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Blog of Mass Destruction

Grassroots Protests

By The Reverend Published: April 13, 2009

What Republican Tea Parties are made of.Krugman, today.....

....it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.

Remember those great election-2000 days?.....Remember the so-called grassroots Republican riot in Florida, stopping the recount? Wikipedia offers a short refresher.....

The Brooks Brothers riot was a demonstration by Republican congressional staffers at a meeting of election canvassers in Miami, Florida on November 19, 2000, organized for the purpose of bringing about the cancellation of a hand recount in which 10,750 ballots remain uncounted in the recount of the 2000 United States presidential election. The name refers to a traditional brand of suits associated with conservative business attire like that of the protesters.[1] The crowd was reported to have been directed by Congressman John E. Sweeney,[2] a Republican from New York.

How extensive was the Republican Party's orchestration of the "grassroots" protest?.....

In Florida, the Bush campaign quietly organized "rent-a-rioters" and flew them to Florida from all over the country. While disingenuously portraying the protests as "spontaneous grass-roots efforts," the Bush campaign sent special squads of GOP Congressional staffers who, in several instances, led violent attacks on Democratic observers, smashed windows, and tried to force their way into vote-counting rooms. This was not civil disobedience intended to show disagreement, but a concerted attack designed to threaten and intimidate.

Under the direction of House Republican Whip Tom DeLay (of Texas, mind you), staff members of GOP Congressmen were quietly approached with offers of all-expenses-paid trips to Florida, "all paid for by the Bush campaign." In addition to staying in swanky beach-side hotels, part of their reward would be an exclusive Thanksgiving Day party in Ft. Lauderdale. Source

It wasn't a grassroots protest then, either....

Indeed, all on-the-scene reports coming out now indicate that the Miami protest was carried out by rent-a-rioters flown in by the Republican Party. GOP spokespeople have said that at least 750 Republican activists have been sent into South Florida from around the country to oppose the recount, with the party picking up the tab for a number of them.

When George W. Bush took the presidency back in 2000, Karl Rove boasted that they would be "creating reality now." Only perception mattered, according to Rove, truth be damned. Rovian dogma is still the exclusive playbook for Republicans.

Wednesday's faux-Tea Parties, just like the Brooks Brothers Riot of 2000, are not grassroots protests at all, but GOP orchestrated creations of reality.

And just like CNN, back in 2000, breathlessly and with mind-numbing repetitiveness about "breaking news".....played along with the idea that the Brooks Brothers Riot was, you know, spontaneous.......so too now, with the Astroturfing Tea Parties. It's quite a "grassroots" protest when Fox is actively promoting and participating in the Parties on Wednesday.

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