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  • E.S.
More on this tomorrow morning, but it's clear that Jim McDermott's strategy at his town hall meeting tonight was to talk his hecklers into submission.

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It worked.

For example, while making the case for the public option McDermott said: "The government can do things right, and has done things right.”

The hecklers laughed big, mocking, cartoonish laughs. "HA HA HA HA HA."

McDermott went right on talking: “I was noticing when I got out here that this pin on my jacket is from NASA." He pointed to his lapel pin as he said this, and continued: "NASA is something the government did… That is an example of what government can do when they think about it. Medicare is also a program that has improved the health of senior citizens, it has expanded life expectancy..."

"Bankrupt!" shouted the hecklers.

But they lost that argument, too, as people applauded for Medicare far more loudly than the hecklers could heckle. The tally? McDermott 2, hecklers 0. And he still had the mic.

McDermott was now on to a related point: that not only is he for a strong public option, but he's for it for wallet-watching reasons. “I told you that I voted to raise revenue $1 trillion," he said. "I will be darned if I’m going to give $1 trillion to the insurance industry."

The hecklers had nothing to say to that.

In fact, I'd guess some of them, if they were committed to any sort of logical consistency, might have been clapping right along with the rest of the crowd at this. McDermott 3, hecklers 0.

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The instant replay:

Government can't do anything right? Wrong. Calling medicare bankrupt is an argument against its very existence? Nope. The public option is the scariest bogeyman out there? No, there's a far bigger bogeyman: the insurance industry. And Democrats are finally, successfully, starting to clue in to that fact.