Professional Democrats and freelance liberals haven’t exactly been smooth in how they’ve handled the town hall critics, have they? The Democratic National Committee, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Obama White House, has referred to the protesters, many of them senior citizens, as “angry mobs.” Nancy Pelosi implied some of them were Nazis because a few carried swastikas into the meeting. She apparently “forgot” to mention that the swastikas had a line going through them indicating the critics were against that kind of thing not for it. Harry Reid said they were “evil mongers,” and Chris Mathews said some of the protesters “are upset because we have a black president.” And if that wasn’t enough, others on the Left called them “terrorists.” And because liberals didn’t want to believe the anger against overhauling our health care system could possibly be a genuine grassroots campaign, they dismissed the movement as “AstroTurf” – make-believe grass — and said the anger was either “orchestrated” or “manufactured,” whichever cheap shot you prefer.
So much for that liberal Democratic mantra repeated often during the Bush years about how dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Suddenly dissent is racism and terrorism. Besides, it’s just not good strategy to malign the protesters. The polls are showing that more Americans side with them than disagree with them. And don’t forget, more than a few of the protestors are Democrats themselves. They’ll remember what they were called and how they were portrayed next time they go to the polls. You know what they say about payback being a you-know-what.
And then there’s the matter of rank hypocrisy. These same lefties who are in a tizzy over old people who carry canes and wear Depends getting rowdy at town hall meetings, have encouraged their own crazies to do the exact same thing. Can you say ActUp … Code Pink …ANSWER … and ACORN? These are organizations whose members think they have a constitutional right to shout down conservative speakers — or throw pies in their face.
But liberals don’t have a monopoly on hypocrisy. Conservatives, especially the ones with great big megaphones who talk to millions on radio and cable TV, are downright gleeful at what they’re watching at the town hall meetings. Suddenly, rude, dopey protesters who shout down speakers they don’t like are national heroes.
Why? Well, conservatives legitimately say “the other side started it” referring to all the times liberals disrupted meetings and walked away with a slap on the wrist, if that. But there’s another reason. The sad truth is that more than a few conservatives in the chattering class suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome. So anyone who yells and screams and drowns out Obamacare supporters at the town halls are simply doing the “right thing,” fighting the “good fight.”
I am one of those conservatives who for years have railed against liberals on college campuses who shout down speakers they don’t like. I thought the left-wingers at Columbia who disrupted a speech by the leader of the anti-illegal immigration Minutemen should have been thrown out of school. Students who don’t like Ann Coulter simply shout her down — or throw pies at her. The problem with those kind of liberals is that they have forgotten how to be liberal. Conservatives have decried the mob mentality of these leftists. We’re the ones who have called them Brown Shirts – and for good reason.
So tell me: What are the conservatives on talk radio and cable television going to say the next time those liberals shout down a conservative speaker? What will they say when liberal activists disrupt congressional hearings – as Code Pink has done – because they don’t like what they’re hearing? How will they answer when asked about their double standard and their hypocrisy? Responding with, “Yeah, but they’re OUR hooligans” just won’t cut it.
This we can be sure of: Liberal activists, on and off campus, will be back to their old tricks soon enough. They will shout down speakers and disrupt meetings – and they won’t even notice their own intolerance. But be assured of this, too: It’s going to be awfully difficult for conservatives to say the hooligans are out of line and not look like two-faced hypocrites – not after they applaud the protesters on their team who do the exact same thing.