Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Right Kind of People

The President's practice of going exclusively to friendly audiences is certainly not new, as BarbinMD at DailyKos reveals, a similar gathering went on today in Nashville. The President was barraged with tough questions such as these:

Q Sir, thank you very much for your service to our country so far, we appreciate that very much.

Q Mr. President, I appreciate your position on the war in Iraq. We've got a debate that's going on as much about should we stay or should we come home. Is there a way to change the tenor of the debate to determine how we win in Iraq?

Q I personally admire the way you've conducted the government and I admire your backbone, where you just stand and take a position. (Applause.) I'm not happy about the influx from Mexico...Now then, thirdly, when they do these polls to determine how you're rated, how come, if they have 1,000 people, they call 750 Democrats and only 25 Republicans? (Laughter and applause.)

Q And I want to thank you for the appointments or the nominations for our Supreme Court. That will be a wonderful legacy for you. (Applause.)

Q Semper Fi. First of all, Mr. President, I want to thank you, personally, for your support for our veterans. My son was lost in Iraq, and I want to thank you very much for your strength.

THE PRESIDENT: Thanks. Thanks for sharing that.

Q I also wish that there was some way that, as the press make so much to-do about what goes on in areas around pretty much the 50-mile area around Baghdad, which is pretty much where everything is going on, if there was some way to offset that with all of the great things that are going on.

So, the White House was able to find the last half-dozen people remaining in this country who still think the President is the most bestest President ever. Yet apart from just how damn creepy this all is, shouldn't there be some serious press scrutiny over this practice?

For one, isn't it a bit disconcerting that only those who think the President is awesome get to ask him questions? Those that really dislike the President also pay taxes, why shouldn't they have an opportunity to speak their minds? Couldn't someone in the press corps ask this question of either the President or Tony Snow? When you think about what it means for this country, that a President views himself as only the leader of those that support him- it's an absolute outrage. If the press was really interested in asking the tough questions, they could certainly ask about this.
Secondly, what does it say about a man who cannot face ALL of the people? Why must he be protected from any possible criticism?

If we lived in a world where the press was focused on keeping the powerful in check and not on trivial news stories, we might be able to find this all out. Yet, I cannot recall a single news story which asked if this practice was fair. The Daily Show did a bit on how maddening these Potemkin Town Halls are, but outside of this the press has been happy to let the President and his crazed supporters play pretend.

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