The truth is that for my adult lifetime, “protest” has been a kind of Kabuki engaged in by organized groups on the Left with help from the press — as in the recent bus tour of AIG executives that was organized and paid for by an ACORN affiliate and in which the protesters were heavily outnumbered by the media, who nonetheless generally treated it as an “authentic” expression of populist discontent.

Things like that tour led President Obama to warn bankers that he was the only thing standing between them and the pitchforks, one of a number of thuggish statements he’s made along these lines.

Funny how fast the worm — or maybe it’s the pitchfork — has turned. Now that we’re seeing genuine expressions of populist discontent, not put together by establishment packagers on ehalf of an Officially Sanctioned Aggrieved Group, we’re suddenly hearing complaints of “mob rule” and demands for civility.

Civility is fine, but those who demand it should show it. The Obama administration — and its corps of willing supporters in the press and the punditry — has set the tone, and they are now in a poor position to complain.