Say, isn’t this Astroturfing?

posted at 10:55 am on August 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The White House and its allies have tossed around accusations of “astroturfing” — fake grassroots movements — at the opposition to ObamaCare with gusto, as town-hall meetings erupt in anger and acrimony towards elected officials who don’t bother to read bills before voting for them.  They claim that powerful forces have pushed these overdressed people into these meetings, and that their strategies are coordinated from on high, rather than representing a truly sincere opposition.

If so, what does this latest missive from Barack Obama and the DNC mean?

Friend —

I wanted to send you an urgent invitation to an important Town Hall with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Thursday morning. She’ll be talking to constituents and gathering feedback — this is an ideal opportunity to make sure your support of health insurance reform is seen and heard at exactly the right time to make a huge difference.

Our congressional representatives are back home this month, and they’re facing more and more pressure from special interests on health insurance reform. It’s critical that we get out there and show them where we stand.

I hope you can join us.

What: Health Care Town Hall with
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Where: Grafton Town Hall
E Grafton Rd.
Grafton, NH 03240

When: Thursday, August 6th
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Our representatives are under attack by Washington insiders, insurance companies, and well-financed special interests who don’t go a day without spreading lies and stirring up fear. We need to show that we’re sick and tired of it, and that we’re ready for real change, this year.

Please come to the Town Hall, and make sure that the most powerful voices in this debate are those calling for real reform, not angrily clamoring for the status quo.

RSVP here:



Tim Arsenault
New Hampshire Field Director
Organizing for America

P.S. — Before the event, please print off a flyer to display and make sure that your support is visible.

That’s what Organizing for America, “a project of the Democratic National Committee,” has sent by e-mail to its campaign list.  The flyer that the DNC wants people to hold as they outshout anyone else in the room can be seen here:

Because nothing says grassroots like the Obama campaign logo on the top, and Obama’s website URL on the bottom.  That small print at the bottom reads, “Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee … This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

Uh, sure … except for the Obama logo, the Obama URL, and the weird “Oh, thank you Dear Leader” message, who would think that it was authorized by Obama?

Update: Maybe the DNC and Obama campaign should have checked with Shaheen first:

There’s just one problem. contacted Shaheen’s office who confirms that the senator is in Washington and will not attend the town hall meeting. Staff will field questions in Grafton instead.

These are the people who want to run your health care.

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I say we take a page from Anonymous: Peacefully protest, but don’t back down until we get results.

But no masks. We are individuals, and we must stand as one.

There was no better time for ‘E Pluribus Unum’ than now my good friends.

Chaz706 on August 6, 2009 at 6:20 PM

The lie they keep perpetuating is the Conservatives have no ideas about reforming health care. There are plenty, and let’s start with TORT REFORM! Cap the “pain and suffering”, make it loser pays, and that will go a long way to keep Docs from having to pay $800K / year in malpractice ins.

Then we can start by getting rid of Medicare.

kirkill on August 6, 2009 at 6:28 PM

So when Democratic astroturfing fails, it must be because the Republicans are beating them at the astroturf game?

Here’s a good exit question: Is every Democrat attack on conservatives and/or Republicans a case of projection?

tom on August 6, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Here’s a good exit question: Is every Democrat attack on conservatives and/or Republicans a case of projection?

tom on August 6, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Yep, I’m sure it’s straight from Alinsky.

kirkill on August 6, 2009 at 6:37 PM

well, I just got the phone call to participate in senator shaheen’s “phone town hall meeting”

dispite talking, then YELLING into it the automated system wouldn’t recognize there was someone on the phone.

deliberate? who the hell knows.

maybe it was this paragraph from my last letter to her that got me on that “right wing extremist” do not call list?

“you cannot call a hunting rifle an “armor piercing sniper rifle” or a semiautomatic rifle an “assault rifle” any more than you can call a Volvo sedan a “armored personnel carrier”. they are not the same. words have specific
definitions. please use them properly.”

warhorse_03826 on August 6, 2009 at 6:40 PM

pressure from special interests

So the American people are now considered special interest. It is about time that we were considered special.

Johan Klaus on August 6, 2009 at 6:58 PM

I just signed up for new insurance yesterday and was asked to do something that got me to thinking. As always, they asked for a voided check to collect the premium. If this ObamaCare thing went through, would premiums of some kind be collected? If so, how? I certainly ain’t going to give the government a voided check.

UnderstandingisPower on August 6, 2009 at 6:18 PM

The bill gives the government access to your bank account for that purpose. It’s all in there if you read it (unlike our representatives).

Hazzard on August 6, 2009 at 7:53 PM


imperator on August 6, 2009 at 8:19 PM

How To Lose An Election
By The Democrat Party

Copywrite, 2010

Forward by President AstroTurf Obama

TN Mom on August 6, 2009 at 9:31 PM

OK i am stupid……

what is astroturfing?

kara26 on August 6, 2009 at 9:32 PM

kara26 on August 6, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Fake grass-roots movement. basically getting a bunch of people together from an organization and presenting them like they are independent people united in a cause with no organizational affiliation. (i.e. people affiliated ACORN showing up to protest whatever ACORN is against.)

Rightwingguy on August 6, 2009 at 9:54 PM

OK i am stupid……

what is astroturfing?

kara26 on August 6, 2009 at 9:32 PM

I believe it has to do with fake “grass roots movements” .

Astroturf refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations,

CWforFreedom on August 6, 2009 at 9:54 PM

The Strange Case of Professor Obama and Mr Hussein is a real life drama playing out in the aftermath of the Presidential election of 2008. It is about the dilemma of the American citizen who sees strange dissonances between the new found Messiah, Professor Obama, and the ever more emerging misanthropic, pyromaniac (reference note #1) Mr. Hussein. It is a vivid portrayal of a split personality, split in the sense that within the same person there is, or was, both an apparently good and an ever more emerging evil personality each being quite distinct from the other. In mainstream culture the very phrase “Obama and Hussien” will come to mean a person who’s words are vastly different in moral character from his actions.

Reference note #1: Such individuals who lack ulterior motive have traditionally been referred to in layman’s terms simply as a variation of a pyromaniac. Most such maniacs lack conscious motivation although they are fully aware of the acts they are failing to stop or they themselves are committing. Typically they will feel intense pleasure, gratification, or relief when causing destruction or when witnessing or participating in the aftermath. Motivation is also classified as pathological and non-pathological. Some research suggests that feeling such joy at horrific situation is pathological. Other research suggests that some motivation for this comes from rational thought. Taking joy in horrific situations for envisioned gains in political power and/or the concealment of the imposition of devious plans are examples of supposed rational decision making.

In layman’s terms, your President in one sick bastard.

Sigmund on August 6, 2009 at 10:30 PM

That’s not astroturfing, that’s AFROturfing.

mizflame98 on August 6, 2009 at 10:33 PM

BTW, Obama is the president now. Is there a reason why that flier has Obama’s campaign logo on there?

mizflame98 on August 6, 2009 at 10:36 PM


is there anyone at the DNC that has the decency to be honest?

poppieseeds on August 6, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Jim Himes of CT sent out an almost identical email today too regarding a town hall meeting tonight in Stamford. Low and behold, Mr. Himes did not show up.

According to those in attendance, as the crowd was growing understandably increasingly irritated, his staffers told those gathered that IF Mr. Himes showed up, he would be talking about the FAA, not the insurance boondoggle and wasn’t going to take questions at all on any subject. The 150 or so people that showed up were not pleased.

Perhaps the RSVP’s received were not weighed enough in his favor for him to have the courage to show his face. On that note, RSVP’s??? Seriously??

It seems there is some bait and switch and game playing by the Democratic party going on yet again. “Planned” town hall meetings where the politicians don’t show up.

Yeah, that strategy should calm all the “fake” outraged astro-turfers right on down. What could go wrong?

SassyDarlin on August 6, 2009 at 11:52 PM

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (Tucson, AZ) didn’t show up to her traditional movie night downtown because it was populated with about 200 people with healthcare plan question…looks ike they’re running scared.

scott_lauritzen on August 8, 2009 at 4:57 AM