Under the leadership of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, and other Republican lobbyists, thousands of angry, politically illiterate people stormed town hall meetings to throw tantrums at members of Congress in a shameful effort to subvert Obama’s helathcare plan.

In the short term, the scheme was a success and almost derailed healthcare. However, the Gestapo-like tactics, boorish behavior, intimidation of public officials, bullying of average citizens, profound ignorance of the Tea Baggers — many of whom did not know Medicare was a government program, and the carefully calculated chaos, undermined democratic discourse.

Thanks to the tea-baggers, the New York Times writes that many members of Congress are skipping town hall meetings, so they do not degenerate into town brawls.

The sentiment that fueled the rage during those Congressional forums is still alive in the electorate. But the opportunities for voters to openly express their displeasure, or angrily vent as video cameras roll, have been harder to come by in this election year.

If the time-honored tradition of the political meeting is not quite dead, it seems to be teetering closer to extinction. Of the 255 Democrats who make up the majority in the House, only a handful held town-hall-style forums as legislators spent last week at home in their districts.

In other words, thanks to these thugs, your average Joe (Real ones, not Joe the opportunistic Republican non-plumber) will have less access to members of Congress than ever before. The very people the Tea Baggers purported to be helping will have less of a chance to discuss genuine issues and concerns with politicians.

Dick Armey and his band of loudmouth louts has harmed America. Thanks, Tea Baggers, for degrading democracy with irrational tirades that poisoned politics more than ever before. You ought to be proud of your “patriotic” actions.