The most shocking thing, and the worst thing, about the fake healthcare riots and the very real thuggishness of the paid Republican operatives involved in them is not that they're happening. That's what Republicans do, after all. No, the really terrible thing is that by all appearances, the Democratic party was caught completely by surprise.
It's as if the eight years of Bush/Cheney, with its lockstep Republican Congressional goons, its relentless intimidation and marginalization of anyone to the left of the John Birch Society, its proactive (and successful) effort to target Democrats for prosecution by hand-picked Attorneys-General - it's as if all of that - and so much more - never happened.
Democratic leadership once again failed to perceive political reality as it is in 21st century America: The Republican Party is dominated by fascists who will do anything, anything at all, to undermine what's left of this country's democracy after the successful Bush/Cheney assault on it. After all, this is a party that used the Department of Homeland Security to hunt down Democrats when they bolted from Texas in order to avoid committing political suicide. After all, this is a party that aggressively opposes the regulation of computerized voting machines, voting machines manufactured by none other than prominent members of their own party.
Shutting down town hall meetings is precisely the kind of tactic these characters love, they spend night and day meticulously planning them, and get well-paid to boot. Shame on Democrats for not seeing these latest Republican riots coming.