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April 16, 2007 8:58 PM   Subscribe

"The president's right to control his own message includes the right to exclude people expressing discordant viewpoints from the audience". (NYT, reg req). More. Lots more
posted by unSane (87 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dissent is not only treasonous, the mere whiff of dissention is treasonous.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:04 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


No one has a "right' to "control his [or her] own message." We have a right to speak but no right to impose interpretation on the listeners. That's the risk of speaking.

Now I'll read the article.
posted by taosbat at 9:05 PM on April 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


The President's right to control his own message

Funny, I don't remember that one< ?a>.
posted by Miko at 9:06 PM on April 16, 2007


The president has a right to do whatever the citizenry and other branches of the federal government let him get away with.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 PM on April 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah, the Denver kids...I've been waiting for this one to come back around.
posted by taosbat at 9:08 PM on April 16, 2007


I agree. So long as the President or his Party is paying the tab.

But when I and all other taxpayers are paying the tab, for a public event billed as non-partisan, then no, the President shouldn't be able to exclude otherwise peaceable audience members for their real or imagined opinions.

This was a public forum, ostensibly on Social Security, paid for with my tax dollars and yours, not (supposedly) a campaign event. The guys who got ejected weren't being disruptive, they didn't interrupt, they didn't have signs or banners, they just had a bumper sticker on their car.

The argument that the President's men can evict them is as crazy as saying any American who don't share the President's ideology should be barred from mailing letters at Post Offices.
posted by orthogonality at 9:11 PM on April 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


Weekly Standard: Bush has "near dictatorial power"
posted by homunculus at 9:19 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Remember citizen- free speech is a threat to democracy. Only an uninformed population can fully appreciate the freedoms we sacrificed to protect!
posted by yeloson at 9:22 PM on April 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


We underscore that allowing peaceful expressions of protest is an essential element of democracy and a universally recognized human right.

thy love afar is spite at home.
posted by arialblack at 9:23 PM on April 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


How pathetic is it when your chief executive's main excuse is, "Well, it's not criminal."
posted by Firas at 9:23 PM on April 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Funny, I don't remember that one

Miko, that's Amendment 11, which the president added on to the Bill of Rights a few months ago. You are not authorized to view that amendment, but you are advised to trust the government when they tell you that it is indeed there.

Invisible ink, maybe?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:25 PM on April 16, 2007


Actually, I think the real 11th Amendment would be pretty popular with these guys.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:35 PM on April 16, 2007


I keep asking, but how can anyone with any self respect or love of this country support these people?
posted by maxwelton at 9:50 PM on April 16, 2007


Actually, I think the real 11th Amendment would be pretty popular with these guys.

Whoops, shoulda been clear it was the 28th Amendment I was referring to. That invisible ink throws me every time...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:56 PM on April 16, 2007


I agree with the above, esp. with what Orthogonality said.

You gotta keep in mind, though, that these are not arguments being made by the Government. These are arguments being made by lawyers who are being paid a metric buttload of money to throw as much dung against the wall as they can in hopes that some of it will stick.

I would bet a *million bucks* that these arguments get absolutely nowhere with the 10th Circuit. They're total losers and should be a complete slamdunk for the plaintiffs. IANAL, just my layperson's opinion.
posted by facetious at 10:02 PM on April 16, 2007


maxwelton: I keep asking, but how can anyone with any self respect or love of this country support these people?

Nationalism, which any government with an interest in self-preservation will work damn hard to promote, encourages us to conflate the government with the country. To the nationalist, criticising or doubting the government is criticising or doubting the country itself. This is especially bad in America, which claims to be based upon (and the guardian of) particular values. To the American nationalist, then, being against the government is being against the very values which Americans are supposed to hold dear, and in partisan individuals, the party becomes conflated with the government.

So partisan Republican American nationalists will have a near-impossible time of sorting out that criticism of Bush != criticism of the fundamental principles upon which America is based.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:08 PM on April 16, 2007 [10 favorites]


uh, I agree with allowing, should they choose to, handlers to cull from the audience any obvious potential trouble makers.

This includes people wearing undesirable message T shirts, but not as far as excluding people arriving with anti-XYZ bumper stickers on their car.

We all have constitutional right to get our own streetcorner, not barge in on & disrupt, however momentarily, someone else's forum.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:12 PM on April 16, 2007


You are not authorized to view that amendment, but you are advised to trust the government when they tell you that it is indeed there.

Well, you could try Googling for evidence of that amendment, but then you'd get a visit from your friendly Homeland Security team.
posted by amyms at 10:47 PM on April 16, 2007


We all have constitutional right to get our own streetcorner, not barge in on & disrupt, however momentarily, someone else's forum.

The problem, Heywood, is that since our tax dollars paid for the event in question, said streetcorner is the property of the taxpayers. We're not talking about a privately-funded event, which nobody is arguing should be forced to accept all comers. We're talking about a taxpayer-funded event from which taxpayers were forcibly ejected on the suspicion that they might not agree with the president.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:17 PM on April 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


Roundup of No-Fly lists and other watchlists
posted by homunculus at 11:46 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


We all have constitutional right to get our own streetcorner, not barge in on & disrupt, however momentarily, someone else's forum.

It's not someone else's.
posted by mek at 2:52 AM on April 17, 2007


YOU GOTTA TRY THESE NEW GLASSES I GOT GUYS.
posted by The Straightener at 4:05 AM on April 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


Better not contradict Minitrue, citizen - remember: Ignorance is Strength!
posted by Chunder at 4:28 AM on April 17, 2007


Exclude this, motherf*cker.

This guy is going down as the worst president evah. Forget fumigating the white house. They're going to have to tear it down, superfund cleanup the site, and built a new home for President Obama.
posted by spitbull at 4:43 AM on April 17, 2007


Provided Bush doesn't just declare himself King before that.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:55 AM on April 17, 2007


Actually, Cheney's already proclaimed himself King, but he only proclaimed it to the 10 or 12 people that really matter, and those people, well, none of us know their names at all.

OK, maybe Karl Rove is one of them.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 AM on April 17, 2007


IMPEACH NOW!
posted by rmmcclay at 5:25 AM on April 17, 2007


Let's not forget that Bush has his own private imperial guard in the form of Blackwater.
posted by empath at 5:48 AM on April 17, 2007


To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
-- Teddy Roosevelt
posted by kirkaracha at 5:55 AM on April 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


wasn't this where the White House originally lied and said that they were just overzealous volunteers and not employees acting under the their direction?
posted by amberglow at 5:56 AM on April 17, 2007


All hail King George! Vive le Roi!

Psst...George? As of January 2009....you're fired, @$$hole. And history will not be merciful, you miserable puke.
posted by pax digita at 6:25 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


YOU GOTTA TRY THESE NEW GLASSES I GOT GUYS.

I knew it!

Let's go out to alley to convince some republicans to put on the glasses. They could use a good beating for their own good right about now.
posted by smallerdemon at 6:36 AM on April 17, 2007


(Oh, before the few, the proud, the persecuted accuse me of advocating violence against people with different points of view, I would at least urge you to see the movie which is being referenced in The Straightener's post, since then my comment about beating people up for their own good makes a lot more sense. - Best. Fight. Scene. EVER!)
posted by smallerdemon at 6:45 AM on April 17, 2007


The Republican playbook in seven simple steps.

1) First, CRISIS! If they don't have one already (9/11, Katrina), they'll invent and/or hype one (Iraq, Social Security, election fraud, flag burning, Terri Schiavo, budget etc). Their answer is to do whatever it was they wanted to do all along -- everything is a solution in search of a problem. Invade Iraq, give tax cuts to the rich, kill public television, etc.

2) Their actions were a perfect success. Their critics are partisan, shrill disgruntled ex-employees, opposed to the troops, playing the blame game, objectively pro-Saddam, anti-semitic, deranged liberals.

3) OK, even if it wasn't a perfect success, they did nothing wrong. You have no evidence that says they did. The American people want you to move on. Get over it.

4) OK, even if you have evidence, it is (forged) (out of context) (opinion) and anyway, nothing they did was improper. You are emboldening our enemies, and living in a pre-9/11 world.

5) OK, even if what they did is improper in the eyes of some, it was not illegal. it's the President's prerogative under Article II. And Cheney is on Capitol Hill arguing that the law needs to be changed or the terrorists win.

6) Fine -- they're forced to tacitly admit that everything said against them was true. But you have no standing to do anything about it, and even if you did it's classified now. Go fuck yourself.

7) Their actions are a perfect success and always were. Their critics are partisan, shrill disgruntled ex-employees, opposed to the troops, playing the blame game, objectively pro-Saddam, anti-semitic, deranged liberals.
posted by edverb at 6:51 AM on April 17, 2007 [36 favorites]


Well-put, edverb.
posted by notsnot at 7:12 AM on April 17, 2007


These are arguments being made by lawyers who are being paid a metric buttload of money to throw as much dung against the wall as they can in hopes that some of it will stick.
Speaking of taxpayer-funded.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:19 AM on April 17, 2007


This kind of jingoistic nationalism appeals to the weak-minded and predatory, because it allows them to feel superior to non–right-thinking citizens, and sometimes allows these cretins to exercise real power over others based on no qualifications beyond their unswerving and servile devotion to the powers that be.

arialblack: Great comment, lousy font ;)
posted by Mister_A at 7:24 AM on April 17, 2007


These statements above in defense of being able to criticize the government, are they actually generally true, or do they just represent a political shift, and justification for criticism of the president now, as a duty to the new majority?
posted by nervousfritz at 7:26 AM on April 17, 2007


fritz: What? We started a whole country based on this principle.[/hyperbole]
posted by Mister_A at 7:34 AM on April 17, 2007


"The world is full of one idea'd fanatics who want to make their petty standards the measure of our freedom. They are a menace to civilization because they seek to stereotype belief by persecution. The only difference between them and the old Inquisitor is in the object of their persecution. The evil spirit itself endures."
- Harold Laski, November 1935
posted by teleri025 at 7:49 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know what I'm not looking forward to? Trying to explain these years to my kids.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:50 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


These are arguments being made by lawyers who are being paid a metric buttload of money to throw as much dung against the wall as they can in hopes that some of it will stick.

Speaking of taxpayer-funded.
If it is taxpayer-funded, I highly doubt that the lawyers are being paid in "metric buttloads."
posted by deanc at 7:55 AM on April 17, 2007


True fact—metric buttloads are actually smaller than English buttloads.
posted by Mister_A at 7:57 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Such moral indignation in this thread!

Tell me, do you really think Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama are going to allow right wing protesters to show up and shout them down, when they are trying to control their message?

Get a clue. The system is evolving so that the rabble (i.e., you) can never confront politicians in any forum that may be recorded or broadcast. Rallies will only be for the loyalists (the superfans who would bother to waste a day to show up to a rally), everyone else can vent on message boards or talk radio, where no one is paying any attention.

Think for a moment about the presidential debates. Those three debates are the only places where candidates face members of the public who oppose them. Every other second of a campaign, the candidate is surrounded by their supporters, staff, or at worst a member of the media who will interview them for three minutes.

The debates are the only place where there is even a remote possiblity that a politician gets asked a tough or embarassing question that they are not prepared for.

And how are the debates conducted? The audience is told to shut up, first of all. They are not permitted to boo (and the sound gets potted down when they do) and they aren't supposed to applaud. They can ask question but only ones that are pre-screened, or that they pass their question to a moderator, another member of the establishment media.

So don't act shocked that the White House wants to control it's message. They sure as hell don't want you to control it.

You want your protest to be heard? Find out where he's going to speak, get a few hundred of your closest friends to attend en masse pretending to be supporters (donate $20 each if necessary), and right in the middle of the speech, stage your protest. Ask your questions. Embarass him. Just don't do anything stupid that gives them an excuse to portray you as the bad guys.

These people don't play fair, so there's no reason you should.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:00 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


heywood mogroot, if i'm in a public place and you or your handlers don't like my t-shirt and try to lay hands on me, i will exercise my right of self-defense. i'm a peace-loving man, but i acknowledge that we are a violent species, and that sometimes a little violence is necessary to protect a larger peace.
posted by bruce at 8:08 AM on April 17, 2007


Pastabagel, if people are disruptive at the event, remove them. Don't remove them based on their bumper stickers. This was a publicly-financed appearance, which, while it may have amounted to a stump speech, should not be construed as a partisan event. The Republican party didn't pay for it; the taxpayers did, and they should be allowed to attend regardless of their political ideologies. If Obama or Clinton have someone removed from a privately-funded campaign event, that is a horse of a different color. I think Obama would probably school any right-wing hecklers he faced, anyway.

Now, if Obama becomes President of the United States, he too should be called to account if he excludes people from attending a publicly-financed event because of the bumper stickers on their vehicle(s).
posted by Mister_A at 8:12 AM on April 17, 2007


I find it surprising the legal system can somehow be bent to make a logical connection between a bumper sticker on a car which is presumably parked outdoors somewhere and interference with messaging (aka speech) occurring indoors.
posted by scheptech at 8:17 AM on April 17, 2007


What Mr. A said, and if past history is a useful indicator, the Democrats don't operate that way, even at privately-funded events.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:20 AM on April 17, 2007


Ok wait a minute - I get it. There's a difference between "speech" and "messaging". The bumper sticker on the not-physically-in-the-room car wasn't interfering with the President's speaking. It was interfering with the President's messaging. Ok then.
posted by scheptech at 8:29 AM on April 17, 2007


I love how the right-wing defense has changed from "The Democrats did it, too!" to "The Democrats would do it, given the opportunity."
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:30 AM on April 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


I understand the distinction between a privately funded event and a publicly funded one. You're missing the point.

Bush is only doing what candidates do when campaigning. No campaign appearances are publicly funded (or rather, they all are if the candidate takes matching funds), so on the campaign, the candidate gets to "control their message" at the rallies, which translates to excluding anyone they don't like for any reason, because it's privately funded.

When the candidate is elected, it is functionally impossible to attend a speech and protest the official from any meaningful proximity, because they'll just be labeled a "security threat" and tossed out. In other words, they'll find a reason to get rid of you.

Let's say these people in the article win their case. Now a protestor can go to where the president is speaking wearing an "Impeach Bush" T-shirt and have nothing to worry about, right?

Wrong. Even though the law is on you side, when a support or staffer (they likely won't know that they are a staffer at the time, by the way) asks them to leave, they'll stand their ground and argue their right to be there. At which point, they'll be asked more and more strongly and adamantly to leave, until their refusal to leave becomes the very disruption that justifies throwing them out. After the fact, of course, the protester will have been in the right all along, but so what? The effect is the same.

And before you start quoting the past behavior of the democrats, I'd point out to you that the republicans didn't act this way in the past either. I'm trying to point out the trend. And if it works for the republicans, you can bet the democrats will try it too.

My overall point is that the exclusion of opposition from any political rally, privately funded or other wise, is unacceptable. Politicians and political issues affect everyone, not just their supporters. So members of the public who are against the candidate have a vested interest in what the candidate is saying and in persuading the candidate's supporters to change their minds.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:38 AM on April 17, 2007


I love how the right-wing defense has changed from "The Democrats did it, too!" to "The Democrats would do it, given the opportunity."
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:30 AM on April 17


Who said that?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:40 AM on April 17, 2007


I love how the right-wing defense has changed from "The Democrats did it, too!" to "The Democrats would do it, given the opportunity."
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:30 AM on April 17

Who said that?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:40 AM on April 17 [+]
[!]


And before you start quoting the past behavior of the democrats, I'd point out to you that the republicans didn't act this way in the past either. I'm trying to point out the trend. And if it works for the republicans, you can bet the democrats will try it too.

You did. LOLZORS.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:43 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, LOLZORS. You got your quotes out of order there, friend.

And how exactly am I "right wing"? Didn't my earlier comment above (the one to which you actually posted in response) make it clear that I was encouraging protesting of the president?

My point was not that the republicans get to do it because the democrats will do it. Perhaps you should imagine a world where not everyone fits into one or the other of left wing or right wing. My point was that any politician will do this because what politicians do it control their message. The hyperbolic reaction to anything Bush does ignores the fact that everyone tries to control their message.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:52 AM on April 17, 2007


Yes, everyone has people vetted for purity of thought before entering public spaces. We have always had free speech confined to designated zones. Freedom is slavery.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:02 AM on April 17, 2007


Uranus, I'm expressing concern with your dangerous ideas. Thought is unnecessary. Learn doublethink. Ignorance is strength.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 9:20 AM on April 17, 2007


The argument given by the lawyers against this couple is ridiculous. They are saying that there was a right to eject them from the publicly funded event based on their speech outside the event. Not their actions during the event or any imminent threat of disruption, but just the fact that they disagreed with the war in Iraq.
posted by demiurge at 9:24 AM on April 17, 2007


Pastabagel, bearing in mind your well-made point about labeling undesirables "security risks", this case becomes even more important. The fact that the two plaintiffs are clean-cut and presentable is no accident; these two have backing because they are not outwardly scary or objectionable, and because the circumstances surrounding their removal seem to be particularly unjustifiable.

In a way, it is similar to the Rosa Parks case; other people were jailed for refusing to yield their seats, but Ms. Parks' manner and personal history made her an unimpeachable witness to the injustice of racial segregation.

If our justice system works as it is supposed to, this case will set a legal precedent, and establish a precedent in the minds of most citizens, that this sort of behavior (on the part of our elected officials) is just not acceptable.
posted by Mister_A at 9:24 AM on April 17, 2007


This president truly believes he has no one to answer to. It is time that the Congress taught him otherwise. Bring on the articles of impeachment.
posted by scissorhand2 at 9:40 AM on April 17, 2007


Bush is only doing what candidates do when campaigning.

Having been to real, live political events, I was never asked to sign any loyalty statements, as Bush requires his attendees to do. Nor was I even asked for ID. I'm sure had I been disruptive, I would have been asked to leave.

Sorry, but you're just wrong.
posted by deanc at 9:43 AM on April 17, 2007


Who said that?
posted by Pastabagel


You still did.

Tell me, do you really think Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama are going to allow right wing protesters to show up and shout them down, when they are trying to control their message?
...
posted by Pastabagel at 10:00 AM on April 17 [+] [!]

posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:45 AM on April 17, 2007


Shorter Pastabagel: all politicians are morally equivalent




wrong
posted by sweet mister at 9:55 AM on April 17, 2007


Didn't my earlier comment above (the one to which you actually posted in response) make it clear that I was encouraging protesting of the president?

No. Were you? Try harder, and maybe it would help if you leave out the predictions of what the Democrats are going to do, based on what the Republicans have been doing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:15 AM on April 17, 2007


Having been to real, live political events

I'll do you one better, having ORGANIZED a real life CAMPAIGN event (for a democrat, but it doesn't matter), I know for a fact that we turned exactly nobody away at the door that wanted to hear the candidate speak and that nobody checked IDs or asked for loyalty statements.

We did give little American flags to the people standing behind the candidate in the camera shot, though. OMIGOD fascism!
posted by Inkoate at 10:24 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love how the right-wing defense has changed from "The Democrats did it, too!" to "The Democrats would do it, given the opportunity."

And I love how quickly, in a thread based on indignation at the thought of tarring thoughtful dissent with ideological trappings, pastabagel was so casually accused of being a right winger simply for taking a different approach to the problem. I'm amazed no one sees the irony. It's just that kind of false dualism that is being decried in all the comments.

In fact it's that kind of dualism which pretty much guarantees Obama or Clinton will end up fucking you over too. And because they won't fuck as hard as Bush, most people will be ok with it - until they're not of course, and the fickle pendulum swings again and some other Republican continues the process of dismantling which the Democrats kinda-sorta--but-not-really put on pause.

I don't read pastabagel's comments as arguing against Democrats, but as simply pointing out quite rightly that Americans. don't. live. in a democracy. And they stopped doing so long, long before Bush. Bush isn't the problem, he's a symptom.
posted by poweredbybeard at 10:26 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Americans live in a Republic, currently configured as a representative democracy, not a democracy.

Big difference.

However even at this late stage you can still kick. the. bums. out.
posted by sweet mister at 10:33 AM on April 17, 2007


Appalling. But not surprising.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:26 AM on April 17, 2007


(+what ortho & edverb et.al sed)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:27 AM on April 17, 2007


The Speaker of the House has already said she's not gonna try to impeach Bush. So kicking the bums out isn't viable. Heck, the republicans tried to kick out Clinton in the last two years and got egg on their faces. It's not worth the trouble. The democrats are just waiting for 2008, and pretending that the Administration is lame ducking.

The fact is, the democrats are part of the problem. Not part of the solution.

We live in a corporate oligarchy parading itself as a democratic republic.

It's not about controlling Bush's message, or trying to shout over his message. It's about the silence that's behind that message - what we can't see and hear. The conspiracy that is so secret, it doesn't even really know about its own existence.

Just companies doing what they do which is to protect themselves for the sake of their stockholders and other interested parties. No harm in that, is there? Just doing their thing.

Companies that downsize and continue cutting meat off the bone claiming they're trimming fat, so that the upper echelons continue to get pay raises whether or not the company as a whole is really profitable, and so the company can continue to support political and economic avenues that help the fat cats stay fat. Then the working class which is feeling the squeeze - they can't afford to behave as they did, and the companies don't realize this but their behavior causes a chain reaction which lowers their own clientele, so they have to trim more meat off the bones to stay competitive, and the cycle continues unabated.

This is not something that you fix with an election.

This is not something that you can fix.

This isn't demonic. It's human. This is what religions used to try to protect us from, by demonizing the baser of our nature: ourselves.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:43 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Shorter Pastabagel: all politicians are morally equivalent
wrong
posted by sweet mister at 12:55 PM on April 17


It is wrong, and I never said that. But nice of you to bring moralilty into this. After all, morality is so universal and objectively quantifiable we should have no difficulty determining and then agreeing on who is more or less moral.

And I'm not justifying anything, because the justification doesn't enter into it. Things are what they are. Don't argue about what should be. People shouldn't kill other people, but they do, and they will continue to do so no matter how many courts say they shouldn't. Understand how the world is and how to work within it - there's no point in raging uselessly against the machine.

Is it legal to exclude people from a public event because of a bumper sticker? Of course not. No one is saying it is. Does it matter that it's illegal? Not in the slightest. This will happen more frequently in the future, not less, and the people doing the excluding will increasingly be members of the crowd from whom there is no legal recourse.

Rallies are meaningless. In a secondary role, they reinforce the beliefs and support of the attendees, not persuade them to come around to those beliefs. Political rallies are quite literally sermons preached to the converted. Their primary purpose is to create an image for transmission in the media. The image is one of a candidate talking to the people, and the people cheering in support. But they can't produce this image if people are protesting, so they have to exclude everyone who could potentially be disruptive, regardless of whether they are disruptive or not, and regardless of whether it is legal or not.

And yes, this will happen in the future by candidates from both parties. Not necessarily at every venue, but it will happen. Because it has to happen because image is all that matters regardless of the how the image is captured or staged.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:47 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think your crystal ball has a big crack in it. The Dems are part of the problem, but not in the way you think. If they start behaving like the Reps in every way, which is what you seem sure is going to happen, then we will see a viable third party. That one party has been doing something and has been successful does not necessarily mean that the other party must do that thing to also be successful. It is not apparent that suppressing free speech is the reason for the Repubs past success, and any Dem who starts doing things like that is going to get a lot of criticism, from within the party.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:57 PM on April 17, 2007


But they can't produce this image if people are protesting, so they have to exclude everyone who could potentially be disruptive, regardless of whether they are disruptive or not, and regardless of whether it is legal or not.

But they don't, except for a specific candidate, so your point is by and large irrelevant. The only reason this is news is because only one candidate had started to require loyalty oaths and even searching out people who were not supporters in order to target them for ejection.

This is a rather procrustian attempt at trying to make a "but they all do it" argument. Some people have a habit of reflexively saying "they all do it" with regards to every situation. Since they manifestly don't all do it, you're trying to say, "well, they all would do it" or "well, they all will do it."
posted by deanc at 1:21 PM on April 17, 2007


Things are what they are. Don't argue about what should be. People shouldn't kill other people, but they do, and they will continue to do so no matter how many courts say they shouldn't.

Note to self: never argue with an anarcho-nihilist
posted by sweet mister at 2:56 PM on April 17, 2007


Things are what they are. Don't argue about what should be.

Utterly useless, apathetic conservatism. "Don't make waves. Don't strive for change. Hell, don't even talk about change."
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:58 PM on April 17, 2007


My point wasn't that the Democrats are going to repress free speech, but rather that politics doesn't tolerate generalities of any sort, whether temporal (always) or societal (anyone), and another good point is that morality is usually expressed in generalities (like the ones toward the beginning of the thread), and that once you say things like, well, of course, murder is wrong, except for Chuck, who is a member of the Royal Assassins, and Dave, who nobody has ever liked, so except for that, murder is wrong. Ok, sure, that's a really weak morality, then.

Ok, so, hence, politics annihilates morality.
posted by nervousfritz at 3:09 PM on April 17, 2007


Things are what they are. Don't argue about what should be. People shouldn't kill other people, but they do, and they will continue to do so no matter how many courts say they shouldn't.

We apologize for discussing anything legal, political, philosophical, moral, or hell, theoretical in any way here on Metafilter, and will never make the mistake of doing it again, lest you happen to read it and find it objectionable. Sorry!
posted by mek at 3:39 PM on April 17, 2007


People did do it all thru Clinton's terms, but you know what? They were allowed in, and allowed to shout--it was rare for people to be thrown out.

Why is Bush and the GOP so chickenshit that they can't even face protestors at all? It's amazingly cowardly. Even cowards are braver, i think.
posted by amberglow at 3:52 PM on April 17, 2007


"Don't make waves. Don't strive for change. Hell, don't even talk about change."
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul


Eponysterical.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:54 PM on April 17, 2007


Things are what they are. Don't argue about what should be. People shouldn't kill other people, but they do, and they will continue to do so no matter how many courts say they shouldn't. Understand how the world is and how to work within it - there's no point in raging uselessly against the machine.

I don't even know what to say to this. And people call me pessimistic.
posted by rtha at 4:13 PM on April 17, 2007


"raging uselessly against the machine."

Their first record was OK, but they kinda sucked after that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:41 PM on April 17, 2007


If many people have the opinions of pastabagel, there's a market for magnetized bumper stickers, especially if you are a Democrat attending a Republican convention.

Seriously, this is depressing.

These people are lawyers? can any right-wing nitwit call themselves a "constitutional lawyer" these days, as long as they support what the Bush White House wants?
posted by bad grammar at 4:45 PM on April 17, 2007


Why is Bush and the GOP so chickenshit that they can't even face protestors at all?

Much of this is due to organizing by Bush's handlers. Bush, by all accounts, is extremely testy and can have emotional episodes (eg, screaming at his father and challenging him to go "mano a mano," and his "wait about poland!" interruption during the debates). All of Bush's appearances in public are very, very scripted, and his handlers are probably genuinely worried that he will have some kind of meltdown or publicly lash out at someone if Bush is asked an unscripted question or if Bush sees something (such as a sign or a banner) that would upset him.
posted by deanc at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Harry Taylor told President Bush he should be ashamed of himself (MetaFilter thread)
posted by kirkaracha at 6:29 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is ultimately antithetical to what a leader of a free country should be doing. Or any country really.
Obviously you need image projection and the like in terms of competition. It’s a very rarified circle, the multi-multi-millions of dollars spent on a campaign and such.
And the mechanisms in place are so specialized it’s hard not to see anyone making use of that apparatus themselves.
But generally that hasn’t been as much of a problem because there has been the need to at least listen to the people. For the most part that has been because either party has had seats that are vulnerable.
For a number of reasons (redistricting, et.al) this has changed. The republicans, for the most part, don’t have the need to listen and the democrats, for the most part, don’t need to care (because if the republicans are screwing up, they’re a shoe-in and if not, they can’t overcome the barriers).
Additionally there has been some effort to maintain popularity throughout a term in office. Bush doesn’t really seem to care. And really, functionally - and from his POV - so what if he’s unpopular as long as he is still in the seat?
Nevertheless, without an adequate feedback system there is no reality check for any given concept or policy. If Bush should suddenly decide “the troops” should wipe their asses with ice cream he’s got layers and layers of insulation between him and people actually affected by that policy who can point out the many flaws with that sort of plan.
You don’t have to agree with your opposition or even like them, but you should always subject policy to feedback before you make serious change.
Otherwise you get this self-reciprocating noise chamber (as illustrated by edverb above) that’s utterly disconnected with reality.

When it comes to power, within the ideals of the American system, the people should have a right to be heard. We don’t have the right to a soapbox with any other audiance. Our elected representatives though, should be, in some ways, a captive audiance.
Perhaps not here specifically, but certainly in some measure and most definitely that should be the spirit of public service. This certainly isn’t.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:01 PM on April 17, 2007


Harry Taylor told President Bush he should be ashamed of himself (MetaFilter thread)

And that's been like the only time ever in this administration.
posted by amberglow at 7:06 PM on April 17, 2007


I wonder how Harry is enjoying his all expense paid trip to beautiful Guantanamo Bay.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:54 PM on April 17, 2007


Psst...George? As of January 2009....you're fired, @$$hole. And history will not be merciful, you miserable puke.

retiring in luxury != fired

The truth hurts. Like a fucking toothache but deal with it.
posted by dreamsign at 1:39 AM on April 18, 2007


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