DISSENT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF PATRIOTI- . . . No, wait, that bumper sticker expired January 20. Under the stimulus bill, there’s a new $1.3 trillion bills-for-bumpers program whereby, if you peel off old slogans now recognized as environmentally harmful (“QUESTION AUTHORITY”), you can trade them in for a new “CELEBRATE CONFORMITY” sticker, complete with a holographic image of President Obama that never takes his eyes off you.
“The right-wing extremist Republican base is back!” warns the Democratic National Committee. These right-wing extremists have been given their marching orders by their masters: They’ve been directed to show up at “thousands of events,” told to “organize,” “knock on doors” . . .
No, wait. My mistake. That’s the e-mail I got from Mitch Stewart, Director of “Organizing for America” at BarackObama.com. But that’s the good kind of “organizing.” Obama’s a community organizer. We’re the community. He organizes us. What part of that don’t you get?
When the community starts organizing against the organizer, the whole rigmarole goes to hell. Not that these extremists showing up at town-hall meetings are real members of the “community.” Have you noticed how tailored they are? Dissent is now the hautest form of couturism. Sen. Barbara Boxer has denounced dissenters from Obama’s health-care proposals as too “well-dressed” to be genuine. Only the emperor has new clothes. Everyone knows that.
Thankfully, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has seen through the “manufactured anger” of “the Brooks Brothers brigade.” Did he announce this in a rumpled suit? He’s a press secretary who won’t press. Apparently, the health-care debate now has a dress code. Soon you won’t be able to get in unless you’re wearing Barack Obama mom-jeans, manufactured at a converted GM plant by an assembly line of retrained insurance salesmen. Any day now, Hollywood will greenlight a new movie in which an insane Sarah Palin figure picks out her outfit for spreading disinformation (The Lyin’, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, added her own distinctive wrinkle to the Brooks Brothers menswear. She disdained the anti-Obamacare protests as fake grassroots. “I think they’re AstroTurf,” she declared. “They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.”
Is this one of those Chinese Whispers things? Obama told Gibbs to tell Boxer to tell Reid, and by the time it reached Pelosi, it came out as uniforms night: Brooks Brothers. Mel Brooks. Springtime for Hitler. Swastikas. Or is the speaker right to sound the alarm about this army of goosestepping dandies? A veritable Garbstapo jackbooting down the interstate like it’s a catwalk in Milan.
Fortunately, this president doesn’t fold like a Robert Gibbs suit. He won’t give in to the attire pressure. So, on Monday, the official White House website drew attention to the alarming amount of “disinformation about health insurance reform.” “These rumors often travel just below the surface,” warned Macon Phillips, Chief Commissar of the Hopenstasi . . . whoops, I mean White House Director of New Media, “via chain e-mails or through casual conversation.”
“Casual conversation,” eh? Why can’t these “dissenters” just be like normal people and read off the teleprompter?
“Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help,” continued Commissar Phillips. “If you get an email or see something on the web about health-insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Reporting dissent is the highest form of patriotism! Is your neighbor suspiciously “well-dressed”? Is he mouthing off about cancer-survival rates under socialized-medical systems while wearing a cravat? Give us his name, and we’ll give you his spats! Just go to email@example.com, not to be confused with firstname.lastname@example.org, which is the e-mail address for reporting President Obama’s latest approval rating. Go to email@example.com if you’d like Speaker Pelosi to walk across your back as a whip-wielding SS dominatrix barking “Vee haff vays of making you tokk less casually, dummkopf!” Go to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need parts for your new government car, or your new government hip replacement. Go to email@example.com if you’d like a special preview of President Obama’s latest bare-chested pictorial for Vanity Fair. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to report your neighbor’s cow for excessive CO2 emissions.
Better yet, just send everything on everyone to the White House. Unsure about that old hippie artist across the street? The one who said, “Yeah, I voted for Obama ‘cause I thought it’d be cool to have an African-American president. But, since the economic downturn, the bottom’s really dropped out of my hemp-tapestry market.” He seems to be starting to entertain impure thoughts about the Dear Leader’s plans for us, doesn’t he? And yet, with the best will in the world, one couldn’t really describe him as a snappy dresser, could one? It’s a tough call. So best be on the safe side, and report everyone. The administration can hire people to sift through it all, and that will stimulate the economy even more than the new cashmere-for-clunkers program: Are you an angry right-wing fop? Why not trade in your frankly effete sweater for an evening with Joe Biden?
The Washington Post’s Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite (not, as far as I know, a Brooks sister to the Brooks Brothers) says “the town hall demolition derby” is “cynically designed and carried out in order to destroy real debate in the public square over health insurance reform.” Decrying the snarling, angry protesters, liberal talk-show host Bill Press (no relation to the Corby Trouser Press) says that “Americans want serious discussion” on health care. If only we’d stuck to the president’s August timetable and passed a gazillion-page health-care reform entirely unread by the House of Representatives or the Senate (the world’s greatest deliberative body) in nothing flat, we’d now have all the time in the world to sit around having a “serious discussion” and “real debate” on whatever it was we just did to one-sixth of the economy.
But a sick, deranged, un-American mob has put an end to all that moderate and reasonable steamrollering by showing up and yelling insane, out-of-control questions like, “Awfully sorry to bother you, your Most Excellent Senatorial Eminence, but I was wondering if you could tell me why you don’t read any of the laws you make before you make them into law?”
The community is restless. The firm hand of greater organization is needed.