Soothing the Townhall

Columnists say the protesters are scared citizens, not Nazi wing-nuts. If the Democrats were smart, they'd explain their fears away.

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Many Democrats have responded to the townhall protesters as they would a mob. A few days ago, DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said they were, "angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists." Nancy Pelosi referred to them as "astroturf," or manufactured support made to look like a grassroots movement. In the op-ed pages this morning, though, several columnists argue that the townhalls aren't mobs, but scared citizens. If the Democrats want any kind of health care reform, they just may have to understand why these people are so afraid first.

They Deserve Serious Attention  In The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan says the protesters are not Nazi mobs. "They're citizens. They're concerned. They deserve respect." Noonan argues that the Democrats would do better to try and address their fears. "The Democrats should not be attacking, they should be attempting to persuade, to argue for their case. After all, they have the big mic. Which is what the presidency is, the big mic."

This Is What Democracy Looks Like
  In The Denver Post, David Harsanyi offers some tongue-in-cheek humor about the Democrats's hypocritical response to the townhall protesters. But it's clear he's not laughing: "Organizing and protesting, as any sensible and compassionate citizen already understands, is exclusively the bailiwick of ideologically diverse and free-thinking groups like unions."

Directly Counter Scaremongers  In The Boston Globe, Ellen Goodman says the protesters are afraid Obama is going to kill their grandmothers. "All in all, Fearmongers Inc. plays on the notion that advance directives are a sneaky way of cutting costs by cutting life short."

Actually, they're not afraid of ObamaCare. They're afraid of Obama.  In the New York Times, Paul Krugman says town hall protesters and birthers are one in the same: angry white voters whose racial fears have been stoked by "cynical political operators" in order to "further the economic interests of their backers."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.