What would happen if that creepy “Sham Wow” pitch guy had an audience that called him out on the things a critical viewer notices in his sham of a commercial? What if someone pointed out during the commercial that that piece of rug he just showed wasn’t the same one that he had just poured the soda on (or pointed out that he shouldn’t beat up prostitutes?) ? Last week, when I had time, I was following the happenings of the supposed “town hall” meetings that were happening throughout the country. With Congress in recess, members were back in their districts “getting in touch with their people” (read as: doing more personal Sham Wow commercials for health care BS). I think that the answer to what would happen to the Sham Wow guy is being shown to us each day at these town hall meetings. I know my liberal friends here are going to cry foul, but I am personally tiring of every public outcry against the policies of this administration being labeled as either “right wing extremists” or “GOP plants that are not the feelings of regular voters”…..
It isn’t that I don’t recognize that there are, in fact, some groups out there organizing protests of the town halls. And it certainly isn’t that I don’t see some instances where the people in these meetings have been too disrespectful or too concerned with making a spectacle of themselves as opposed to having their voice heard. The bottom line is that there ARE some groups out there that are organizing and rallying in some “suspect” ways. But they are not the majority. And there is little doubt that the groups organizing on the right side of the issues are being treated far differently than the groups who organized on the left were treated by the main stream media.
I was reading an article the other night from the New York Times. I paid particular interest to the article because it was talking about Frank Kratovil, the representative from Maryland, specifically the representative for the district that I used to live in and where several of my friends (including revolution2010) live now. There were certainly actions that were not simply health care discussions or debates. For example, one opponent of health care reform reportedly hung an effigy of Kratovil outside his district office. The article talked about how “200 angry conservatives confronted him” over health care at a town hall meeting. And it then discussed how President Obama’s political organization sent a mass e-mail “urging supporters to turn out for a Kratovil event at a library, to ‘make sure your support for health insurance reform is seen and heard.’ ”
The article went on to make some pretty partisan judgements and proclamations. Just a few copy and pastes to highlight the mood of the article. I will put a link to the article at the bottom of this article:
- The traditional town hall meeting, a staple of Congressional constituent relations, had been hijacked, overrun by sophisticated social-networking campaigns — those on the right protesting so loudly as to shut down public discourse and those on the left springing into action to shut down the shutdowns. (Portraying the dissent as nothing more than an attempt to shut down debate and the resulting liberal action a justified attempt to “shut down the shut down)
- Along the way, another kind of Joe — Joe Six-Pack, the average Joe — seemed to disappear, pushed into the background by crowds bearing scripted talking points and signs. (I have watched coverage of this over the last week. Anyone who can form a coherent sentence and ask a legit question that people have were called plants with a scripted agenda)
- Now, though, the complaining constituent is not always who he seems to be. In Wisconsin last week, Representative Steve Kagen, a Democrat, was challenged on health care by a woman who declared herself politically unaffiliated; the local television station later discovered that she was a former Republican Party official who had worked for Mr. Kagen’s opponent in his Congressional race. (You know what I am a former Republican who worked for John McCain’s campaign against Bush in 2000, but I am absolutely not politically affiliated now. So you should ignore me when I make that statement because it wasn’t true 9 years ago?)
- Some might call it democracy in action, but there is a risk. If the pattern continues, lawmakers could grow suspicious, refusing to believe that their encounters with voters are genuine. (In other words, an attempt to stop the dissent by claiming it has the opposite effect)
- “When a politician can’t tell what’s grassroots and what’s Astro, that’s dangerous,” Mr. Zelizer said. “In the long term, that could undermine the potential of grassroots mobilizers to change things. At a certain point, it’s crying wolf. No one is going to believe it’s real.” (Again the same attempt to quiet dissent, and the common liberal claim of “an astro” movement)
Now I will point out that if I make statements like those above, with an obvious partisan twist on the events, or in the case of the second two, with the intent of silencing dissent, liberals on this site would call me a closet Republican with an agenda. And these quotes were taken from an article in the New York Times, a “reputable news source”, not a blog by a guy who is just fed up with government. I am first, allowed to be biased even when I attempt to look at things honestly. And second, I don’t think it is out of line to expect the supposedly honest news media to not show bias. We know they do, that isn’t the argument here. They could at least try to fool us instead of being so openly liberal.
Other articles that I read from Fox News, CBS News, Real Clear Politics, pointed out the declarations coming from leaders in the Democratic party this weekend. These comments highlight the way that the protesters are being demonized and discredited:
- Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said there are plenty of Americans who just want to attend the meetings and ask “honest questions” about health care reform. But he said they’re being squeezed out by an organized opposition movement. “This is clearly being orchestrated and these folks have instructions,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that it’s not right for those who are part of that movement to disrupt the meetings.
- Tom Harkin was interrupted several times by critics in the audience. He drew outrage Saturday when he told the crowd there is a “nationally coordinated effort” to disrupt the town halls.
- Democratic National Committee’s press secretary Hari Sevugan said nationwide protests of democratic health care town hall events were “manufactured outrage “
- Politico’s Josh Kraushaar said that regions where these protests have occurred since the weekend are actually very Democratic and polls have indicated that people there support the president’s health care plan. “The notion that there is a grassroots activism in those areas is somewhat unlikely. It suggests that you are seeing the pressure of outside groups,” he said.
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid characterized town-hall dissenters as “loud, shrill voices trying to interrupt” and “throw a monkey wrench into everything.”
- Both the White House and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi say the dissent is being “manufactured” by political and corporate organizations; Pelosi dismisses town-hall dissent as “astroturf,” or artificially generated faux-grassroots movements.
And of course there is the rest of the main stream media. Of course they are jumping on the bandwagon, or better phrased, leading the charge to discredit all the folks opposed to the health care reform we are seeing discussed in Congress these days: Keith Olbermann, in a report titled “Political Terrorism” reporting on the dissenters at the town hall meetings: “When Hamas does it or Hezbollah does it, it’s called terrorism. Why should Republican lawmakers and the astroturf groups organizing on behalf of the health care industry be viewed any differently. Especially now that far too many tea party protesters are comparing President Obama and health care reform to Hitler and the holocaust? The grass roots movements may be fake but the anger of Americans lashing out at health care events now dangerously real.”
What strikes me most about all of the things that I have written above, couple with all I have shown you about the media and Democratic leaders takes on the Tax Day Tea Parties, is the absolute hypocrisy that exists in their reporting. Bill O’Reilly, of all people, got it right when he discussed this hypocrisy. The fact is that “organized protests” are absolutely nothing new in the American landscape. It is just usually the left that has been using them for the last 8 years or so. Realistically, it started well before that. The anti-war protests during the Vietnam war were very organized. The civil rights protests were very organized. Environmental protests and abortion rights demonstrations are very organized.
But let’s look at what we have seen in recent history. In an organized protest widely applauded by the main stream media, the founder of “The Minutemen” were shouted down at Columbia University. Hundreds of protesters organized by a left wing group shouted down and eventually unfurled a 40 foot banner across the stage when Tom Tancredo visited UNC to discuss health care earlier this year. Again widely applauded by the media. And the examples are too numerous to mention of the good media attention given to organized protests from groups such as Code Pink or the Cindy Sheehans of the world or even organized attempts to throw pies at Ann Coulter.
The fact is that the left has a long and distinguished history of organizing and protesting, often violently and certainly in the examples provided above, in a manner that completely disrupts the talk, town hall meeting, or debate at hand. And when these things happen, the media accepts them as an honest appraisal of the American sentiment. No questions are asked about the groups who organize the protests or actions by the left. Yet the second that a conservative protest happens, the participants are portrayed as fringe radicals and nothing more than plants from right wing groups. And then they follow up with a hard look at what group might be behind it and why it is an “astro” movement.
The fact is that these protests are not fringe groups. A large percentage of Americans are unhappy with today’s government, and especially unhappy with the speed and folly that the last 6 months of legislation seems to have been done with. According to Rasmussen, Americans oppose health care reform as it is currently being debated 55%-35%. That isn’t a fringe group, that is a majority. Rasmussen also found that only 16% of Americans think health care should be the top priority for Congress this year. Out of control spending in Washington coupled with a massive increase in government size and scope over the last two decades has pushed people to the tipping point. And they are starting to get angry.
That isn’t to say that there are not some groups working to stir the hornet’s nest. There certainly are. Claims of outrage over “fear being used as a means to get people to act” ring deaf from an administration and liberal media that has used the word “crisis” a million times to pass sweeping legislation in record time. But I believe that the majority of the people showing up at these town hall meetings are there because they are concerned with what they are seeing in Washington. Groups may point them in the right direction, but it is the anger and passion that drives them to act. And Washington better start paying attention.
The tactics that worked for the left for years are finally being used by the right: Organization and loud protest. And every time the hypocrites in the MSM and Washington denounce these movements after supporting them when the were for liberal causes, they are losing credibility and angering the masses more. Guys like Olbermann may make the far left fringe pee their pants with excitement, but he is quickly turning the tide of moderates against the Democratic party, just like the far right fringe did to Republican moderates several years ago.
The media isn’t outraged that there are groups organizing against health care and out of control spending and government infringement. They just aren’t sure what to do now that the left is getting a little bit of its own medicine.
I used quotes and information from about 20 articles for this article. The four below contained the quotes I used.