Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Astroturf campaign for Roberts comes to Washington

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton now head WAforJudgeRoberts.com, an organization created to support the nomination of John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court. This effort is being paid for by Progress for America, a Republican led soft money laundering operation with close ties to the Bush Administration.

Claiming to be an "ad-hoc coalition ...formed to ensure that Judge John G. Roberts receives genuine consideration for the Supreme Court Associate Justice vacancy, not baseless attacks," the group exhorts, "Judge Roberts deserves an 'Up or Down' vote."

If you want another Supreme Court justice in the Scalia/Thomas mold, then Roberts is your man.

But setting all of that aside, these web sites are slick. The "UporDownVote" site, for example, wants to "Restore the Constitution". But this part of the site really relates to the Republican goal of ending filibusters of judicial nominations. Never mind that the Democrats wanted to do the same thing when they were in power.

And, designed to do more than merely inform, they invite action: Readers can "Donate", contact "Congress", "Tell-A-Friend" and "Sign the Petition".

This, I think, is a classic example of what has become known as astroturf lobbying, or the organized arrangement of an ersatz grassroots movement. There is nothing "ad-hoc" about it.This is all part and parcel to the new face of politics in an IT world. Goebbels would be proud.


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