In advance of a month full of events oriented towards demonstrating displeasure with lawmakers who won’t give carte blanche to President Obama’s healthcare, gun control, “climate change,” and immigration agendas, Organizing for Action Executive Director Jon Carson claimed that “We will own August.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns also anticipated high levels of support during this months’s “No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence” tour.
It hasn’t happened in either case. If right-wing, tea party, or social conservative efforts fizzled as OFA’s and MAIG’s clearly are, those failures would be making headlines, and shown as proof that support for the related causes is weak. By contrast, the national establishment press is mostly ignoring and in some cases obscuring these left-wing implosions.
OFA’s Action August events have included protest visits to the congressional offices of recalcitrant congresspersons and senators, almost all and possibly completely all of whom are Republicans, phone banks, coordinated letters to the editor meetings, and other public events. Readers here have probably heard very little about them because attendance levels have mostly been pathetic, virtually non-existent, and, in at least one case, completely non-existent. The last thing the national establishment press wants to do is embarrass its beloved Dear Leader — not to mention a legitimate concern that the administration might be monitoring those conveying negative information.
Setting the tone for the month, an Obamacare-related event in Centreville, Virginia drew one person besides the event’s organizer. At first, Kyle Cheney’s story at the Politico was headined, “Poor attendance at Obamacare event in Virginia.” Apparently that headline wasn’t appropriate in either the eyes of the web site’s management, the Obama administration and/or OFA possibly looking over its shoulders, or both. As Noel Sheppard noted on August 5, the headline was changed to “Obamacare message war goes local.”
For those who are skeptical about the administration’s and/or OFA’s level of interest in Politico’s coverage of its actions, the very next day the web site’s Reid Epstein reported that two OFA officials he had interviewed for a story on the organization’s move to involve itself with specific political campaigns “subsequently asked to be removed from the story after receiving a phone call from Carson.” Last time I checked, interview subjects aren’t entitled to that “courtesy,” which is in fact a form of censorship. Nevertheless, Epstein publicly complied with that request.
“Climate change” isn’t generating a lot of energy (pun intended) either. On August 13, concerning a rally that was to be held at the Georgetown Waterfront in DC, the Washington Free Beacon reported that “Not a single person showed up … for a climate change agenda event put on by Organizing for Action.”
That same day, yours truly visited the offices of two Greater Cincinnati congressmen targeted by OFA for “climate denier” protests. At Cincinnati representative Steve Chabot’s office, I stayed in the congressman’s waiting area for over a half-hour with one lonely OFA person before the full OFA contingent arrived at 12:30 for its noon protest. In what appears to have been one of the the high-water marks (pun intended) for OFA protest attendance this month, two dozen people (pictures here) spent about a half-hour mouthing hysterical platitudes about how the sea levels are rising, the earth is burning, the ice caps are melting, and the like. Keep in mind that about 60,000 people work in Downtown Cincinnati within comfortable walking distance of Congressman Chabot’s office.
A couple of hours later at Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie’s office, one and only one OFA person, a know-it-all college student who might have been 20, showed up to give Massie’s District Director an insulting “climate deniers” trophy. The District Director proceeded to let the kid and me know that the Congressman, though he is a “climate change skeptic,” is about as energy-efficient as anyone in his position, or any position, can be. Specifically, as reported in the Wall Street Journal on August 1 (link may require subscription; alternate excerpt is here), Massie:
… lives off the electrical grid in a solar-powered home on a 1,200-acre farm in the Appalachian foothills. The first-year congressman and engineering graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology built the house from lumber he logged and milled.
The congressman also drives “a Tesla electric sedan with a license plate that says, ‘Friends of Kentucky Coal.’”
In other words, the college kid got owned, and yours truly got to watch it.
Elsewhere, on August 22, the father of a Newtown shooting victim traveling with MAIG appeared in Richmond, Virginia, a state Mayor Bloomberg incoherently blames for much of his city’s violence. The web and nearly three-minute video coverage at NBC12 in Richmond have absolutely no crowd shots and no mention of crowd size.
Bloomberg’s bus tour drew “about 40 people” in Franklinton, Ohio near Columbus on August 13. It also drews “a group of about 15 gun-rights activists.”
The coverage of an OFA gun control event in Springfield, Illinois on August 21 has one shot of those attending which might have eight people in it. The Associated Press’s Kerry Lester did not cite the size of the rally’s crowd.
OFA’s failure to generate crowds for gun control goes back several months. In mid-June, three people attended an event in San Bernardino, California.
Anyone who can stand it can also scroll through the coverage at OFA’s own blog and note that there are virtually no crowds of any significant size in photo after photo after photo.
One cannot help but conclude that there is little to no meaningful passion for President Obama’s or Mayor Bloomberg’s pet causes at the grass roots. The national press is avoiding letting that reality become generally visible.