Imagine it's four years ago and an aide to President Bush posted a blog on the Whitehouse.gov website that bemoaned Internet criticism of the Iraq war, then continued: "These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversations.
"Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about anti-war protests that seem fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.''
Substitute the words "health insurance reform" for "anti-war protests," and you get the exact wording of a blog posted by Macon Phillips, the White House director of new media, on Tuesday.
"I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward e-mails critical of his politics to the White House," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote in a letter to President Obama. "I suspect that you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program."
No lie. Now I don't think Obamaland was working on an "enemies list" -- as some conservatives have charged. But I do want to note how deftly the left has abandoned its old rallying cry, "Dissent is patriotic."
Democratic leaders have taken to dissing health care dissenters who show up at town-hall meetings conducted by members of Congress visiting their districts -- and not just for the boorish behavior of the loudmouths.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, dismissed protesters as "Astroturf" -- artificial grassroots support. On MSNBC's "Hardball," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., exhorted the media to investigate town-hall protesters, as "this is just all organized."
And: "You in the media have to take a look at what's going on here. This is all planned. It's to hurt our president and it's to change the Congress."
When Boxer grilled Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about what personal price the childless Rice paid for the Iraq War, Boxer later boasted that she was "speaking truth to power." But when angry voters try to do the same with elected officials, whether they're heckling them or just showing up, Boxer wants the media to investigate.
It's laughable: Democrats discrediting protests because -- oooooo -- they're organized. Last year, weren't these same folk guffawing about Jesus being a community organizer?