Once upon a time our president wasn't always down on dissent. After all, he was a community organizer way before he ever became a politician.
"Go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," Senator Obama told his supporters on the campaign trail in fall of 2008.
So I suppose he was for bickering before he was against it?
The left has always loved community organizing-when it's their interest. Heck, they are being lead by an expert in the field. But when regular folks gather to express unhappiness in the form of a dissenting opinion to their progressive agenda, they despise it, delegitimize it and seek to stop it all costs. Grassroots are bad when the roots aren't firmly planted in the liberal ground. Apparently bills in Congress aren't the only thing Democrats haven't read in a while -- how about the Constitution? Remember that? Isn't this enshrined in the Constitution -- freedom of Assembly? Isn't this one of the foundations of our democracy, organizing, getting like-minded people with the same views to come together, whether they're in Birkenstocks or Brooks Brothers? Last time I looked there was nothing "manufactured" about organizing for or against a cause.
The White House has called the uproar at recent town halls on health care "manufactured outrage." Senator Harry Reid calls the concerned citizens speaking their minds "loud, shrill voices." Nancy Pelosi called protesters Nazis, who are "carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care." There is no evidence on this whatsoever.
And Senator Barbara Senator Boxer Senator (not to be outdone on insanity by Speaker Pelosi) has objected to the dress code of protesters. (Did I mention she was a Senator??) She claims they're "too well dressed" to be legit. You just can't have a real protest without some tie dye, marijuana and a flaming brassiere, huh.
Ma'am, this is what people with jobs look like. I guess one needs to strip to his or her tighty whities to be taken seriously.
But the polling discredits their charges. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, on Obama's effort to overhaul of the health-care system, 52 percent disapprove of his handling of the issue while 39 percent approve. Disapproval jumped 10 points in the last month alone, and 60 percent of Independents - a key voting block - disapprove of the plan. Bottom line: the outrage is real.
Despite the legitimacy of the public's concern, demonizing democracy has become pretty common these days for the left. They wrote off the tea parties as fabricated and claimed they were funded by FOX News . Most of the mainstream media took their cue from them and refused to report on the gatherings. Congressional Democrats sought to reimpose the "fairness doctrine" on broadcasters in order to shut down the one conservative-leaning communications medium, talk radio. And the administration has already tried to label anyone who speaks up as a "radical right wing extremist."
By dismissing the anger of conservatives, moderates, libertarians, conservative democrats and independents the administration looks out of touch and appallingly arrogant. In fact, it will hurt them even more because Obama promised to listen to the concerns of the citizens, not operate with a tin ear.
Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Now they are its fiercest opponents. In case they have forgotten, the root of the word "democrat" means power to the people. That means ALL people. Even when they aren't wearing tie dye.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative commentator and columnist for FOXNews.com. Read more from Andrea at www.andreatantaros.com.