The Tea Party's Favorite Doctors - 2009-11-18
Most tea party protests against health care reform feature a standard cast of characters. Revolution-era patriots in greatcoats and tricorne hats; LaRouchies handing out pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache; the people with the giant fetus signs; and some guy dressed as an actual tea bag. Then, there are the doctors. Real doctors. They wear white coats and they look respectable. And many of them come from a group with a respectable-sounding name—the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
As tea partiers have become the leading opposition to health care reform, AAPS has lent credibility to their criticism of the emerging health care legislation. Before the big 9/12 rally in Washington, AAPS cosponsored a protest on Capitol Hill with the Tea Party Patriots that AAPS says attracted 1,000 physicians. The organization's president, Mark Kellen, appeared with Georgia representatives Tom Price and Phil Gingrey—GOP members of the congressional doctors' caucus—to slam the bill.
AAPS docs hopped Tea Party Express buses to protest the American Medical Association's annual meeting in Houston (the AMA endorsed the House bill), and staged a live reading of the legislation to highlight objectionable passages. When Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann called for tea partiers to come to the Capitol on November 5 to "kill the bill," AAPS doctors organized a national "tele-town hall" to prep attendees. On Fox News and talk radio, AAPS docs often appear to offer an expert medical opinion against reform.