Friday, August 07, 2009

"Town hall," town brawl

Hat tip -- Gateway Pundit:

US Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO) apparently rented mobs from as far away as Chicago (the rental broker was the Service Employees International Union) to astro-turf a "town hall meeting" in support of ObamaCare yesterday.

It ended with six arrests after some of the SEIU muscle allegedly attacked a guy who was selling "Don't Tread on Me" flags to anti-ObamaCare protesters.

I'm still not sure whether there's any authentic grassroots push behind the Tea Parties at this point or whether they're pretty much 100% astro-turf themselves now. The last "St. Louis Tea Party" was moved 50 miles out of St. Louis so as to keep it 100% "on RNC message." I suspect there are still some non-Kool-Aid-drinkers hanging on to the Tea Party idea, though. And it was a good idea until the GOP went into hijacking action on it.

So as for the Tea Party folks, I dunno. But make no mistake about it, Carnahan's event was conceived from the start as 100% pure unadulterated astro-turf. The only "town hall" aspect was the name. It was a dog and pony show put together for the specific purpose of creating the perception that Carnahan's constituents overwhelmingly support his position on ObamaCare.

My congresscritter, Lacy Clay, takes it a step further (or back, as the case may be). He holds his "town meetings" on the phone, with all speakers/questioners pre-vetted so that he doesn't run into any surprises. As one of his constituents, I get an automated phone call "inviting" me to the "meeting," after which I'm hooked in to hear Clay preach about what he's up to, demolish straw man counter-arguments he sets up himself, and handle softball questions from supporters. There's no place for me to haul a sign to to protest. On the other hand, there's no way for a counter-protester to hit me over the head either, I guess, so it's kind of a wash on that count.

As for the SEIU, it's living proof of what state involvement does to unions. It turns them into political tools to be used for the enhancement of state power at the expense of worker power. Or, to put a finer point on it, it turns them into thugs.

I was actually writing about this kind of stuff over at the Center for a Stateless Society about the time it was happening.

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