Obama's astroturf pitchfork brigade

Reverting to Chicago-style politics in the open last April, Barack Obama told the heads of 13 mega-banks,

"My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

This sort of indirect verbal thuggery needs periodic refreshment to remain effective extortion. So yesterday David Axelrod's pioneering work in ginning up demonstrations ("astroturfing") once again provided some muscle. Jim Lindgren of Volokh.com provides a first hand account of the recruitment of an Astroturf pitchfork brigade

A few weeks ago, I was solicited to participate in today's demonstration by a robocall. (My guess is that I was selected because I am a registered Democrat -- perhaps also because I live in a zip code with a large African-American population and a history of ACORN-related organizing.) 

Given the option of endorsing the effort or learning more, I chose learning more. The robocall then revealed that I was being solicited by the SEIU Illinois Council. 

The phone call then directed me to a website run by a coalition that included several organizations related to ACORN or run by former ACORN officials. (In Illinois, for example, ACORN mostly shut down in 2008, with many of its members moving over to Action Now.) The head of SEIU Illinois Council (the group that took credit for my robocall) is Tom Balanoff, the labor leader who was so close to Obama that he was chosen as Blagojevich's go-between in Blagojevich's effort to shake down the Obama team. One of the improper proposals that Blagojevich floated was a job at Change to Win, another of the organizations that is sponsoring today's demonstrations against bankers. Another sponsor is Citizen Action, the organization that received a large, suspicious payment from the Obama campaign.

Lindgren did not attend, and demurs on actually accusing Obama of setting up this group, noting that bankers have long been an ACORN target.

But Michelle Malkin is less reticent, and assembles more nuts and bolts details of the Astroturf works.
It was the usual left-wing Kabuki theater. If the protesters were sincerely mad about the government bailouts, they'd be yelling on Capitol Hill and in front of the White House. SEIU is simply taking over for its disgraced brethren at ACORN - with whom they have long collaborated on corporate shakedowns. Remember: SEIU and ACORN are flip sides of the same corrupted coin.

This isn't about demanding an end to corporate welfare. It's about getting a piece of the action through the "persuasion of power."

In my view, Obama has long been allied with the constellation of left wingers in the Alinskyite universe. They share a broad enough mutual understanding of what needs to be done that no phone calls need to be made.

Saul Alinsky was the master teacher of both Obama and Axelrod, and it should not be forgotten that in his early community organizing on Chicago, Barack Obama prepared and rehearsed his clients to speak at public meetings, and arranged transportation for them. Astroturfing is embedded his community organizer DNA, as it is with the rest of this crowd.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky