salute you, you’re a true patriot,” he told Pappas, who later urged the CCC member to join FreedomWorks. “[I]f the caller wants to join FreedomWorks, it’s free. You can sign up on our website and we’ll keep you up to dated on what’s going on on Capitol Hill,” he said.
Transcript and h/t to Think Progress for a good part of it.
CALLER: Hey Max I want to salute you, you’re a true patriot. I belong to a small group out here called Council of Conservative Citizens and once you get out of the major cities and you get out into the Midwest you realize that the average American just wants to go to work, work hard, be patriotic, pay his bills and hope that the government stays out of his way. What’s happened over the last six, eight months isn’t just a progression of the Democratic Party.
This Mr. Obama is way past Democrat/Republican, it’s a socialist view that the government can take care of everybody, and you’re seeing average folks all across America just finally getting fed up and saying “This is enough. What can I do?”. And when we have our little meetings and when we went down to the tea parties, I guess I’m one of those mob people. It’s comical. Ah, we just want to say “No”, we’re Americans and you know, the old expression is that I might not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.
But what’s happened with the Democratic party and Mr. Obama is they try to bull rush America, and try to do as much damage as possible to become socialism, socialist, but now the average Americer is standing up and what’s happened now is they’re getting confused. Like now what do we do? Oh my gosh we couldn’t bulldoze these people over. And I think it’s great what you’re doing. Keep up the good work.
What I wanted to say is just let you know that there’s millions of Americans out there that would prefer not to get involved, that would prefer to just keep the status quo, but we can’t afford it any more, because our rights are being taken away. What can we do as regular Joes to make a difference other than making phone calls?
Because when we do go to protest, and we do say stuff, a lot of times they’ll call us, well youse are racist. I go, why is that? Well, because you hate immigrants. I’m like, I don’t hate immigrants. I don’t want illegal immigrants in this country. And it seems almost like as soon as you speak about Obama or his dad, excuse me, well they say that’s racial, it has nothing to do with his color, and it has to do with his policies. […..]
PAPPAS: He brings up two great points I’d like to address. One is, he’s wondering what the average person can do. The first thing I would do if I were concerned is I would hand write a letter to my Congressman, and then I would find ten friends who agree with me to do the similarly.
At the end of each month the Congressmen will usually tally how many letters they get on each side of the issue, and if they get more on one side, they’ll give it some more thought and maybe won’t vote for something, and if that, if the caller wants to join FreedomWorks, it’s free. You can sign up on our website and we’ll keep you up to dated on what’s going on, on Capitol Hill.
CALLER: As a true Republican, — or, you say you got the power to get these people out through emails. I call on you and challenge you to send an email today to tell these people to wrap it down. We Republicans already have the image of being owned by corporate America. Now we’re getting the image of being owned by wild redneck America.
You look at these crowds, I’m looking at one of them right now, evidently most of these people are on Medicare at the same time, you see no minorities there, you see no blacks there, no Hispanics there. That’s the groups we gotta get back in our Party.
It’s just like, I tell friends of mine, I’m a 100% disabled veteran, 73 years old on the VA, which y’all identify as socialistic, it’s a socialistic system. Most of my friends are on Medicare which according to you and your group is a socialistic system.
I tell my friends, or tell people, strangers I meet some of the things I know about our Party they say, “Where’d you hear that?” I say “Oh Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh.” They laugh at me, they laugh at me. Everybody thinks that these Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannities and all these radio talk show people who hold all this power, they’re the joke of the average American.
They’re nothing but jokes. This new guy, what’s his name, I can’t even remember his name he’s over there on Fox News, he comes on at 5 o’clock, he’s a madman!
PAPPAS: We don’t have the power to control how many people turn out or how they behave there. All we really do is facilitate their participation by letting people know when these town halls are and giving them information about the issues that are going to be discussed The passions are so deep about this issue that we can’t send out an email that says “calm down.”
As Frank Schaeffer noted, these astroturf organizations, tea baggers and everyone else fomenting this movement are going to have blood on their hands if any of this eventually turns violent enough that someone gets killed. I'm sure Max Pappas of the world like the rest of them will be feigning innocence if it does.
What could possibly go wrong when you're openly inviting CCC members into your fold?