Now we know where the astroturf came from. Via Follow Me Here:
"eager partisans used the [Republican National Committee] site's automated e-mailer this month to spam just about every newspaper in the country with a letter to the editor that begins: 'When it comes to the economy, President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership'. ... nearly 50 papers, including the Boston Globe and the Financial Times, actually ran the thing, each one under the name of a different, and presumably genuine, local author."
Apparently, the RNC site awards points to members for activism that can then be traded in for prizes, from bumper stickers to fleece pullovers. So not exactly astroturfing in the accepted sense of the word, just a clumsy campaign.