Belligerence is the currency of the intellectually bankrupt.
— Charles Blow
What you're seeing at these meetings is not the brutish behavior of people too dumb to convince others with reason. On the contrary, this is the natural reaction of people when their attempts at reason have fallen on deaf ears and they realize the brutes are planning a feast with them on the menu. These people aren't "[b]linded by fear and passion" but passionately fearful of the dangers to their freedoms that the apathetic masses are blind to--in no small part due to the work of those like Charles Blow or Gail Collins, who argues for Obama's Health Care Deform, because it's something "those people pounding on the doors of a town meeting in Tampa and screaming at the fire marshals don’t want." (Yes, making the people you don't like mad is always a strong ethical argument for massive spending and regulation.)
Just listening to the arrogant office holders in recent weeks, I expected angry reactions and wondered how long it would be until fists were swung. The surprise reaction of proponents, and the lame attempts to dismiss and ridicule genuine anger only demonstrates how out of touch they are.
This inability to appreciate why people are shouting is a bad sign. As Beck points out, once again: "All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war."