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August 9, 2009
'Remember when protest was patriotic?'
Writing in an Op-Ed appearing in the Washington Examiner , Glenn Reynolds reminds the left of some inconvenient truths:
On March 16, USA Today reported that Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum "was among dozens of members of Congress who ran gantlets of demonstrators and shouted over hecklers at Social Security events last month. Many who showed up to protest were alerted by e-mails and bused in by anti-Bush organizations such as MoveOn.org and USAction, a liberal advocacy group. They came with prepared questions and instructions on how to confront lawmakers."
This was just good, boisterous politics: "Robust, wide-open debate." But when it happens to Democrats, it's something different: A threat to democracy, a sign of incipient fascism, and an opportunity to set up a (possibly illegal) White House "snitch line" where people are encouraged to report "fishy" statements to the authorities.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the "Tea Party" protesters Nazis, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman --forgetting the events above -- claims that left-leaning groups never engaged in disruptive tactics against Social Security reform, and various other administration-supporting pundits are trying to spin the whole thing as a deadly move toward "mob rule" and - somewhat contradictorily -- as a phony "astroturf" movement.
Remember: When lefties do it, it's called "community organizing." When conservatives and libertarians do it, it's "astroturf."
But some people are noticing the truth. As Mickey Kaus notes, "If an 'astroturfing' campaign gets real people to show up at events stating their real views, isn't it ... community organizing?" Why yes, yes it is.
This double standard is so appalling, I can't think of anything that compares to it in recent memory. Read Glenn's entire piece for more outrageous examples of the difference between protests that are "patriotic" and those that are "astroturfing."