The “wild-eyed rants” reverberating through town hall meetings are pretty amusing. But do Republicans “really think the country is dopey enough to mistake microwave mobs staging Potemkin village protests” for actual American rage, asks Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe. “If so, they’re delusional.” These crowds are lobbyist-generated Astroturf, coordinated by the same firms that once drubbed up “grassroots” support for energy deregulation on behalf of Enron.
But even if you didn’t know that, “most people have a basic sense of civility,” Lehigh observes. They try to ask questions in an intelligent and respectful fashion, not by whooping belligerently. There are reasonable objections to Democrats’ health care proposals, but they’re not in these misinformed rants. “All we’ve learned here is something we already knew: This nation never has to worry about suffering from a shortage of kooks, cranks, and ideologues.”