protesting...what, exactly?

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Steve Benen asks "What constitutes front-page news?" at Washington Monthly, noting the disparity between anti-Iraq-War marches getting buried in the Post's Metro section while far fewer numbers of teabaggers get front-page coverage:

Anti-war protestors, the thinking goes, were liberal hippies out of step with the mainstream. After all, there was a Republican president and Republican House in 2002, and polls showed reasonably strong support for the war in Iraq. Why pretend the liberal protestors are important?

In contrast, seven years later, Tea Baggers have to be considered a major political movement. There's a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress in 2009, and polls show reasonably strong support for the administration's economic agenda, but the right-wing cries can't be relegated to a few throw-away paragraphs in the Metro section.

I'm sure that not all of the 60,000-75,000 estimated protestors in Washington over the weekend (far from the 1-2 million that the organizers claimed) were loons, but the photographic evidence is not very complimentary. The FAQ about the 9/12 March said

"This protest is about defending our liberty, and about restoring our Constitution by reducing the size and scope of the federal government"

but--at least judging from the signage--those principles appeared to be concerns for a minority of the protesters. Most of them seemed to be much more interested in misrepresenting Obama's birthplace (Hawaii), religion (Christianity) and politics (Democratic centrism) than anything resembling a principled stand on liberty, the Constitution, or taxation.

Daily Kos has a montage featuring some classic birther signs along with "We came unarmed (this time)," the unintentionally hilarious "FOR THE TRUTH [sic] WATCH FOX NEWS," and "IMPEACH THE MUSLIM MARXIST" [double sic]. The photos at Look at This Fucking Teabagger (h/t: Andy Towle at Towleroad, who called it the "Million Moron March") have even more winners: claims that "It's 1939 Germany all over again," proclamations that "The cure for Obama Communism Is a New Era of McCarthyism," many accusations of "socialism" and "fascism," the moronic "liberal fascism" oxymoron, and even "DEATH PANELS SARAH WAS RIGHT!" At Salon, Alex Koppelman wrote about his experiences at the march:

Stepping in to the crowd there felt, at some times, like stepping into an alternate reality. It was a reality in which provisions establishing "death panels" really can be found in healthcare reform legislation, where President Obama is a Marxist and a Fascist, where the majority was represented by these protesters rather than the voters who elected a Democrat president and gave him an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress less than a year ago...

Andrew Sullivan--one of the more principled conservatives whose work I follow--has some fine remarks as well, particularly in his closing paragraph:

The protestors keep saying that they want their country back. Sorry, my fellow small-governmenters, but this country is a democracy, and you didn't lose your country, you just lost an election. You had your chance for eight years. You blew it, and you lost. What Obama is doing is what he was elected to do. The principled response is not a massive, extremist-riddled hissy fit a few months in, but a constructive set of proposals to build on universal care for a more market-friendly and cost-conscious system in the future. You have to win some political credibility for that; and then you have to beat the man you lost so badly to last year. That's the civil and civilized way forward for the right. It also seems, alas, to be the one they are currently refusing to take. [emphasis added]

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on September 14, 2009 11:01 PM.

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