Bush to American Citizens: Git Out of Our Townhall Meeting!

Anybody who has an SS No. ought to be a bit concerned. When Bush holds “town hall meetings” to discuss what ought to happen with Social Security, he wants to ensure that only those who are willing to sign a blood oath of loyalty will be allowed in the room.


Hey, this is not a GOP fundraiser or even an election year, yet somehow the Republicans feel that even in carrying out his duties as president all matters need to be handled in as highly partisan a manner as possible.

[quote]Three Denver residents yesterday charged that they were forcibly removed from one of President Bush’s town meetings on Social Security because they displayed a bumper sticker on their car condemning the administration’s Middle East policies.

The three, all self-described progressives who oppose Bush’s Social Security plan, said an unidentified official at an event in Denver last week forced them to leave before the president started to speak, even though they had done nothing disruptive, said their attorney, Dan Recht.

This is not the first time people have complained about heavy-handed monitoring of who can attend – and speak at – Bush’s events promoting his Social Security plan. A newspaper in Fargo, N.D., reported that when Bush came to the city on Feb. 3, more than 40 residents were barred from attending the event. [/quote]

As long as you disagree with even one of the president’s foreign policy ideas, it’s clear that the GOP considers you an enemy of the nation, unfit to be present at a “town hall” discussion of Social Security issues.

The land of free speech - just exercise your right of the same but state a different opinion and then be prepared for the consequences. :silenced:


That’s supposed to make it better? These people were ushered out because they might heckle? Might? I’d like to hear exactly what motivated the decision though, how they determined that these people might be disruptive - it is possible, after all, that they have a record of such things - but if it was based on nothing more than that they disagree, that’s a little shady, and kind of runs counter to the purpose of town hall meetings doesn’t it?

Oh, they might disrupt the event? With a bumber sticker? :unamused:

But let’s look at some actual facts provided, in this case the outcome of the SS investigation:

Seems Mr. Press Secretary doesn’t tell the truth or not know the facts, so maybe it’s just his believe - makes a good excuse anytime I have been told.

More so-called free speech for you:

Look, I am a supporter of free political speech. However, I am also a supporter of time, place and manner restrictions on free political speech.

Let’s all be clear about what is going on:

These town hall meetings are nothing more than political advertisements by the President. Clinton did the same thing and the DNC restricted potential hecklers and protestors from the Democratic Convention.

Yes, it is staged. But, everyone knows that. These are not really “town hall” meetings.

I replied to Rascal’s posts regarding free speech because his assertion is completely wrong. The US does have the highest level of free political speech in the world. Sure, there are restrictions on free political speech in the US… but to assert or imply that free speech is not permitted in the US is ridiculous.

The fact is, the issue of Social Security reform is being debated enthusiastically by many people in the US.

So one of the arguments for this is “Well, they did it too!”? That, and that they were wearing T-shirts that they may or may not have “revealed”?

I see what you mean about these being staged events - it’s been pretty much well known for a while now that that’s exactly what these things are - but I still don’t think that that justifies turfing people out of an event like this, especially when they had been invited to attend. And people may well be debating this issue enthusiastically, but if they can’t express opposition or even offer their own opinions to the man in charge of the idea, what difference does bitching about it at the local coffee shop make?

Yeah, yeah… the GOP has a lock on restricting hecklers and protesters, right? :unamused:


[quote][url=http://www.saveourcivilliberties.org/en/2004/08/498.shtml]BOSTON – Democratic party officials are faced with an awkward situation this week – their national political convention being held in the “Cradle of Democracy” while activists are loudly charging that free speech is effectively being squelched during the conclave.

“What does it mean when Boston, a city built on a history of revolutionary dissent, builds a barbaric confine for people who want to express their democratic rights?” said a spokesperson for Save Our Civil Liberties.

The protesters are angry about the city’s security plan that restricts all protesters to a fenced in area covered with barbed wire about a block away from the FleetCenter.[/url][/quote]

No doubt the Bush administration has learned from at least one political disaster when Clinton administration people held a townhall meeting and it was crashed by protesters and hecklers. After that, much more pre-emptive cautionary acts have been taken.

Well, I agree that it seems cheesy. However, the President is entitled to make his case and if he wants to do so in a staged “town hall” meeting, that seems OK to me, so long as everyone knows it is staged.

What I object to is statements such as Rascal’s that imply that the US does not have freedom of speech. That notion is simply asinine.

People are actively debating the issue of SS reform in coffee shops, in newspaper editorials, in Congress, in letters to the editors of newspapers, in blogs… etc… to say that free speech is being stifled because a volunteer staffer decided to take precautionary action to prevent potential hecklers from attending a staged “townhall meeting” is, IMO, ridiculous.

I didn’t say/imply you don’t have freedom of speech, I said it may have consequences if you exercise / want to exercise that right, even it’s just by means of a bumper sticker.
From what we see in the article I am right and thus your interpretation of my argument is asinine and wrong.

Oh you’re right, he’s entirely entitled to make his statements in a staged event if he so chooses. But that still doesn’t justify forcibly ejecting people who had been explicitly invited to attend just because they maybe, possibly, could’ve disrupted the event. Is it not possible that even if they did disagree, they may have done so in a thought out, rational, intelligent manner that provoked an interesting exchange involving the president himself?

Like I said, I see entirely what you mean about them being staged, although they do make great efforts to make them appear open and public, not that anyone buys it. But I still don’t see how that justifies what happened. And you can howl about how “Well the Democrats do it too!” all you want - that doesn’t make any difference. They did it, and they’re assholes for it too. Although there is a difference between keeping potential hecklers and troublemakers out of what is explicitly a party convention and a supposedly public “town hall” meeting. And I’d say part of the reason - aside from the fact there are a lot of people ready to pounce on Bush for even the slightest slip - that there wasn’t a huge outcry over the DNC thing is that it was a party convention not a policy discussion that could affect the entire country, and that they’re not in power.

Here is your statement:

That statement is asinine and wrong, because it does not acknowledge that such consequences as occurred in the “townhall” example are extremely limited in number and compared to the total number of instances where people freely exersize their right to express political speech in the US, the “townhall” consequences are extremely rare.

In fact, in the “land of free speech”, in the vast majority of cases, the exersize of free political speech is not restricted and the only consequences of the same are agreement or disagreement.

Thus, your assertion was ambiguous and mostly wrong, and thus IMO, it was and is asinine.

Hey TC, if you’re going to pull Rascal up on your - incorrect - interpretation of the rules, where’s the pull-up of Tigerman, who did exactly the same thing?

And Tigerman - you’re still wrong on your interpretation of Rascal’s comment. He said you should be prepared for the consequences of your actions, right? That doesn’t mean that there will be consequences, just that you should be prepared to take whatever consequences may arise. He didn’t say there will always be consequences, nor did he say that consequences are even common, he just said that you should be prepared to face the consequences. Whether or not there are any consequences is another issue.

So, in other words, Rascal’s comment was meaningless? OK, I can agree with that.

If you insist.

I do… :wink:

Oh, no! We certainly don’t want hecklers or those who might disagree with Bush at any of those ‘town hall meetings’… I mean, it’d look REALLY REALLY bad in the fake newscasts they send out to the fake “news” agencies to imply that anyone in the US might actually disagree with Bush…
And we surely don’t want anyone in other countries to see ANY dissention while we’re so busy SPREADING DEMOCRACY, and LIBERTY, and FREEDOM. :unamused:

I need to puke now.

Well, of course we can understand how it is that organized protestors may have been kept outside the Democratic convention at the Fleet Center – that was a Democratic Party event… and we already know that the gun nuts (I am a gun owner but a responsible one) and the pro-death pro-lifers (to be distinguished from pro-life pro-lifers like myself) on the wacko right wing would be the first to unload their guns at fellow Americans. Of course, I can also understand how the GOP would feel they could control who attends their own convention, aiming to keep out protestors or people who might disrupt their event. Of course, the protestors that might target them are probably likely not to be armed.

Now, what do we have here? A second-term U.S. president in his capacity as such in a non-election year has GOP goons eliminating participants from a Social Security “town-hall” meeting when the very nature of a town hall meeting is to open up the floor to a variety of viewpoints. It would appear that Rascal is quite correct to say that America no longer respects freedom of speech. People who “might” disagree are ejected from a government-organized meeting.

Now, some right-wing wackos might try to suggest that it is a parallel situation, raising with no actual factual basis that Clinton did “the same thing” or try to draw a parallel by claiming the DNC at a private DNC event restricted the attendees.

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Hey, don’t you know SS stands for secret service?

Do we know who paid for the town hall meeting? If the meeting was paid for from public taxpayer funds, the idea that citizens who may hold an opposing view cannot even listen to the President’s speech is very troubling to me. Even if it was a GOP paid event, Mr. Bush is not the President of the GOP, he is the President of the US and taxpayers likely paid for the President