The modern conservative movement isn't one that is particularly tech savvy. This isn't to say that young conservatives lack the ability to use the internet to their advantage, but the people that they follow in the political realm are as knowledgable of the inner-workings of the internet as I would be to iron smelting.
So, as the latest round of obstructionist-laden "tea-bagger" nonsense has been underway for several days, you can see how the more visible members of the conservative movement are reacting to what they are doing, how they are being received, and what the Obama administration has to say about them.
And what conservatives are seeing, they like - as far as it is merely what they think they are seeing. They belive in their "grass-roots" meme with such vigor that they don't seem to realize that it is being funded by some very powerful lobbying groups as well as being actively promoted ( much like the April 15th shouting fests ) by conservative media outlets - most notably Fox"News".
So what do you think happens when progressives, liberals, Democrats, and the Obama White House are attempting to dispell many of the myths perpetuated by the obstructionist "tea-baggers"? They whip out the victim masks and cry like little children.
Here's a new ad from the DNC that shows the "tea-baggers" aren't so much concerned about healthcare as they are in simply shouting down any opposition with not facts, but abject ignorance and hatred.
Needless to say, conservatives are not happy with this ad, at all.
But isn't that what happens when shown the true face of the conservative movement. This isn't an ideology that is grounded in helping the many, but rather a movement that is more concerned with the few, or more importantly, self. It is certain that people like Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Malkin, or Glenn Beck will present themselves as concern citizens of the Republic, but when it comes down to it, they are the ones encouraging the mob?
And speaking of Michelle Malkin, she isn't pleased that the Obama administration is doing its best to prevent misinformation and lies surrounding healthcare to spread.
Jeff Emanuel at RedState calls attention to the new push by the White House to summon Obama-bots to monitor blog postings and “casual conversations” of health care takeover opponents — and then report them to the White House.
To call this a "snitch brigade" is not just simply over-inflammatory rhetoric, it perpetuates the meme that the Obama administration is actively spying on people and their blog postings. Here is what the actual statement on the White House website reads:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.
This is a great tool for the White House to address the concerns of the public as much as they can. This is in no way a vehicle that is going to be used to track peoples movements, statements, or actions. But this is exactly how conservatives like Malkin and Jeff Emanuel ( whom I have had rather hilarious twitter conversations with ) are going to frame this. They need to paint this administration as severely corrupt and willing to do anything against the "real Americans" that they claim to represent. And the problem is, that it is working.
This is what happens when your base is compromised primarily of people that are willing to accept any and everything you say as fact. This makes them more succeptable to fear - even if that fear is completely unfounded and not grounding in anything closely resemgling reality.
There are even people being brought in to inflate the numbers of the opposition to make it look like certain communities have a larger, more conservative, base that is against healthcare reform.
Last night, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) hosted a rowdy town hall meeting to discuss health care reform. Fox’s local Houston affiliate reporter, Duarte Geraldino, reported that he talked to the participants and found that “some attendees admit they don’t live in the district.” How did they get there? Geraldino noted “an internet campaign” by far right activists urging their allies to attend and heckle Democratic Representatives. Geraldino then aired a clip showing one participant acting disrespectfully towards Rep. Green. “Pay close attention to the man behind the congressman,” Geraldino says in this clip, “he seems to have forgotten the part about respect.”
More on that from Think Progress
Also, the "grass-roots" meme is continually being debunked on all front. As Greg Sargent points out on the Plum Line blog:
Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, the operation that’s running a national campaign against a public health care option, is now publicly taking credit for helping gin up the sometimes-rowdy outbursts targeting House Dems at town hall meetings around the country, raising questions about their spontaneity.
CPR is the group headed by controversial former hospitals exec Rick Scott that’s spending millions on ads attacking reform in all sorts of lurid ways, a campaign that’s being handled by the same P.R. mavens behind the Swift Boat Vets.
In response to my questions, a spokesman for the group confirmed that it has undertaken a concerted effort to get people out to the town hall meetings to protest reform. The spokesperson, Brian Burgess, confirmed that CPR is emailing out “town hall alert” flyers, and schedules of town hall meetings, to its mailing list.
Conservatives hate when they are outed for who they really are - obstructionists and misinformers of the highest order.