In light of all this, it's funny to watch Democrats and their activist allies panic over the protests at congressional town meetings around the country. Tools of the corporate interests! they cry. But anyone opposing "socialized medicine" at the meeting can't be a mouthpiece for big business because, as we've seen, big business supports government control. Conservative groups may be encouraging people to vent their anger at congressmen who pass burdensome legislation without even bothering to read it, but that's no reason to insult the protesters as pawns. What's wrong with organizations helping like-minded people to voice their opinions? Why do Democrats, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, dismiss citizen participation as "AstroTurf" -- not real grassroots -- only when citizens oppose the kind of big government they favor?
They weren't so dismissive when George W. Bush was president and people protested -- appropriately -- his accumulation of executive powers.
"When handfuls of Code Pink ladies disrupted congressional hearings or speeches by Bush administration officials," Glenn Reynolds writes, "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. ... But when it happens to Democrats, it's something different: A threat to democracy, a sign of incipient fascism ... House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the 'Tea Party' protesters Nazis. ... "
So, when lefties do it, it's called "community organizing."
When conservatives and libertarians do it, it's "AstroTurf."
Give me a break.