Saturday, November 7, 2009

Astroturfed Sound & Fury on the Capitol Steps

A little over a week ago, the psychotic Rep. Michelle Bachmann (Clown-MN) teamed with the astroturfers behind the teabagger "movement" (she's one of their darlings) to call for a big rally against offering affordable health care to the public. It all came together Thursday in a comedy of errors on the steps of the Capitol.

The teabaggers displayed their usual charm, waving signs promoting "birther"-ism, comparing health care reform to Dachau, and denouncing the Obama as a rank socialist. The latter sentiment was offered by most of the large number of speakers who took a turn at the mic. Mark Levin, brainless reactionary talk-show host, even said the Obama was looking to overturn the American Revolution.

House Republican leader John Boehner makes a poor imitation of a fiery orator--he has one of the most monotonous monotones in D.C., and perpetually bears the stiff, uncomfortable expression of a man trapped on a long elevator ride with someone suffering extreme outbursts of flatulence--but, for this occasion, he gave it has best shot, and with some amusing results. Ever suspect Boehner wouldn't know the Constitution if he was looking right at it? If so, then Thursday's little event was tailor made for you. In the middle of his remarks, he whipped out what he said was his personal copy of the U.S. Constitution, and, sternly waving it as a voodoo fetish against the evils of health care reform, proceeded to recite what he called its "preamble." What he actually recited was the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

Somehow, "doh!" just doesn't sufficiently cover that one.

Perhaps even more amusing is the fact that, if any of the assembled teabaggers recognized the gaffe, they didn't bother to react to it.

Boehner was only one of perhaps two-dozen Republican members of congress who decided it was more important to make asses of themselves before a bank of cameras and a crowd of like-minded idiots than to actually do the job they were elected to do. One of the most amusing footnotes to this whole affair, in fact, was how a large number of Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee blew off a hearing on the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act to attend, and, as a consequence, several Republican-sponsored measures strengthening that act were narrowly defeated.

So at least something good came out of all of this.

In the afterglow of the event, Bachmann appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News show to offer the astroturf version of the final analysis of the day's events. Today's rally, she delightedly exclaimed, "was totally word of mouth. This was nothing that we organized, nothing that we planned. We didn't order one bus, one carload. Nothing. Complete word of mouth." This is an important point, when it comes to astroturf--it needs to be made to look real, instead of like astroturf. But, of course, it was astroturf; for a week before the "spontaneous" rally, the event was heavily promoted on Fox News and by the two main teabagger astroturf orgs, FreedomWorks (whose president even spoke at the rally) and Americans For Prosperity. The latter even provided a lot of the crowd, offering an unknown number of free bus rides for "spontaneous" demonstrators from all over the country (an AFP coordinator was caught on camera saying they had at least 40 buses bringing in people). Fortunately for the astroturfers, much of the press followed its usual pattern of "reporting" on the event without going into what was behind it, so the astroturfers mostly succeeded again. The only possible positive spin on the horrific, kill-crazy rampage that happened in Texas that same day is that at least it kicked this sorry sound-and-fury out of the top news-story slot that day.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And I thought Jesse the Body Ventura was the most bizarre political thing that could come from Minnesota...(I actually worked for awhile in Brooklyn Park, where he started his political career as Mayor).