Monday, October 08, 2007

The White House and Protesters

If you click on the tile to this entry, it will take you to an article from The Washington Post that talks about a manual the White House uses as policy for keeping protesters away from Bush.

I already knew that they did their best to keep him away from dissenting views. A guy I used to work with talked about going to a rally for Bush (he was pro-Bush,) and they were encouraged to shout down anyone supporting Kerry, to steal signs from people supporting Kerry, and to point them out to security so that they could be removed.

Now it is true that all politicians do their best to avoid protesters, especially when they're on the campaign trail, but to actually have such extensive policies in place seems absurd.

As an example:

"The manual offers advance staffers and volunteers who help set up presidential events guidelines for assembling crowds. Those invited into a VIP section on or near the stage, for instance, must be " extremely supportive of the Administration," it says. While the Secret Service screens audiences only for possible threats, the manual says, volunteers should examine people before they reach security checkpoints and look out for signs. Make sure to look for "folded cloth signs," it advises.

To counter any demonstrators who do get in, advance teams are told to create "rally squads" of volunteers with large hand-held signs, placards or banners with "favorable messages." Squads should be placed in strategic locations and "at least one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems," the manual says."

It's difficult for me to imagine most politicians going to these lengths. Yes, they have their private dinners, where only hand-picked people get in, and I'm sure other politicians do their best to discourage dissenters from being at their speeches, but I seriously doubt that any of them are as serious as this!

It makes you wonder if they're trying to protect the president from knowing that people don't like his polices, or if they're trying to make the rest of the world think that there are no dissenting voices in's probably a combination of both, as well as several other factors.

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