On Morning Joe today, Jonathan Capehart hailed the loud protest in the Texas Capitol gallery by pro-abortion rights advocates—which prevented the state senate from voting on a pro-life bill—as an example of "democracy in action."
Joe Scarborough countered that if pro-life protesters had done the same, people on MSNBC and elsewhere would be calling them an "angry, unruly mob." Interestingly, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters agreed with Scarborough, saying he was "absolutely right." Capehart had no rebuttal. View the video after the jump.
Of course Scarborough and Peters are right. But what if the tables were indeed turned and it had been pro-life protesters blocking a pro-abortion rights bill? Would conservatives be hailing it as democracy in action, or an example of civil disobedience for which the protesters should be prepared to pay a price? Which is the greater exercise of democracy: the people's duly elected representatives voting in the prescribed procedure, or the interference with that procedure by one group of people?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Wendy Davis is the star because she did the filibuster, but let's talk about the people who stormed the capitol and who were cheering. The reason why the bill-- the measure didn't pass the first time was because of all the cheering in the gallery. They couldn't get the vote done. So for me, while Wendy Davis is, you know, a star and she's a hero and the central figure in this drama, the people in Texas who you see there in the video going, climbing the stairs, who filled that rotunda, filled the statehouse and who were chanting, to me it was democracy in action. It was no longer the, you know, voters who are hanging back and lethargic about this.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I wonder what everybody would be saying on this network and others if those were all pro-life people running up the hill, following Michele Bachmann or--I'm just curious. This is a side issue. Would that be democracy in action or woud it be an "angry mob"?
JEREMY PETERS: I think it would be an "angry mob." I think you're absolutely right.
SCARBOROUGH: I think it would be called an angry mob. Again, I'm personally--personally I'm excited whenever anybody does THIS. But let's just admit what Jeremy just said: when conservatives do this they're an angry, unruly mob and when liberals do it it's democracy in action.