Wednesday, April 27, 2005

One of the phonies that helped usher 3 citizens out of a White House Social Security tour event in Denver (because they had an anti-war bumper sticker on their car)has been identified. You won't be shocked to know it's a Young Republicans leader, Jay Bob Klinkerman (no, really) who falsely presented others as Secret Service agents.

Of all the things that haven't seemed to generate as much outrage as is warranted with the Bush Administration, this staged "public" events fiasco is at the top of my list. Once it became known, it really should have been a source of such shame that the public opinion forced them to stop and apologize profusely, and for weeks. Campaign events are one thing, but this is a sitting President taking his ideas directly to the people, at taxpayer expense, and denying the right of half the population to even sit and listen to what he has to say.

Is there a chance Bush could be heckled? Damn straight there is. But that comes with the job, doesn't it? Absorbing the blows of dissent with poise and understanding is one of the tough tasks that gives citizens confidence and builds an aura of real leadership. I remember Sandy Berger and Madeline Albright being heckled relentlessly at Ohio State when they went there to explain and defend the Kosovo War.

If there is a disruption, legitimate security should be there to allow the event to proceed. But I thought America was designed to stand against prior restraint. And I had assumed the American people cared enough about principles of freedom that they would respond with a total refusal to accept this kind of anti-American cynicism from their elected leaders. I guess I was wrong, but I really honestly don't get it.

Maybe the Secret Service, at least, will not tolerate being impersonated for politics. But I'm losing faith in even that.

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