Group members shouted down anyone who opposed them at town hall meetings organized to discuss health care.
Add to this melee the fact that the largest cable network in the country, Fox News, has not only expressed, but shown its full support of Tea Party activities and ideals, and you have the brainwashing of America. Fox played a vital role in the misinforming of the American public about health care reform. The terms "death panel," rationing, and "government takeover" became so repetitively used on Fox that the average American came to think it was all true.
Fox's standard bearer in this has been the controversial Glenn Beck who shamelessly joined Sarah Palin on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the famous Martin Luther King speech on the same site to rally the troops against all things left of extreme right. No longer just reporting the "news," Fox became part of the news.
More than half of all Republicans actually believe Obama is Muslim. "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" (Seinfeld reference) But to this group, there is definitely something wrong with that as witnessed by the so-called "Ground-Zero Mosque" demonstrations and hysteria.
Finally, throw in a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case that now allows corporations to spend as much as they want on political ads and you have this "perfect storm" now facing Dems. Now, it seems, not only will corporations have wholly owned subsidiaries, they'll have wholly owned politicians.
We have already seen some of the results of this opening of the flood-gates of special interest money. A Karl Rove-led group has spent millions on negative campaign ads to unseat select Democrats in key races. The Koch brothers, likewise have spent millions. To nobody's surprise, Fox News has joined the fray in funneling millions to support Republicans and take down Democrats. Republican-leaning groups are outspending Democrat-leaning groups nine to one.
To make matters worse the American public is kept in the dark about who is supplying much of this money because it is done through "charitable" organizations whose supposed main goal is education. Education? How about mis-education? Such groups don't have to disclose the names of donors.
As a result of this flood of money financing far-right candidates, many freshman Democrat House members, and even some long-time incumbents are facing losing their bids for re-election. Surprisingly, even incumbent Republicans have faced the wrath of the Tea Party. Many Tea Party supported (read Sarah Palin endorsed) Republicans defeated incumbent Republicans in the party's primaries no matter how unqualified they might have been.