On The 9-12 Protests
Watching varying reports on this weekend’s Conservative political rallies here in Washington, DC it seems increasing hard to justify the position that the rallies are “about” health care reform or even the more broad big government.
Not to say that the protesters secretly love big government or have a hidden fondness of of the public option, but rather they’re against Obama and Democratic party first and the particulars of what’s being proposed second. The most obvious example of this lack of opposition to the Republican party’s own support for not only the preservation of Medicare, but even it’s expansion a few years back.
But in general the protesters seem angry about all the stuff Republicans are always mad about. You can take a look at some of the pictures of protesters signs from Think Progress you’ll pretty see a wide variety of gripes that have nothing to do with health care. Some attack socialism as a vaguely defined concept, but certainly don’t reference anything Obama’s proposing.
The analogue to this is oft heard claim that anti-Iraq war protesters were all pacifists or opposed to any US military action. I always thought the Iraq war advocates exaggerated the extent of the the role of pacifists in the Iraq war protest movement, but they were certainly many pacifists involved in organizing the movement.
The great majority of the protesters would object to most anything Obama could be expected to propose as a member of the Democratic party. Which is fine as far as it goes, they could be right about all of it and they have every right to be heard. You could say the same of the pacifists.
Basic point is that depicting the current protester as a backlash to Obama is pretty clearly false. These are the same people that voted for McCain. We should still judge them based on the validity or total lack of validity present in their arguments.