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Scenes From the Code Red Rally

I was on the scene at the Code Red rally against the health care reform bill, but I did not witness the events getting the most attention today — the reported racial and sexual slurs lobbed at some black members of Congress and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Instead, I took stock of the rally on the Capitol lawn (photos below), which was markedly more pessimistic than any previous health care event, and followed, as far as I could, the surge of Tea Party activists into the House offices. Around 3 p.m., I broke off and watched some activists, believing that President Obama was in the Capitol, walk back over there and yell at the building.

So, what do I mean by pessimism? Many Republicans who spoke out at the rally — far more came there than had been announced — acknowledged that passage was looking more likely.

“Regardless of what happens tomorrow,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), “do not lose faith!”

“Regardless of what happens tomorrow,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), “we will be here!”

There was some ugliness — an effigy of Obama in doctor garb railing against “voo-doo” medicine, a protester daring Democrats to “bring your boy Obama out here” — outweighed by a lot of annoyed people on their best behavior. The most interesting thing, to me, was the degree of focus on the next steps that will have to be taken if health care passes.

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