Like many, I have referred to the screaming anti-Kavanaugh protesters who inundated the halls of the Senate and sought to intimidate senators as a mob.
The liberal commentator Susan Page lamented on Fox last night that the behavior of these anti-Kavanaugh protestors has "allowed" people to characterize them as a mob.
You see: they aren't a mob; they're just acting in a way that lets people such as myself characterize them as a mob.
It was an odd locution. If I'd read an article by Robert Costa and Matt Viser earlier in the day in the Washington Post, I would have known what Page was getting at: the Post article pooh poohed the use of the word mob.
These nice college educated people who employ mob tactics–well, they can't be a mob. It is overreacting to call them a mob. The very use of the word is merely a sly way to "juice" voter turnout in the midterms. Could have fooled me. It certainly looked like a mob.
Costa and Viser begin:
When thousands of furious, screaming protesters marched toward the Capitol over the weekend as Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed, Republican staffers peered out at the scene from the windows above. They were not alarmed but elated.
Weeks ahead of the midterm elections, Republicans have cast the Trump resistance movement as “an angry mob,” a term used by many of them to describe a faceless amalgamation of forces that they say threaten the country’s order and, they hope, energize their voters.
I can't imagine that anybody who believes in our democracy was "elated" by the sight of thousands of screaming protestors. I'll bet Susan Collins hasn't been elated by the attention she has been receiving from the mob. She has body guards.
This is not a traditional protest, which is an honored part of our democratic tradition–this is intimidation.
Sorry, Messrs Costa and Viser, these people are not "cast" as an angry mob. They are an angry mob. No decent people are "elated" and most of us are genuinely saddened and worried that somebody could get hurt.
If Democrats are concerned that acknowledging a mob as a mob will harm them at the ballot box, they can always disassociate themselves from these mob tactics.
But wait–it is, according to Costa and Viser, racist to call this angry mob of mostly well-educated white people a mob:
The characterization evokes fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people, and it taps into grievances about the nation’s fast-moving cultural and demographic shifts that Republicans say are working against them.
With its emphasis on the impact on traditional values and white voters, particularly men, it strikes the same notes as earlier Trump-fanned attention to immigrants, MS-13 gang members and African American football players protesting police treatment of young black men.
Costa and Viser make light of several incidents of Republicans being heckled and confronted in public places. Some called the behavior of the protestors mob-like but . . .
It was not until the days leading up to and following Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation that Republicans, one after another, adopted the same terminology.
So the new talking point is that it is fear-mongering to call those who use behave like a mob a mob.
Towards the end, Costa and Viser write:
“They clearly need a way to juice turnout, but the women who protested against Kavanaugh are women who have experienced sexual assault, who are mothers. The resistance to Trump is predominantly college-educated women,” Tanden said. “Donald Trump may want to wage a culture war, but attacking women writ large is attacking 50 percent of the population.”
No demagogic language there.
The real meaning of this story: mobs don't like to be called mobs. It's bad PR.
And it's not just Republicans who find the mob fearful.
Have you heard a single elected Democrat brave enough and willing to take a stand against these tactics?
Hot Air has a terrific blog on the mob meme ("CNN Anchor: How Dare You Call these Democratic Protestors 'a Mob'") and some frightening video of the non-mob in action.