I thought folks on the left loved protesters -- the rowdier, the better. Liberals are fond of reminding us that free speech is sacred, and that dissent -- "speaking truth to power" -- is a patriotic duty. Remember the 2008 Republican National Convention? The ACLU of Minnesota went to court to win a parade permit that would have allowed thousands of protesters, including anarchists who had vowed to shut down the convention, to encircle St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, where delegates convened.Adding to the irony is Jonathan Chait, who in 2004 famously published a New Republic article called "The Case For Bush Hatred" (first sentence: "I hate President George W. Bush."), but in the same magazine's current issue insists that the "GOP welcomes the fringe on board."
Today's town hall protesters get no such respectful treatment. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has branded them "evil-mongers." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have labeled them "un-American." Left-wing journalists have mocked them as buffoons, extremists and crazies.
Most significantly, some Democratic leaders have charged that town hall protesters are not ordinary citizens speaking from the heart, as they appear to be. Instead, they are puppets, part of an "ugly campaign" -- in Pelosi's and Hoyer's words -- orchestrated by shadowy special interests. . .
It's odd, too, to hear Democrats denounce grass-roots organizing as sinister. Their allies wrote the book on "netroots," and groups such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and MoveOn.org helped put Obama and friends over the top in the 2008 elections. These organizations have eye-popping budgets and Washington offices, while town hall protesters pass on e-mails to their neighbors from their kitchens after work.
The greatest irony, of course, is that Barack Obama -- our health care reformer-in-chief -- rose to America's highest office by using skills he mastered as a "community organizer."
(via Victor Davis Hanson on The Corner)