(Full disclosure: The group that organized the protest is one I work with on my job.)
This is something I wish I'd been a part of, and I hope they call me if they need an extra baritone next time. (It's rare that my vocal training and my politics intersect.) Plus, the guy who got "punk'd" was none other than Bill McInturff, the guy who gave us Harry and Louise. (Not to mention killing health care reform and giving us another decade of pre-existing conditions, recissions, etc.)
Republican pollster Bill McInturff was the keynote speaker on the final day of the America's Health Insurance Plans's state issues conference on Friday morning.
But his speech on how the health care reform debate was playing among the public was interrupted before it even began. A group of protesters began aggressively cheering McInturff for the work he has done for AHIP (he's a hired pollster for the private insurance lobby and, most infamously, was the force behind the 'Harry and Louise' ads in 1994)
McInturff, initially thinking that the cheering was legitimate, thanked the "AHIP officials" in the back of the room for giving him mental encouragement for his speech. He was not being paid for his appearance, he noted.
And then, the protesters -- dressed in business attire to fit into the crowd -- began singing. A relatively lengthy and harmonious rendition of "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie ensued, only with the chorus focused on government-run insurance. "The option, the option, we must have, the option... " went the rendition, in reference to the public plan.
The lyrics are available after the jump, if you want to sing along.
As protests go, ya gotta give 'em credit for a few things:
informative and entertaining (if you're going to cause an interruption, at least make it entertaining and short; this one clocked in at just over 2 minutes, and managed to make its point)
protest that was also creative and pretty civil -- at least as civil as disrupting a meeting can be (Note that the looks on the faces of most attendees seemed more amused than annoyed)
a message that consisted of more than three or four shouted words
no signs about burying anybody
no one hanged or burned in effigy
no fistfights broke out
no one brought a gun
What's more they complied with security officers when asked to leave, and went right on singing as they did so. (
One more time!
No, thank you! FOR KILLING THE PUBLIC OPTION AND BLOCKING ANY HOPES OF ITS ADOPTION THANK YOU, SIR!
SINGER #2 Sure, BUT WHAT ABOUT COMPETITION? IT'S AN OLD AMERICAN TRADITION OR SO I'VE HEARD?
SINGER #1 Meh.
SINGER #3 WHEN OLYMPIA SNOWE SAID NO, IT CROAKED Right?
SINGER #2 NO, THE OPTION'S NOT DEAD
SINGER #3 OR RED!
SINGER #1 EXPLAIN! Who let these hippies in here?
SINGERS #2 AND #3, and CHORUS MEMBERS IF WE GET A PUB- LIC OPTION WE CAN SNIFF OUT WASTE JUST LIKE A DACHSUND COSTS COME DOWN!
SINGER #1 Hey, those "costs" are my profits!
SINGERS #2 AND #3, and CHORUS MEMBERS THE OPTION THE OPTION THE PUBLIC WANTS OPTIONS WITHOUT IT, IT'S A GIVEAWAY
SINGER #1 Exactly. To us. Am I in the right room? THE OPTION THE OPTION THE PUBLIC WANTS AN OPTION
SINGERS #2 AND #3, and CHORUS MEMBERS OR REFORM IS A CORP'RATE GIVE-A-WAY!
SINGER #1 Well, I've heard enough.
Gotta take your laughs where you can get 'em. Because, let's face it, the health care reform debate is not always a laugh riot. Because it's not so funny: