Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It seems like the perfect metaphor - and perhaps a bit of foreshadowing - for the defeat of astroturfing. Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod is the recognized master of the tactic used to secretly organize massive groups of people in order to push an agenda while making it look like a grassroots effort. If what Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan did last week in sending an email to 4000 employees, urging them to attend Al Sharpton's rally to counter Glenn Beck's rally, isn't astroturf; it's certainly in the same ballpark.

Via the Washington Examiner:
President Obama's top education official urged government employees to attend a rally that the Rev. Al Sharpton organized to counter a larger conservative event on the Mall.

"ED staff are invited to join Secretary Arne Duncan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other leaders on Saturday, Aug. 28, for the 'Reclaim the Dream' rally and march," began an internal e-mail sent to more than 4,000 employees of the Department of Education on Wednesday.
There are so many problems with this.

First, the people in receipt of that email had it sent to them by the senior most official at the Department. Did some view it as something that could help them move up in the department? Did others view it as potentially harmful to their career if they didn't attend?

Secondly, the use of taxpayer dollars in an effort to organize people to support a political agenda most Americans vehemently object to is particularly maddening.

So how did the email become public?
The Washington Examiner learned of the e-mail from a Department of Education employee who felt uncomfortable with Duncan's request.
For those who think the only power they have is on election day, take note. This employee did a tremendous service and contributed greatly in the effort to hold government accountable.

In the end, the effort to bolster Sharpton's rally fell far short of expectations. It would be generous to say Sharpton's event had 5000 people in attendance. Conversely, Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally saw between 300,000 and 600,000 people attend. If those kinds of numbers portend in any way voter turnout - including astroturf efforts on the left - we could see an electoral blowout.

h/t to Weasel Zippers

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