…you’ve no doubt heard about the debacle at the East Jefferson Parish Library in Metairie Wednesday afternoon, where Louisiana’s senior senator Bill Cassidy was repeatedly berated, heckled, booed and harassed by some of the less civil members of his constituency.
The town hall was scheduled for 3:00 and didn’t get started until 3:30, because as Cassidy tried to explain he was hung up in New Orleans East where he’d been eyeballing the damage from the tornado which hit earlier in the month. He was booed for that. He tried to explain his Obamacare replacement plan, and he was booed for that. He was asked about Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education, and his vote for her, and when he tried to explain why he supported her nomination he was booed for that.
The format for the town hall was supposed to be that Cassidy would take written questions so he could get to as many of them as possible, but the vociferous crowd wouldn’t accept that and demanded he “Answer our questions!” directly, which led to his being filibustered and berated.
Cassidy’s crowd was mostly hostile, as many of the more supportive prospective attendees were left outside thanks to there being no room in the hall. Protesters began arriving at noon and essentially locked out most of the ordinary citizens who showed up for informational purposes rather than to disrupt the senator and get on TV.
What needs to be understood about this is it’s astroturf, and we can prove it. Cassidy was asked after the event if he’d been ambushed by paid protesters and he said no, he thought they were people exercising their First Amendment rights. The issue isn’t that the protesters were paid, it’s that they were ginned up by an organized, national effort funded by George Soros and Barack Obama’s Organizing For America operation.
Aaron Bandler at The Daily Wire did an excellent exposition of a group called Indivisible, which has been behind most of these outbursts and was behind the disruption of Cassidy’s town hall in Metairie and is planning on doing the same thing to the senator elsewhere – including, as you’ll hear, Friday in Breaux Bridge. There is a playbook for disrupting these events, called the Indivisible Guide, and it was followed to a T in Metairie yesterday. From that playbook, here’s Page 18…
Now, the execution of the “be polite” part was off, obviously, but in every other respect Cassidy’s tormentors followed their marching orders.
Who is Indivisible? Bandler’s piece relies on research from the Daily Signal on that question…
Ezra Levin, a former staffer for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and his wife, Leah Greenberg, are the president and vice president of the Indivisible Guide’s board, respectively.
Levin is also associate director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, an anti-poverty nonprofit. Melissa Bradley, who sits on that group’s board, previously worked for Green for All, a group founded by liberal commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones. She was appointed as a Soros Justice Fellow through the Open Society Foundations, which Soros founded.
Greenberg previously worked for Humanity United, which is funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute.
The secretary of Indivisible Guide, Angel Padilla, works for the National Immigration Law Center, which is funded by Soros through his Open Society Foundations. And treasurer Matt Traidi is the research team director for the Service Employees International Union, a major donor to and endorser of Democrat politicians, Capital Research Center notes.
It’s amusing, because here’s what Ezra Levin wrote in the playbook…
Every single person who worked on this guide and website is a volunteer. We’re doing this in our free time without coordination or support from our employers. Our only goal is to help the real leaders on the ground who are resisting Trump’s agenda on their home turf. We hope you will take this document and use it however you see fit.
Which is functionally a lie, of course. These are all paid community organizers working for Soros-funded left-wing organizations, and it’s well-established that salting campaign events and town halls with disruptive agitators is standard practice for every one of them. A volunteer effort, fiddlesticks.
Bandler’s piece also references a New York Post column by Paul Sperry which discusses the connections between the Indivisible people and Obama’s Organizing For America outfit…
The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”
“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.
The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”
“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”
Last week there was a fun Daily Beast article in which Louisiana Democrat Party executive director Stephen Handwerk was found to have trashed OFA for its newfound national advocacy program and the effect that has had and will have on state Democrat party organizations in terms of cannibalizing resources…
“This is some GRADE A Bullshit right here,” Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, wrote in a private Democratic-listserv email obtained by The Daily Beast. Handwerk was reacting to news of OFA’s post-election retooling, which was shared “without comment” to the group of state-level Dems by Crystal Kay Perkins, executive director for Texas Democrats.
“It also to me seems TONE DEAF—we have lost over 1,000 seats in the past 8 years… all because of this crap,” Handwerk continued. “Let’s get through the next two weeks—but then we gotta figure this out and keep the pressure on. WOW.”
“If we were having a conversation about state parties, I would say OFA hurt state parties badly,” Handwerk told The Daily Beast, elaborating on his leaked email. “It certainly had an undercutting effort. And there is a lot of work state parties do that isn’t very sexy… and that becomes incredibly difficult when budgets are cut in half because people are trying to curry favor with the president and his allies.”
Handwerk was exercised about OFA’s role in ginning up the kind of street theater we saw in Metairie yesterday and the lack of communication with the state party – though depending on how all this is received he might end up relieved that it can’t be pinned on him…
“Supposedly, Louisiana has had, on paper, a state director for OFA who has been in the role for what I’m told is multiple years—none of us know who she is,” he said. “She only just followed me on Twitter [four] days ago. That’s how I know who she is.”
This OFA state lead is Carolyn Sawyer, who told The Daily Beast that “I really have not talked with [Handwerk]. I’m sure he’s aware of us. I’m sure they’re aware of what we’re doing but there doesn’t seem to be an interest to come together on what we’re working [on].”
Sawyer, who says she has been in the position since as early as 2013, contended that “we have reached out to the Louisiana Democrat Party [and] would be more than happy to come together to work on issues… But [as to] why he doesn’t know what we’re doing, we haven’t been secret. I can’t speak to that.”
When asked if she was aware of the tension between the state party and OFA, she said she was “not quite aware, but I do know that it exists.”
“Nothing has really been done here,” the executive director lamented. “I have not seen any real evidence of OFA doing any real work, certainly not here in Louisiana.”
Carolyn Sawyer’s Twitter doesn’t contain any evidence she was on hand at the library in Metairie yesterday, though she’s certainly promoting these demonstrations on it.
So what we’re seeing here is a power play within the Democrats’ ranks as much as anything they’re actually doing to embarrass or influence Republican politicians like Cassidy – whose vote in the Senate won’t be moved an inch by any of the abuse he’s catching from these people. This is about Obama’s organization attempting to eclipse the Democrat Party as a political force, which could pay off down the line in terms of candidates coming to kiss his ring in order to secure an endorsement and latch on to his organization, and maybe even being in a position to hold some purse strings.
And you can absolutely understand why Handwerk thinks it’s grade-A bullshit. Though we wouldn’t go so far as to say Handwerk didn’t approve of Cassidy’s rough treatment yesterday, or won’t approve of what else is in store for the senator.
Which will be more of the same. We had a friend who infiltrated a meeting of the Indivisible outfit in Acadiana and recorded the proceedings. Coming shortly in another post is the audio…