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Are angry protesters scaring off public, hurting GOP?

Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, isn't holding town hall meetings on health care reform because of threats he has received. Meanwhile, other Democratic lawmakers continue to be shouted down at town hall meetings. An angry Pennsylvania man (see photo) warned Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., this week that "one day God's going to stand before you, and he's going to judge you and the rest of your damned cronies up on the Hill."But columnist David Broder wonders whether such outbursts will end up backfiring. "What doesn't make the news is what the reaction is among the larger population of voters whose views will ultimately influence the fate of health care legislation," he wrote. Broder noted that some Republicans are starting to worry about this, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who last week called the reform plan "downright evil" but this week called for civil discourse.Columnist Froma Harrop predicts the latest of the GOP's "red-faced crusades" will hurt the party, pointing to how Republicans lost seats in Congress after impeaching President Clinton in 1998 and after trying to meddle in the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000 and the Terri Schiavo tragedy in 2005. She concludes: "Other factors influenced these outcomes, of course. But politicians now facing the wrath of enraged right-wingers should note that similar unruly outbursts in the past probably worked against the Grand Old Party. Come November 2010, voters are not going to punish Democrats or the Republicans who work with them on health reform, if the product is well designed."

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