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Chris Matthews: From a Tingle to a Chill

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Posted on August 11 2009 7:40 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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The tingle in Chris Matthews’ leg is turning into a chill up his spine. The cause? The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy which is shuttling people to Congressional Town Hall meetings, apparently by black helicopter.

At first, Democrats charged that business groups were planting people they called “Brooks Brothers Brigades” because they were somehow deemed too well-dressed to attend town hall meetings. This charge didn’t fall flat so much because of its illogic, as it did because all the video coming out of the meetings showed attendees who more resembled those at a union retirees’ gathering.

Last week, the George Soros-funded and John Podesta-associated ultra-left wing Think Progress blog fabricated a web of right-wing organized opposition to the Democrat health care takeover. Think Progress claimed to have discovered nefarious memos from Right Principles – a conservative group led by libertarian activist Robert McGuffey and connected to former Congressman Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks – giving instructions on how to disrupt a meeting by a right wing group.

Any town hall attendees who heard about the report were no doubt scratching their heads and asking “Who?” People actually involved in conservative politics were wondering when FreedomWorks got to be so powerful. By the evening news cycle, the White House, the Democratic Party and the mainstream media were talking about “astro-turf” (i.e. fake “grassroots”) and lamenting the dark conspiracies to shut down honest debate.

“How DARE the community organize!” became the new refrain of the left.

The problem is, the dots they supposedly connected really don’t connect. As Mary Katherine Ham reported in the Weekly Standard, this is all made up. McGuffey doesn’t have many readers. At the time of the big exposé, Right Prinicples had 23 friends on its facebook page (now up to almost 300 with all the publicity). McGuffey once posted on a Tea Party website which has a link to FreedomWorks’ home page. Wow.

As conspiracies go, this is beyond laughable.

Matthews, however, is all in. Remember, Matthews is the man who was oh-so certain that sleazeball congressman Gary Condit had murdered his former lover Chandra Levy, but then assiduously ignored the arrest of the illegal immigrant who eventually confessed to the killing. Matthews is also the man who announced daily that Karl Rove was about to be indicted in the Valerie Plame affair, only to be proven wrong again. And now, Matthews sees this nonexistent connection as the equivalent of a signed confession and a smoking gun.

In a Hardball segment called “Standing Up to Town Hall Hijackers,” Matthews grilled Milt Pappas, Vice President of FreedomWorks, who no doubt was hoping for the kind of tenfold growth that Right Principles was enjoying thanks to Democrat slam efforts.

“Youre going to every town meeting in the world and blowing them apart!” Matthews charged.  (Pappas probably takes a little too much credit, but does point out that FreedomWorks only has 18 paid employees.) Then Matthews hyperventilated:

“You’re basically plotting this stuff… You basically know what’s going to go on at all these meetings… people aren’t spontaneously getting up in the morning and reading the paper and saying, ‘I better go to the congresssman’s meeting, I’m all upset about health care.'”

In his usual hectoring style, Matthews mocked FreedomWorks’ tax status as a nonpartisan organization, and asked if Pappas was “Astroturf or grass roots.” Absurdly, Matthews did this while Pappas was sitting next to Gerald Shea of the AFL-CIO, the ultimate in manufactured protest and the abuse of “nonpartisan educational activity” with restricted funds, and an organization which actually does what FreedomWorks can only do in Chris Matthews’ fevered imagination.

Community organizing is sure going out of fashion fast.

I bet we won’t be seeing the fake Thomas Jefferson quote, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” ubiquitously bandied about for awhile.

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