Saturday, February 28, 2009

Misspelling Conservatives Hold Well-Orchestrated "Protest" Against Obama

George Bush attracted thousands, tens of thousands and countless millions of protesters at various points during his Presidency. Barack Obama is only a little over a month into his term and already he has groups taking to the streets to protest his quest to stimulate the economy. Conservatives fear that by spending money on vital infrastructure programs and putting people to work, that Americans will see that government can work for them. That possibility has the potential to put the Grover Norquists and Pat Toomeys of the world out of power for decades. So what does a corporate-loving, poor-people loathing, bunch of elitist white guys do about this threat to their very existence?

Start a faux protest of course:

The extensive media coverage of the event was perhaps disproportionate to the actual size of the protests, which drew around 200 to 300 participants in most locations. The greatest turnout may have been in St. Louis, Missouri, where some 1000 people showed up. The protest was inspired by a rant against Obama's housing bailout plan delivered last week from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade by CNBC's Rick Santelli, who denounced struggling homeowners as "losers." Planning moved ahead quickly, thanks to the use of YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and especially Twitter.
Sounds exciting and "revolutionary," especially as the group tried to compare themselves to the founding fathers that dumped tea in Boston Harbor to protest a tax that they had no influence on (unlike now when the American people overwhelming elected Barack Obama to do exactly what he is on track to accomplish). The only problem with their grassroots endeavor was that it wasn't exactly "grassroots."

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin calls the protesters "a fledgling grassroots movement." However, sociologist Eugenia Deerman, a student of conservative social movements, told the Christian Science Monitor, "I’m suspicious only because ... the conservative movement has repeatedly used this tactic of creating an appearance of grassroots activism when they’re actually very well orchestrated." Many progressives are also skeptical of the grassroots claim. For example, blogger Jeffrey Feldman points out that the Washington, DC sponsors of the events include such old-line anti-tax groups as Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, and FreedomWorks.
To people like Norquist and Toomey, smoke and mirrors is SOP without having any real, substantive movement behind them. Perhaps that is because Obama is planning on cutting taxes for 95% of Americans and raising them for the wealthy income earners and the special interest groups that represent them. Fighting progress must be hard, especially when you can only muster a few thousand people to protest the agenda that seventy million voters whole-heartedly endorsed this past November.