"What has been most unsettling is not the congressmen's surprise [at the passions of the protesters] but a hard new tone that emerged this week. The leftosphere and the liberal commentariat charged that the town hall meetings weren't authentic, the crowds were ginned up by insurance companies, lobbyists and the Republican National Committee. But you can't get people to leave their homes and go to a meeting with a congressman (of all people) unless they are engaged to the point of passion. And what tends to agitate people most is the idea of loss -- loss of money hard earned, loss of autonomy, loss of the few things that work in a great sweeping away of those that don't.
People are not automatons. They show up only if they care.
What the town-hall meetings represent is a feeling of rebellion, an uprising against change they do not believe in. And the Democratic response has been stunningly crude and aggressive. It has been to attack. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, accused the people at the meetings of 'carrying swastikas and symbols like that.' (Apparently one protester held a hand-lettered sign with a 'no' slash over a swastika.) But they are not Nazis, they're Americans. Some of them looked like they'd actually spent some time fighting Nazis.
Then came the Democratic Party charge that the people at the meetings were suspiciously well-dressed, in jackets and ties from Brooks Brothers. They must be Republican rent-a-mobs. Sen. Barbara Boxer said on MSNBC's 'Hardball' that people are 'storming these town hall meetings,' that they were 'well dressed', that 'this is all organized,' 'all planned,' to 'hurt our president.' Here she was projecting. For normal people, it's not all about Barack Obama." --columnist Peggy Noonan