[Note: Sorry, the title should read "2009 VS 2005", but I can't change it without breaking links]
A number of people in the news analysis business seem to be equating the role of liberal activists in making trouble for Republicans back in 2005, during the debate over Social Security privatization, with that of conservative activists in making trouble for Democrats over health care reform. [...] Seriously, I’ve been searching through news reports on the Social Security town halls, and I can’t find any examples of the kind of behavior we’re seeing now. Yes, there were noisy demonstrations — but they were outside the events. That was even true during the first month or two, when Republicans actually tried having open town halls. Congressmen were very upset by the reception they received, but not, at least according to any of the report I can find, because opponents were disruptive — crowds booed lines they didn’t like, but that was about it. [...]
So please, no false equivalences. The campaign against Social Security privatization was energetic and no doubt rude, but did not involve intimidation and disruption.
- NW Progressive Institute, March 2005: "a boisterous crowd which frequently interrupted the discussion with shouts and hard nosed questions. ... Democrats in the audience who were interrupting the panel.... the crowd erupted in anger... Democrats in the audience started shouting him down again."
- Savannah Morning News, March 2005: "By now, Jack Kingston is used to shouted questions, interruptions and boos. Republican congressmen expect such responses these days when they meet with constituents about President Bush's proposal to overhaul Social Security."
- USA Today, March 2005: "Shaken by raucous protests at open "town hall"-style meetings last month ... Santorum was among dozens of members of Congress who ran gantlets of demonstrators and shouted over hecklers at Social Security events last month. Many who showed up to protest were alerted by e-mails and bused in by anti-Bush organizations such as MoveOn.org and USAction, a liberal advocacy group. They came with prepared questions and instructions on how to confront lawmakers."