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August 5, 2009
Left begins smear campaign against Town Hall protests (updated)
The first thing you have to understand is that it is impossible, according to the left, for conservatives to have a legitimate protest. Only liberals have "authentic" grass roots so the idea of the right demonstrating against anything - in their lights - is a political trick. We are a "Brooks Brothers Brigade" or, "radicals" or "mobs." The demonstrations at Town Hall meetings on health care reform are "astroturfing" - planned and paid for by insurance industry lobbyists.
Of course, this is absurd on its face. The protests at congressional town halls are certainly authentic in that they represent the views of millions of people, if not a majority. And anyone familiar with the Tea Party movement knows that they oppose any top-down direction fiercely. In this way, they are a true "grass roots" opposition and not Soros funded Moveon minions.
Nevertheless, some of the protests at the health care town halls have gotten out of hand and the left has pounced. Politico's Huddle has the details:
The pushback stories on town halls are everywhere. From Roll Call's Jackie Kucinich and Jennifer Bendery: 'House Democratic leaders have a strategy for countering protesters attempting to disrupt Members' town-hall meetings on health care over the August recess: Do nothing. ... Van Hollen predicted that the (opposition) groups' more dramatic tactics - which have included the display of Nazi signs, a hanging effigy of Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.) and a tombstone bearing the name of Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) - will 'backfire in a big way' because their aim is to keep citizens from having a conversation about health care. 'When you've got people shouting and hanging Members of Congress in effigy, most people are going to react badly to that. I think most people want to have a civil discussion,' he said.'
The Democrats will cherry pick those protests that feature the angriest, the loudest, and the most threatening crowds in order to delegitimize all the demonstrations. Dishonest? You bet. But damned effective. There are voters who are on the fence about the health care bill and it does the cause no good to use the same tactics the left has used against us in order to demonstrate our concerns about health care reform.
Why imitate the absolute worst tactics of your enemy? That simply isn't logical. Shouting down fellow citizens and screaming at congressmen may feel good, but that kind of emotionalism frightens people who may spell the difference as to whether health care reform passes or whether the reaction of voters so scares the congress that they drop the whole idea for this term.
The frustration is understandable. The anger is as well. But clear thinking is needed if this monstrosity is to be defeated. And it doesn't help when people at some of these gatherings lose control of their emotions for the whole world to see.
I have some additional thoughts on this at my own site.
Update from Ed Lasky:
Here is an internet commercial from the DNC. Transcript:
THE SCRIPT: 'The right wing extremist Republican base is back. They lost the election. They lost on the recovery act, the budget and children's health care. They've lost the confidence of the American people after eight years of failed policies that ruined our economy and cost millions of jobs. Now, desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies are organizing angry mobs, just like they did during the election. Their goal? Destroy President Obama, and stop the change Americans voted for overwhelmingly in November. This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives. They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they've called out the mob. Call the Republican Party. [Text on screen: Call the GOP. 202-863-8500] Tell them you've had enough of the mob. The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.'
THE STRATEGY: This is part of a coordinated effort between the White House and the DNC to discredit attacks on the president's health-care plans, and make Republicans 'own' everything coming from their side. With this video, which include clips of the birthers' town-meeting rebellion, the DNC is defending aggressively against the sort of attacks that were ignored during the campaign.
DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement: 'The Republicans and their allied groups - desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill - are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country. ... These mobs are bussed in by well funded, highly organized groups run by Republican operatives ... Despite the headline grabbing nature of these angry mobs and their disruptions of events, they are not reflective of where the American people are on the issues.'