All Things Considered had a story tonight on how Bush rallys are limited to ticketholders, and those ticketholders are card carrying, loyalty oath signing Republicans, guaranteing that there is no voice of dissent to muddy the message or confuse the pinhead candidate and his voters. Unsuprisingly, the republicans interviewed thought that this was just great, and reflected the efficiency with which Bush runs the country.
I view this as absolute bullshit. What kind of political campaign is it if people are cut off from the political process? What kind of democracy do we have if only sworn supporters can hear the president of the United States speak?
The more I think about this, the more pissed off I get. Die-hard Bush supports make up at most 1/3rd of the population, they aren’t going to be swayed by any dissenting voices. That isn’t likely to be enough to get re-elected, so he’s going to need to bring others into the fold. So why isn’t he willing to take the chance on a few hecklers for the chance to win over some undecideds? The presidential campaign is in full swing.
I can imagine a few reasons. Is it that it will ruin the image projected to the TV news, this decreacing the propaganda value of the rallys in the mass media? If so, I’m sure that Goebbels would approve, but as a freedom loving American, I don’t much like it. Perhaps they think they have the election in the bag? But why would they, unless Floriday in 2004 was just a dry run?
Paranoid? Perhaps, but I can’t imagine that anything good lying behind such tactics.
This sort of behavior might be defensible in some sort of contested primary, but the presidential primaries are past, the Democratic convention over, and the Republican convention is a forgone conclusion.
The story notes that the Kerry campaign is much more open.