White House to Pelosi: Hey, maybe the protesters aren't un-American

Normally I’d treat this as another instance of The One coordinating with a lesser Democrat to play good cop/bad cop, much as he did on the campaign trail when he’d have Jesse Jackson Jr or some other lackey do his racial politicking for him while he kept his immaculate hands clean. But my contempt for Pelosi is such that I think she really might be so stupid and renegade as to think calling protesters “un-American” is a winning strategy, with Obama now forced to clean up her mess — especially with some town halls of his own looming this week.

“I think there’s actually a pretty long tradition of people shouting at politicians in America,” White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One when asked about the comments.

“The President thinks that if people want to come and have a spirited debate about health care, a real vigorous conversation about it, that’s a part of the American tradition and he encourages that, because people do have questions and concerns …And so if people want to come and have their concerns and their questions answered, the President thinks that’s important. Now, if you just want to come to a town hall so that you can disrupt and so that you can scream over another person, he doesn’t think that that’s productive. And as a country, we’ve been able to make progress when people actually talk out what our problems are, not try to shout each other down.”

Hey, Bill: What sort of “spirited debate” and “vigorous conversation” did the demagogue-in-chief have in mind when he said last week that he doesn’t want people who “created the mess” to do a lot of talking anymore? Is that the debate where he tells us again that injecting the federal government deeper into health care will cut costs, or that we’ll be allowed to keep our current insurance and we pretend to ignore the economic reality for private insurers forced to compete with a bottomless government plan?

I’m cautiously optimistic that the Pelosi/Hoyer screech is the last gasp of the Democrats’ demonizing tactics and that things will ease up a bit rhetorically this week. Via RCP, here’s Claire McCaskill already trying to set a new tone. The key Q&A is right up front.