All Community Organizing Is Astroturfing – And That’s Fine!

Democratic members of Congress have held numerous town hall meetings recently to promote the president’s health care plan. They have faced unbridled hostility, to the surprise of many.

The response: attack the people making the hostile arguments, not the arguments themselves.

True, the whole phenomenon does seem vaguely dodgy. Who goes to town hall meetings for fun? Of course the people crashing the events have an agenda. That’s the point!

The weird part is that people use different words to describe the same political tactic, depending on which team’s partisans are behind the disruptions. If one team does it, it’s called “community organizing.” If the other team does it, it’s called “astroturfing.”

Again, it matters less which side is doing what, than whether the arguments they’re making are right or wrong. That is what’s important. The government is currently in charge of a bit more than half of all health care spending. Astroturfers say this is too much; community organizers say this is too little. The debate should hinge on which of the two has the better arguments.

The fact that members of Congress extolling the president’s plan are attacking astroturfers while leaving their arguments alone seems to say that the Congressmen believe their own arguments to be weak. Why else the need to go personal?