blogenlust
8.17.2004

No Bush For You!


Interesting.
Kathryn Mead wanted to see her first sitting president when George W. Bush visited the city. Instead, Bush campaign staffers tore up the 55-year-old social studies teacher's ticket and refused her admission because she sported a small sticker on her blouse that touted the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards. "I had my ticket and photo identification, but they would not let me in because of this sticker," said Mead, a teacher at Traverse City West Senior High, who said she has seen Queen Elizabeth and Pope John Paul in person. "I have never found this kind of screening anywhere in my travels around the world. I can't imagine being denied access to hearing the president of the United States speak." Several people outside the campaign event tried to console Mead, who was visibly upset. "It really is comedic," said a man holding a Kerry/Edwards sign. "What absolute nonsense." [...] "I really, truly wanted to have the experience of having seen the president and hear him speak, which is very important to me as a social studies teacher," she said. "How can anyone in the United States deny someone entry? Isn't this a democracy?"
I think that Bush is probably one of the most isolated Presidents we've ever had. Of course, President's are famously isolated (Bush the First wasn't familiar with grocery check out procedures, and Clinton, after his Presidency, had never used an ATM...or so I've heard), but I think Bush is on a another level. Between he and Cheney, I'm not sure they've spoken to a live audience that wasn't completely sympathetic to their viewpoints. (Bush's speech to the UN and the State of the Union are a few examples that prove otherwise.) As a result, when Bush speaks to an audience, he is given soft-ball questions and never has to seriously defend any of his policies. Of course, I understand that this is politics, and that providing a situation which makes the candidate look good is the name of the game. But there is a difference between the way the Bush camp and the Kerry camp handle these events. See this post over at Kos for a visual depiction of the difference between the two campaign's styles. I think it says something that Bush is speaking to a more ideologically narrow crowd than Kerry. And like I said earlier, I think it is amazing that any candidate got 50,000 people to come and listen to a stump speech.