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Monday, September 29, 2003

Out Of Sight

I picked up this story from my fellow blog friend J.T.

On its face, the Secret Service excluding demonstrators from anywhere the President could see or hear them – regardless of viewpoint - would be a reasonable time/place/manner restriction. However, reports indicate that Secret Service personnel are allowing pro-Bush demonstrators to be much closer to the President than demonstrators critical of Bush or his administration.

While I suppose it’s human nature to want to be closer to people who are cheering you than those who are jeering you, this is not the direction in which our government should be going. Not only does this practice strike me as a content-based (and even worse, viewpoint-based) curb on speech - and therefore a violation of the First Amendment – it strikes me as dumb policy.

Anyone remember the movie “In The Line Of Fire?” The would-be assassin, played by John Malkovich, planned to hit the President at a fund-raiser, posing as a major campaign donor. Think about it – if you intended to harm the President, wouldn’t it be better to disguise yourself as a supporter, even if the Secret Service didn’t have this sort of policy?

Not to mention that this is yet another thing that bugs me about this administration. I read this interview he gave to Fox News, in which he says he doesn’t follow the news much, and relies on his handlers to feed him all he needs to know.

The pattern here seems to suggest that this president lives in a bubble. Now, all presidents live somewhat apart from the general public out of necessity, but it seems that this president has taken that a step further. President Bush never hears a bad word about his administration from anyone, which was certainly not the case with President Clinton.

It can perhaps be said that Clinton paid too much attention to trying to please people that were never going to like him in the first place. It's not an entirely bad instinct, but it often does not serve politicians - or anyone else - well. In trying to please everyone, you will always displease someone.

Still, I don't think the other extreme - what we seem to be seeing with this administration - is very healthy either.


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