And this isn’t “Astroturfing”?

posted at 5:35 pm on August 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Jake Tapper reports today at ABC News about the White House using its campaign apparatus to drive ObamaCare advocates to townhall meetings this month.  He reprints part of a mass e-mail effort, which we have also reported, by Organizing for America, using the e-mail lists from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.  Tapper draws the line explicitly to Obama and the White House, but inadvertently misses the DNC:

Supporters of President Obama formerly signed up as members of “Obama for America” received an email today from Mitch Stewart, the director of the group’s current incarnation, Organizing for America, to show up at town halls and congressional offices as a counter to the protestors against the president’s health care reform push.

Painting the protestors as “Insurance companies and partisan attack groups…stirring up fear with false rumors about the President’s plan,” Stewart’s email tells supporters whom their member of Congress is and even provides information about town hall meetings they may be holding. …

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said “we want OFA supporters – and all Americans – to be part of an informed, intelligent discussion about health insurance reform and the urgency of reigning in unfair insurance industry practices.

Organizing for America is a subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee, and its creation was announced by Barack Obama himself almost seven months ago.  It exists to pressure Congress to enact Obama’s agenda.  In fact, it has no other purpose at all, except to act as ground support for Barack Obama.

As the GOP spokesperson points out, there’s a heapin’ helping of hypocrisy coming out of the Oval Office these days:

But Brian Walsh of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said, “It’s interesting to see the President’s political machine calling on his supporters to use their Constitutional right to free speech when the White House spent the last week criticizing others for doing the exact same thing. Republicans agree that every American should have the right to voice their opinion in a calm, respectful manner but after the ‘astroturfing’ rhetoric from the Democrats this week, it’s hard to ignore the hypocrisy in this mass email.”

I have no problem with constituents holding their elected representatives responsible for their actions on Capitol Hill.  Let the ObamaCare advocates come out and peacefully argue their case, unlike the SEIU’s union thugs in St. Louis last week.  However, considering the turnouts OfA got for earlier health-care reform rallies, I somehow doubt they’ll match the intensity of the opposition to this radical legislation.


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Otherwise, just keep demanding that the Democrats show proof that insurance companies are paying people to go to townhalls with fake outrage.

Oh, and they also consider it astroturf because they think that the objections are phony and that they are lies spread by insurance companies to get people upset about things. And when there are people actually on Medicare saying things like “Get your government hands off my Medicare!” that doesn’t help our cause.

So, Dan. .should we just stop doing what we are doing and ring our hands. I keep seeing posts from folks like you that just come off as “Can’t weeeee alllll be frieeeends cause thiiiiis isssssn’t that Baaad”. Maybe I am wrong, but that is how I read you.

Noelie on August 9, 2009 at 7:08 PM

Oh, and they also consider it astroturf because they think that the objections are phony and that they are lies spread by insurance companies to get people upset about things. And when there are people actually on Medicare saying things like “Get your government hands off my Medicare!” that doesn’t help our cause.

Dan Minardi on August 9, 2009 at 7:01 PM

The last time I looked, there weren’t a bunch of retirees working as Health Insurance Professionals; there have been massive layoffs because of the # of unemployed people and businesses going out of business or dropping health plans altogether just to give their guys 4 days a week in production or salary. But, what do I know… I’m just one of the stoopid sheeple nazi astroturf unAmerican “retards” (read the bill) that really wants a definitive description of hopenchange.

Key West Reader on August 9, 2009 at 7:11 PM

I think this issue plays poorly towards astroturfing as far as townhalls go. First of all people need you to NOT smell the grass which is what happens when there is just newsreel coverage that we all accept as real people with concerns. These people fall apart when they stand up and try and mimic people with real concerns. I have seen many a smackdown when the astroturfers try and execute instructions which is tough and not speak from the heart or head which is easy.

I see people interrupt these astroturfers at townhalls. I say let them talk. People help them out by interrupting and not letting them get far out on a limb becuase they aren’t professional democrat operatives. Same goes for the democrat pols. It sometimes is best to let them talk themselves into an indefensible postion and let the fun begin.

Conan on August 9, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Is this for real? Where is the money coming from to pay these people?

We need to follow the money boys!

conservnut on August 9, 2009 at 5:46 PM

-
This is why the stimulas had to pass without being read, and asap after the One took office; money was being made available to pay for the “change”.
-

RalphyBoy on August 9, 2009 at 7:14 PM

This is why the stimulas had to pass without being read, and asap after the One took office; money was being made available to pay for the “change”.
-

RalphyBoy on August 9, 2009 at 7:14 PM

Geitner begs to pass additional debt load in the next two months. “It’s critical” dontcha know.

Key West Reader on August 9, 2009 at 7:17 PM

So, if the Democrats can get all these folks to come out and support them..why are they canceling their townhalls?

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Dan:

I deal with Medicare recipients a lot in my job and they are afraid that Medicare will be done away with and replaced with this bill or something like it. They do want government to get their hands off the Medicare they now have.

After all, Obama has said he wants hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts in Medicare to help pay for this.

I know you can’t believe anything the man says, but that is what is worrying the older people.

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Damn good question.

silverfox on August 9, 2009 at 7:31 PM

Key West Reader on August 9, 2009 at 7:17 PM

Is there anything done by this administration that hasn’t been critical or needed to be done yesterday? I hate to break it to them but the jig is up, no one is buying this shtick anymore.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2009 at 7:31 PM

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:30 PM

On FoxNews Sunday during the panel, they said that the doctors were going to get bigger reimbursements from Medicare but that the Administration plans to make large cuts in Medicare to insure the uninsured. How the heck does that work?

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2009 at 7:33 PM

No, I’m saying that we need to demand proof of astroturfing, not simply accuse them of doing the same thing. Their claims of astroturfing are based on the assumed falsity of our claims and the accusation that we’re paying people to bring up false talking points. To think that we actually paid anyone to say “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” is absurd.

Dan Minardi on August 9, 2009 at 7:39 PM

Cindy:

That is how the Obama administration got the AMA to go along with this plan. They promised them $245 in additional medicare reimbursements.

I hear big Pharma is going to be running ads for Obamacare. I wonder what they promised them? I think some of these folks just want a seat at the table. In other words, they have decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and get the best deal you can in the process.

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:40 PM

Dan:

You do not understand what the man was saying. He does want government to stay out of the Medicare he knows and is accustomed to using. As for their accusations of false claims, they will say that to anyone who questions them.

I happen to know they lie.

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Terrye

I think saying it in the way that that person said it indicates that that person doesn’t understand that the government already runs Medicare. That’s certainly not the type of advocacy that the RNC would be PAYING for if they were running an astroturf campaign.

Medicare is bankrupting our country. We NEED cuts to Medicare. We DON’T need rationing boards telling old people that they’re not worth giving care to even if they can pay for it.

Dan Minardi on August 9, 2009 at 8:09 PM

What people need to understand is that these groups like SEIU who come to the town hall meetings in their purple shirts and also the Organizing for America group who send out mass emails and “special reservations” don’t have to match the numbers of the people on the other side who are against Obama Care.

The tactic is to “reserve” half of the seats in the room for those on the Left of the issue. The people with reservations are let in a side door. Everyone else stands outside in line. The doors are let open, and when the non-reserved seats are filled, then the doors are locked. It seems like first-come, first-in, until you see them letting people in the side door.

Then the “special” people are given half of the Q&A time, which they use asking inane, softball questions. They also do their share of yelling at the other side.

To you could have 1500 people against ObamaCare, for example, and 55 people for it. If the venue holds 100 people, you still have half and half inside the room. You have 1450 angry people outside, plus 5 SEIU thugs who do their best to rile up the outside crowd. If they do, then the 1450 are filmed as an angry mob of shouters.

It’s really a “brilliant” strategy. It happened to me (I was locked out) at the Carnahan meeting in St. Louis. Odds are our Senator, Claire McCaskill will do the same thing on Tuesday.

Democracy in action. /sarc-barf

labwriter on August 9, 2009 at 8:25 PM

To = So

labwriter on August 9, 2009 at 8:27 PM

So, if the Democrats can get all these folks to come out and support them..why are they canceling their townhalls?

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Because they CAN. They’re using a “threat of violence” as an excuse to cancel the town hall meetings. These legislators don’t want to chance showing up on YouTube as part of a meeting that they clearly can’t “control.” They’ll take their lumps, if there are any, from cancelling the meetings.

Another “brilliant” strategy, brought to you by the folks who worship Saul Alinsky.

labwriter on August 9, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Dan:

I assure you, if that man uses Medicare he knows who runs it. He has to deal with them all the time and they send mail out with the whole US government seal and everything.

I think people are nitpicking the semantics of everyday ordinary people not used to speaking in public. They are being sincere, it is not really our place to lecture their use of words.

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 8:37 PM

I hear big Pharma is going to be running ads for Obamacare. I wonder what they promised them? I think some of these folks just want a seat at the table. In other words, they have decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and get the best deal you can in the process.

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:40 PM

I read a story just the other day, and spent time trying to find it. I will continue, so wish me luck. But the story was about how Obama’ and his goons pursuaded the Pharmacueticals to go along, and support this crap, and how the administration screwed them. Pelosi was in their helping as well. This was something the White House wanted kept hush hush….but once ya screw someone, all bets are off….I hope.

capejasmine on August 9, 2009 at 8:37 PM

I wonder, is word really getting around about the planted Union thugs in the meetings? Or it is just the selective group of internet-savvy Conservatives that pay enough attention that know how manipulative Obama and his handlers are?

kingsjester on August 9, 2009 at 5:43 PM

I live in St. Louis, in the district sent Dick Gephart to Congress, so you can see how un-conservative these people are. Believe me, the word is getting around. People are angrier and more fired up than I’ve ever seen them–ever.

labwriter on August 9, 2009 at 8:38 PM

And if they cut medicare just so they can spend it on something else, how does that help?

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Say are these paid ‘volunteers’ getting health care benefits?

Minimum wage?

Workplace safety instructions?

Really there is just so much to do when seeking to hire people for anything these days…

ajacksonian on August 9, 2009 at 8:39 PM

capejasmine:

Just think, big pharma and rich doctors helping Obama…I wonder how that will go over with the populists?

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 8:40 PM

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting read…

Health Care Funds for Community Organizations

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/health_care_funds_for_communit.html

capejasmine on August 9, 2009 at 8:43 PM

After all, Obama has said he wants hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts in Medicare to help pay for this.

I know you can’t believe anything the man says, but that is what is worrying the older people.

Terrye on August 9, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Medicare is running a $300+ billion deficit this year alone. They can’t cut enough in the program to help pay for anything. All they can do is limit care to the elderly, and still give us massive overall deficits going forward.

Vashta.Nerada on August 9, 2009 at 9:29 PM

All the comments for paying organizers.

Does anyone else see how truly sad, and pathetic that is? That they can’t get enough to get out, and volunteer, they have to advertise, and pay for them? LMAO Now that’s astroturfing at it’s finest! ;)

capejasmine on August 9, 2009 at 9:40 PM

I don’t know if this has been posted, but Redstate.com has a thread up “Let’s Talk Astroturf” Activism for money, seems like there are hundreds of ads for people to be paid
to support Obamacare! Screenshots, etc. Busted!!

bluefox on August 9, 2009 at 9:53 PM

Republicans agree that every American should have the right to voice their opinion in a calm, respectful manner…

I was just reading the 1st Amenedment in my copy of the Constitution and I didn’t see where it says we have the right to express our opinions or to petition the government for a redress of grievances as long as we do it in a calm and respectful manner.
Congressweasels haven’t earned any respect and it’s hard to stay calm when you’re being robbed and everything you hold sacred is being attacked. If you don’t let them know you’re pissed off they won’t pay any attention to you.
I’m glad they’re afraid. The arrogant SOBs need to be afraid.

single stack on August 9, 2009 at 9:59 PM

http://www.redstate.com/absentee/2009/08/09/lets-talk-astroturf/

Posted by Caleb Howe (Profile)

Sunday, August 9th at 4:45PM EDT

45 Comments
So I received an email/comment this morning about a craigslist ad soliciting health care activism for money. “Activism for money,” I thought!! Was this it at last? The missing link Democrats have been searching for? Obamacare opponents turning up at town halls really are a mob?

We really are nothing but a slew of paid hacks drummed up by the promise of easy cash by cynical Obamacare opponents to create an artificial appearance of opposition?

xler8bmw on August 9, 2009 at 10:15 PM

I applied to be an activist for ObamaCare. I’m going to get hired if I can with just a phone interview. I’ll keep everyone posted on my infiltration activities.

NumberTwo on August 9, 2009 at 10:43 PM

NumberTwo on August 9, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Find out if they make you go in a group or by yourself to go door to door. or if it’s only for townhalls.

xler8bmw on August 9, 2009 at 10:47 PM

I applied to be an activist for ObamaCare. I’m going to get hired if I can with just a phone interview. I’ll keep everyone posted on my infiltration activities.

NumberTwo on August 9, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Good for you–good strategy. People should also go to the Organizing America website and sign up for “Organizing Locally with Online Tools.” My son did that and they sent him an invitation to the Claire McCaskill “town hall” event on Tuesday. If we can’t beat ‘em our way, then dammit, join ‘em and use their own crap tactics on them.

Although now you have to report yourself to flag@whitehouse.gov–ha.

labwriter on August 9, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Terrye

I don’t know what the guy was trying to say, whether he’s saying that he doesn’t want Medicare cuts or if he doesn’t want the government running Medicare. Regardless, that’s not the message that RNC would be paying for if it had been staged.

Dan Minardi on August 9, 2009 at 11:07 PM

xler8bmw on August 9, 2009 at 10:15 PM

You didn’t read far enough or if you did you left the impression that the Tea Party Patriots were the paid activists. The following is to clarify your post:
*******************************************************

Ummmm, no. (click for full size)

But wait, there’s more!

So I started searching around, and posting links on Twitter, and reading links I received by reply. Turns out there are hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisements seeking “activists” who will be paid to support Obamacare. That’s right CNN. That’s right Olbermann. You want astroturf? It’s out there by the dozens. In support of, not in opposition to.

There are screen shots and they are very informative as well.

bluefox on August 9, 2009 at 11:24 PM

I had originally posted this @9:53 PM
*************************************************

I don’t know if this has been posted, but Redstate.com has a thread up “Let’s Talk Astroturf” Activism for money, seems like there are hundreds of ads for people to be paid
to support Obamacare! Screenshots, etc. Busted!!

bluefox on August 9, 2009 at 9:53 PM

bluefox on August 9, 2009 at 11:28 PM

I agree with Frum for once (partially). We can’t demagogue Medicare cuts except to point out hypocrisy. Medicare has to be changed. We have to make sure people know they aren’t going to lose priority of care just based on age or disability, but we are going to have to convince people to save money for their own healthcare and to pay for their insurance.

Dan Minardi on August 9, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Dan Minardi on August 9, 2009 at 11:43 PM

The Government doesn’t “run” Medicare. It’s my goddam money, contributed over a working lifetime that goes back to 1959.

Period.

If you haven’t yet encountered a situation where planning for the future hasn’t worked out for you, count yourself lucky. We make plans, the gods laugh.

warbaby on August 10, 2009 at 12:40 AM

OK, so I got the quote tags backward. So sue me.

warbaby on August 10, 2009 at 12:46 AM

single stack on August 9, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

coldwarrior on August 10, 2009 at 1:07 AM

I have been humming and whistling this song ALL FREEKIN DAY!

Son’s of Liberty

I remember it when I was a kid.

Sapwolf on August 10, 2009 at 1:59 AM

Warbaby

Just because it’s paid for with your tax dollars means it’s not government run? With a public option you’re going to ‘buy’ insurance from the government at cut-rate prices. It’ll be your money, so it won’t be government run?

It’s an insurance program administered by the government, which sets reimbursement rates and imposes regulations. The only thing keeping Medicare reimbursement rates even close to sufficient is private competition and the specter of more and more doctors refusing to treat Medicare patients because they can’t afford to. Problem is, health care reform will take away the right of doctors to refuse to treat Medicare patients, because otherwise they won’t be permitted to treat ANYONE with private insurance. So the government can basically squeeze doctors to the point of almost forcing them out of the profession, until we eventually have a “doctor crisis” that needs federal intervention, and a new mandatory draft for doctors.

Dan Minardi on August 10, 2009 at 4:08 AM

The difference is that liberals actually believe that they represent the grass roots, common man, Americans.

MarkTheGreat on August 10, 2009 at 11:35 AM

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