Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 31, 2008

A BUBBLE BOY FOR A NEW GENERATION.... Bush's Bubble Boy policies have always been a subject of fascination for me. In order to keep the president shielded from those who may disagree with him, the Bush White House has gone to comical lengths to keep dissenters at bay. This has, at various times, included blocking people from attending public events based on their bumper stickers, and requiring loyalty oaths for tickets.

This week, it appears the McCain gang wants to pick up where the Bush gang is leaving off. (via Atrios)

Audience members escorted out of Sen. John McCain's, R-Ariz., campaign event in Cedar Falls questioned why they were asked to leave Sunday's rally even though they were not protesting.

David Zarifis, director of public safety for the University of Northern Iowa, said McCain staffers requested UNI police assist in escorting out "about four or five" people from the rally prior to McCain's speech.

Zarifis said while the people who were taken out weren't protesting or causing problems, McCain's staff were worried they would during the speech.

It's the kind of profiling only a Republican leader could love. In this case, the RNC and the McCain campaign removed law-abiding, non-disruptive Americans from a campaign event based solely on hunches -- if they thought you might be a protestor, the basis of your appearance, you were ejected. If you resisted, you were threatened with arrest for trespassing.

In this case, the dragnet even caught McCain supporters, who apparently looked suspicious. And by "suspicious," I mean, "young."

Lara Elborno, a student at the University of Iowa, was one about "about 20 people" asked to leave the McCain event, and noted, "It was pretty much all young people, the college demographic."

In the McCain campaign, I suppose this is what passes for "youth outreach"?

But the key point here is that this is exactly how the Bush/Cheney operation has acted for eight years. I'd hoped McCain would have learned what not to do when it comes to being yet another Bubble Boy.

Has anyone heard about whether these tactics are common at other university events?

Steve Benen 8:41 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Call me a shameless profiler, but I am deeply suspicious of any young person who supports John McCain.

Posted by: chrenson on October 31, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Oh THAT'S why there are no young people or people of color at Republican events. I thought it was natural selection, but it's artificial selection.

Posted by: jillbee on October 31, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

So who normally attends events at the University of Northern Iowa? Maybe a closer study would have shown they were all science majors?

Posted by: Danp on October 31, 2008 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

More evidence that the republican party really has no respect for democratic principles.

I remember back in the dark days of Bu$h's 1st term, there were instances of audiences taking an "Oath of Loyalty" to Bu$h. Not the country, the constitution, but George Bu$h.

Add on to that the fact that now, in this late stage of the election, the republican's only strategy is to suppress the vote. Think about that. The only way this party feels it has a chance to win is to LIMIT the amount of voters.

Voting, people deciding who represents them, is the basis; the fundamental core principle of democracy.


Posted by: citizen_pain on October 31, 2008 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

I remember back in the dark days of Bu$h's 1st term, there were instances of audiences taking an "Oath of Loyalty" to Bu$h. citizen_pain

I know it seems like a long time ago, but it was only 2007 when they had the US Attorney hearings and Sarah Taylor described her oath. OK, so she wasn't part of an (airquote) audience. :)

Posted by: Danp on October 31, 2008 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe those folks were, um, swarthy. We can't have any of those people at a GOP event now, can we? That would destroy the message: people with funny, foreign-sounding names are un-American.

It's always struck me as grimly amusing that the people who have treated W as some sort of royalty, in effect advocating a monarchy, are the same ones frothing about how patriotic they are. During the American Revolution, these people would have been Tories. Decidedly un-American.

Posted by: josef on October 31, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

I know it seems like a long time ago, but it was only 2007 when they had the US Attorney hearings and Sarah Taylor described her oath.

And Monica Goodling sobbing, "All I ever wanted to do was serve the president." Not the country, not the constitution, not the citizens. Bush.

Posted by: shortstop on October 31, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

If you resisted, you were threatened with arrest for trespassing.

This tactic, which, if memory serves me right, has long been used by the Axis of Bush and Cheney, is most disturbing. These events are, by and large, public events in public facilities.

If someone is causing a disruption, tag 'em for disturbing the peace, fine. But to bust someone for trespassing reveals how small a tent -- sane people need not apply -- the GOP really has.

It's high time someone challenged this policy and had it ruled off limits.

Posted by: Gregory on October 31, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, McCain only has a problem with some young people...After all, didn't he just clear out an entire school district just to fill the seats at one of his rallies in Ohio?

No Child Left Behind...especially when you can't pull a crowd...

Posted by: grape_crush on October 31, 2008 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

I know hou douchy it is to always compare your political opponents to fascists or Nazis or banana republic dictators. Nonetheless, the idea of singling out dissenters - even potential dissenters - and removing them to make the remaining audience more "pure," and thus feel more deserving to be there & more likely to amp up their passion and fervor and devotion to the party/country/leader, is hardly new amongst those who don't truly value freedom. Separating the "bad apples" from the rest of the barrel has been an effective means of crowd control throughout history. And if that means you have to invent bad apples to toss out for the show-biz aspect of a rally or speech, well, tis a small price to pay for the good of the party, right? Ya vol!

Reminds me of a day from my young youth when I THOUGHT I was applying for a job, but it was apparently a pyramid-style Amway-esque scheme. Oh they had applications to get the job, but the "interview" was a group process where the boss, operating from Dictatorship for Dummies 101, tore up the application of a person that he knew - he JUST KNEW - was wrong for the job based on his response from one question. When I saw him do that, I just cackled and left with the dismised. The boss shouted that obviously I knew I was wrong for the job, and I shouted back that if an a-hole like him could be in charge of others, it couldn't possibly be a real business. I'd like to say I got the cliche'd one-person-starts-clapping-then-it -became-a-groundswell-of-support-and-everyone-walked-out moment, but no. Everyone stuck around, though 5 years later, the exact same want ad was still in the paper, evidence that this business, whatever it could've been, was high on the churn & low on the business acumen.

I wonder if that dirtbag is now working crowd control for the GOP.

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 31, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

At the next event, David Brooks, Chris Buckley, and Peggy Noonan were forcibly removed for similar reasons.

Posted by: lampwick on October 31, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Again I ask, what is McCain-Palin doing campaigning in Iowa? Poling in Iowa has Sen. Obama up by double digits. Seems a waste of campaign resources to me. Unless there's a consignment shop in Cedar Falls or nearby Waterloo that Sarah likes and she needed some new clothes.

Posted by: austin on October 31, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Preemptive strikes, the core of the Bush doctrine, apply equally to rallies.

Posted by: jen f on October 31, 2008 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

It's the Bush Doctrine as applied to campaign events: eliminate those who may at some point in the future develop the capability of holding up a "McSame" sign.

Posted by: shawn on October 31, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

As I noted on another thread, and KO pointed out last night, there are few, if any, people of color or "questionable" foreign birth, in any of Palin or McCain's rallies. And, the numbers are very small. What about that rally that McC appeared at yesterday where 4,000 local school children(I don't know their ages) were bussed to the rally to "fill the seats". What the Fuck is going on? And, the Khalidi reference by Palin to "Kaladi" is disgusting. I am not one to be afraid; I simply note that the transformation of the U.S. into a new world order is at hand, and it is not the order the Republicans are aniticpating. It is all GOOD!

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
st john

Posted by: st john on October 31, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

I read about this. One of the young ladies thrown out was in tears, protesting that she's a McCain supporter with a ticket.

Do any of these people know how to read? What do they think Republican "public events" have been like for the last eight years? How could this surprise anyone anymore?

Disgust, okay. Horrify, even. But surprise?

In America where we have The Best-est News Media In Teh Worruld?

Posted by: on October 31, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

On the busing of children to a McCain rally. Do young, impressionable children really need to be at a campaign event where nothing but attacks, sleaze, smears, and vitriol are spewed?

Seriously, what message are these children getting?

Posted by: citizen_pain on October 31, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Did anyone ask the kids who were escorted how who they were going to vote for NOW?

Posted by: MsJoanne on October 31, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

If young adults don't have a valid Liberty University student ID card they aren't real Americans. They can go to Obama rallies if they want democracy.

Actually, this was a humanitarian gesture by the McCain campaign -- they were trying to prevent these students from getting beaten up by "theocons."

The British royalty declined as a result of generations of in-breeding. I get the sense we're seeing that happen to Republicans as we watch. McCain and Palin have been babbling senselessly for weeks.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 31, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps this is an example of what occurred at the Pentagon protest as depicted by Norman Mailer in the amazing ARMIES OF THE NIGHT: People were pulled away entirely at random, which put fear into everyone because there was no longer any causality attached to an arrest. The lesson was: it didn't matter what you were doing, you were at risk, you were considered a threat, and you could be pulled away by the goons.

Posted by: angry young man on October 31, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of a time when I was 20 and attended a free outdoor concert in Philadelphia.

I was profiled by mounted police because .... get this...I had the gall to throw a circular disc made of polyethylene!

I actually made matters worse when I crowed to the crowd that "we can't play frisbee!" whereupon I was surrounded by horses and men and threatened with arrest UNLESS I spoke exactly what they wanted to hear.

This was 1978.

Now it's 2008 and I bet if you throw a frisbee at a McCain event you too will be treated like a felon and escorted far away.

So, try it out. See if the McCainites are suspicious of frisbee throwing college kids.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 31, 2008 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

For the record, Lara Elborno had previously been involved in a disruption at a McCain-Palin rally in late September. See the story here.

Apparently some of the other people swept up in this were actually totally innocent victims and there was no reason for them to be ejected.

But this is what Republicans do. They do not handle dissent well, do not like an open and public discourse and will do whatever it takes to quash anything which makes them the least uncomfortable or clashes with their preconceived world view.

They have just become reflexively authoritarian in everything they do.

Posted by: Mike on October 31, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Wonder how disposed these fresh faced young republicans will be to vote for the GOP again?

Posted by: ChicagoPat on October 31, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

sweet jumping jeebus, i teach in the the chicago public schools and it just took me nearly a month to push all the paper to get permission to WALK my kids two blocks to the local fire station.
nice to know schools elsewhere can be emptied out on a moments notice to provide props for a mcsame rally.
of course, my kids are all special needs (and they're all african-american, too) so they probably wouldn't have been welcomed anyway.

Posted by: mellowjohn on October 31, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

To Danp. A few days ago 61 Nobel laureate scientists endorsed Obama. They are distressed and frightened by the anti-science and anti-reason positions and policies of the Bush/McCain/Palin crowd. Please do not promote ridiculous stereotypes of scientists. We read novels, write poetry, attend plays, go to concerts, just like humantities students do.

Posted by: A scientists on October 31, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't Palin turn down an invitation to meet with the president of Penn State...when they used Penn State facilities for a campaign event?

Isn't that kinda....dumb?

Posted by: gwangung on October 31, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Don't know what is worse for those children, being bused to hear the vile rhetoric or being personally "bussed" by Double Talk or Sarah the Lost, while there.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 31, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

So wait, I want to make sure I have this straight:

McCain holds a rally on a college campus (University of Northern Iowa), and then kicks out "the college demographic"?

No wonder this guy is losing.

Posted by: bucky on October 31, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Do any of these people know how to read? What do they think Republican "public events" have been like for the last eight years? How could this surprise anyone anymore?

You're forgetting -- they're the "right kind" of people, so this kind of thing doesn't happen to them.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 31, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I've always been puzzled by why political candidates, especially Republicans, only seem to want to preach to the converted.

Given that McCain is behind, you would think that he would want to have undecided voters who do not support him at his campaign events in the hope that he might convince them to vote for him.

If he only allows people who are already committed to him to attend his events he's not going to convince very many new voters, is he?

Posted by: mfw13 on October 31, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I wish I had the links handy, but as a former Iowan I remember seeing reports that Bush's bubble included using local GOP folks as sorters.

So, if a young party volunteer ID'd you as a Democrat, or a writer of a letter to the editor, etc., that was enough to get you booted from a Bush presidential appearance.

Posted by: Bose on October 31, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK



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