Conservative interest group (and Tea Party advocates) Americans For Prosperity got a taste of its own medicine at the U.N.'s climate change conference in Copenhagen, when a group of pro-clean energy hecklers interrupted AFP President Tim Phillips's speech with chants of "clean energy makes jobs."
Phillips was in Copenhagen to protest the push for climate change legislation, which he calls an issue that "perhaps more than anything else, ends and begins on freedom."
Are we gonna have the freedom as citizens of the United States and around this world, to live our lives as we see fit, not as some government bureaucrats see fit?
Midway through his speech though, a group of pro-reform hecklers stood up and started chanting "clean energy makes jobs," and "Americans for prosperity are Americans for clean energy," before taking over the stage.
Phillips was forced to move his speech off-stage, where he railed against the protesters: "This is exactly what you would expect from the other side. It's the kind of attacks and personal things that you see from the environmental radicals."
He continued: "But I'll tell you this, it's why we're winning this battle. We're winning this battle because we stand up on the issues and these guys scream and roar."
"The other side can't win this debate. So what do they do? They try to attack and scream," Phillips said.
Americans For Prosperity has been on the forefront of Tea Party protesting over the past few months, claiming to be "an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels." In reality, one of their major donors is Koch Industries, the largest privately owned energy company in America. But that's another story.
What is important (and ironic) here is that, egged on by groups like AFP, tea party protesters have become known for disrupting health care town halls over the summer through what some might call screams and roars.
AFP even released a strategy memo for town halls, urging protesters to "watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early," in order to "be disruptive early and often." The memo also says that "the goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down."
In another instance, an AFP sub-group told supporters to "go to offices of members of Congress and put the fear of god in them."
If it's possible to "put the fear of god" in Congress through rational debate, here's hoping AFP will issue another strategy memo explaining how.
Late Update: Here's the video: