Smells Like Astroturf (UPDATED)

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Remember when a coalition of right-wing groups organized the tea party protests and pretended that they were some kind of grassroots uprising of angry taxpayers? Remember how the tea parties were actually funded, organized and publicized by a veritable who’s who of the right, including:

the American Spectator, the Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, the Institute for Liberty, the Coalition for a Conservative Majority and the Young Conservatives Coalition.

Well, the same folks are at it again.  More below the fold…

This time, they’re disrupting town halls hosted by Democratic members of Congress in order to make it look like there’s a groundswell of opposition to health care reform:

The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress

Here’s the memo [PDF], as well as some key excerpts:

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Town halls are intended to foster dialogue between citizens and their representatives in Congress; they help ensure that our elected officials don’t become too ensconced within the DC bubble.

But now the right is hijacking those town halls, using them as a staging ground for anti-health care astroturfing.  The right is waging a campaign of harassment and intimation against elected officials who dare defy the GOP and their benefactors, the insurance industry and the health industrial complex.

Now, we all have the right to speak our minds and to organize. But let’s not pretend that these disruptive, counterproductive protests are some kind of spontaneous taxpayer revolt against health care reform.  Just like the above memo outlines–just like the tea party protests–these demonstrations are carefully-organized and well-planned, put together by right-wing activists devoted to killing health care reform and denying you better health care coverage.

UPDATE: Here are the right-wing astroturfers in action:

And these are the folks we’re supposed to be bargaining with on health care reform? Please. These folks just want to kill health care reform and they’re–quite clearly–willing to go to any length to stop it.

They’re just another branch of the Party of No’s permanent campaign of obstructionism.

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One comment

  1. TheGreenMiles · August 4, 2009

    Hmmm, what does Astroturf smell like? In this case, it smells like teabags. With a hint of smoke.

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