Perhaps the richest complaint of all comes from Daily Kos editor Greg Dworkin, who grumbles, “I live in New England, where town halls are a way of life. The idea that hired, organized disruptors are playing ‘ordinary spontaneous citizen’ when they are planted to disrupt and that the media isn’t always covering them as such is rather horrifying, as is the amount of money being spent to defeat health reform.”
Oh, please. In 2005, busloads of union members swarmed Social Security events, and these folks weren’t doing it on a volunteer basis either. Labor unions and the AARP financed millions of dollars in ads attacking Bush’s Social Security plans. I don’t recall liberals — or the press, for that matter — being particularly upset at the time. And, to be honest, neither were reformers: We simply took it for granted that the Left would agitate against reform, as is their right.
Last I checked, the right to protest government policies — to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” as the First Amendment quaintly puts it — was still protected. It remains standard operating procedure on the Left to shout down conservative speakers. Yet on health care, these same activists complain of “mobs,” even if from television coverage protesters appear to be armed with walkers rather than pitchforks.