DISSENT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF PATRIOTI- . . . No, wait, that bumper sticker expired January 20. Under the stimulus bill, there’s a new $1.3 trillion bills-for-bumpers program whereby, if you peel off old slogans now recognized as environmentally harmful (“QUESTION AUTHORITY”), you can trade them in for a new “CELEBRATE CONFORMITY” sticker, complete with a holographic image of President Obama that never takes his eyes off you.and Glenn Reynolds wrote:
“The right-wing extremist Republican base is back!” warns the Democratic National Committee. These right-wing extremists have been given their marching orders by their masters: They’ve been directed to show up at “thousands of events,” told to “organize,” “knock on doors” . . .
No, wait. My mistake. That’s the e-mail I got from Mitch Stewart, Director of “Organizing for America” at BarackObama.com. But that’s the good kind of “organizing.” Obama’s a community organizer. We’re the community. He organizes us. What part of that don’t you get?
When the community starts organizing against the organizer, the whole rigmarole goes to hell.
"Protest is patriotic!" "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!"These battle-cries were heard often, in a simpler America of long ago -- that is, before last November. Back then, protests -- even if they were organized by the usual leftist apparatchik-groups like ANSWER or ACORN -- were seen - at least in the media - as proof of popular discontent.When handfuls of Code Pink ladies disrupted congressional hearings or speeches by Bush
administration officials, it was taken as evidence that the administration's policies were unpopular, and that the thinking parts of the populace were rising up in true democratic fashion.
Even disruptive tactics aimed at blocking President Bush's Social Security reform program were merely seen as evidence of boisterous high spirits and robust, wide-open debate. On May 23, 2005, the Savannah Morning News reported:
“By now, Jack Kingston is used to shouted questions, interruptions and boos. Republican congressmen expect such responses these days when they meet with constituents about President Bush's proposal to overhaul Social Security.“Tinkering with the system is always controversial. To make Bush's plan even more so -- political foes are sending people to Social Security forums armed with hostile questions.
By now, Kingston, a Savannah lawmaker and part of the GOP House leadership, has held 10 such sessions and plans at least seven more.”
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.