Jenn Q. Public, Failed Protester for Hire
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
According to an AFL-CIO statement published by The Huffington Post, corporations and lobbyists are bankrolling the militant right wing extremists protesting liberal health care reform. The Democratic National Committee says “‘grassroots protests’ are being organized and largely paid for by Washington special interests and insurance companies,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett says the “mobs” are being “sent by the local Republican and Libertarian parties,” and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assured the press corps the town halls are rife with the “manufactured anger” of astroturfers.
So why is it that I have yet to see a single paltry dime?
I’ve blogged about my opposition to the way health care reform is being handled. I’ve attended more than one tea party rally. I’m an active member of a conservative women’s organization. I’m even a freakin’ GOP delegate for my precinct. Oh, and I’ve got genuine outrage to spare — no “manufacturing” necessary — but with the value of the dollar so low, I’m willing to pretend my grassroots activism is astroturf if it means I can supplement my income.
So why isn’t my phone ringing off the hook with calls from Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and the RNC? How do I get on the radar of the neocon corporate lobbyists and GOP bigwigs doling out cash for activism?
According to California Senator Barbara Boxer, the astroturfers are well-dressed. Maybe I need to up my fashion game?
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin believes the town hall protests are being orchestrated by birthers. Should I get a “Deport Obama” t-shirt and show up with my birth certificate in a Ziploc bag if I want to grab the ‘turfers’ attention? Or would I not be well-dressed if I did that?
Liberal radio host Bill Press says right wing astroturfers are “taking a page right out of a Nazi playbook” to bus in paid professional protesters. Anyone have the ISBN for that playbook? I was never issued my copy so I’m not familiar with the intricacies of this “Stalinist-style campaign.”
Nancy Pelosi says a sure sign of astroturfers is that “they’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” I hadn’t realized Nazi accessories were a notorious tell of paid rabble rousers masquerading as authentic protesters, but hey, I’m not a professional protester (yet) so what do I know?
Perhaps if I could just muster up some of the “racial anxiety” Paul Krugman believes is fueling the health care protests I’d appear more authentic. Then I could really pull off using the “Brown Shirt tactics” being used by “extremists” to prevent Rep. Brian Baird of Washington from holding in-person town hall meetings.
But maybe I’m approaching this all wrong. Instead, I could take my cues from seasoned ‘turfers on the left, like the operatives at MoveOn.org who boast they’ve “hired skilled grassroots organizers” to “fight back against these radical right-wingers.” Or the “ordinary citizens” paid by SEIU to teach health care protesters a Chicago-style lesson. Or the non-English speaking day laborers recruited to hold up slick, professional signs they can’t even read at a Denver protest. Or the grassroots activists who take their marching orders directly from President Obama. As Ed Morrissey points out, “nothing says grassroots like the Obama campaign logo on the top, and Obama’s website URL on the bottom.”
And while I’m at it, maybe I’ll start compiling dossiers on lefties who say “fishy” things about health care reform. But I’m pretty sure I’ll need a bigger hard drive. Anyone know which shady corporate cabal I should hit up for funding?