There’s a common axiom that when accusations start getting thrown around, the accusers are often likely to project their guilt onto others and be engaging in exactly the kind of wrongdoing they decry. This seems to be proven very true by recent accusations from the left that protests against health care legislation were inauthentic “astroturfing” bought and paid for by the health care and insurance industries.
First they attempted to discredit the protests by describing generally well behaved protesters as an “angry mob” and ultimately as neo-Nazis and white supremacists based on distortions and the scantiest imaginable evidence, such as Nancy Pelosi seeing a sign with a swastika with a cross through it — indicating opposition to national socialism — and claiming that this meant the bearer was a nazi. This strategy fell apart when the extensive video of the protests made very clear that the protesters were peaceful and generally well-behaved despite the occasional passionate outburst. It even created the opportunity for humor at the expense of the Democrats with responses like the popular “I am the Mob” video.
The next response from the Democrats was to send in thugs to intimidate, assault and exclude anyone with a dissenting optinion who tried to attend a townhall meeting so that audiences would only ask approved questions and protesters would be kept out or scared away. Within a matter of days, union members and ACORN activists in matching shirts with identical printed signs were confronting grassroots protesters at every townhall. Now it has been revealed that these pro-health care advocates are not exactly what they seem. In fact, they are exactly what the left wrongly accused the grassroots protesters of being, a paid rent-a-mob made up of hired thugs an shills.
During the past week the evidence of this has become impossible to brush off. The presence of paid agitators from the SEIU, ACORN and Organizing for America has been too blatant to ignore. Their identical t-shirts and identical signs are designed to intimidate, but they also reveal exactly who and what they are. This became even more difficult to ignore early this week when it was revealed that these groups are advertising for paid protesters on Craigslist all over the country. They aren’t genuinely concerned about health care, they just want to get their $12 an hour for showing up.
Then there’s the issue of the undercover shills. It’s not enough to just send in a rent-a-mob. In several incidents Democrat operatives have been sent in undercover to ask softball questions or to stir up trouble and create negative photo-ops. This started with genuine constituents being excluded from meetings while bussed-in paid advocates had space reserved from them and it reached its height when Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was offered a leading softball question by a woman named Roxana Mayer who claimed to be a doctor from Lee’s district, but turned out to be a paid activist for Organizing for America, not from Houston and not a doctor. I guess Lee needed all the help she could get since she was so unfamiliar with the legislation that the had to call a White House hotline in the middle of being asked a question to find out what was in it.
Finally, in the most bizarre incident, a protester who appeared at Senator Dingell’s townhall carrying a poster depicting Obama as Hitler was spotted handing out literature supporting health care reform, with Dingell’s staff later in the evening. It turned out that he was a Democrat activist and had gotten the poster from a group advocating single-payer health care which feels that the proposed legislation isn’t radical enough.
Putting aside the irony of the Democrats being caught doing exactly the kind of fake, astroturf protesting they falsely accused groups on the right of engaging in, this whole sordid pattern of smears, thuggery and deception shows how desperate advocates of radical health care reform are getting. That desperation may also be revealed by the recent discovery that the White House is sending out spam email about health care. The protesters are winning and the left is getting desperate, because health care was the point of the spear which would lead to the introduction of their entire agenda of government expansion and socialization. Now public opinion has turned sharply against them. In the latest Rasmussen Poll only 32% of the public supports health care changes and that support is eroding rapidly. Even those who support the idea of health care reform find current proposals and the tactics being used by the left to be unacceptable.
Maybe it’s time to stop and reconsider. President Obama could show some real leadership and admit that his party has blown this opportunity through bully tactics and incompetence and open up an honest dialog on this issue with all points of view included. In particular he ought to repudiate the tactics and behavior of Nancy Pelosi and the unions and the DNC to reclaim some legitimacy for himself. If he and his supporters continue obstinately on the course they have followed so far they won’t have enough credibility left to pass a resolution confirming that the sky is blue, much less any kind of health care reform.