The police were right. Whether it was the Denver police, convention police, campaign thugs or Secret Service – I see no problem with them telling Carol Kreck, a 61-year old librarian, that her hand-made McCain = Bush sign must stay outside in order for her to enter the McCain town hall event.
Her First Amendment rights were not violated. She was fully permitted to display her sign – outside the venue. When we repeatedly ask for clarification, as Kreck did, the police seem to threaten arrest – which is better than tasering but not the issue at hand.
In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, campaigns have taken stronger control of their settings. Otherwise, you get endless loops of distractions. How many times have we seen the vet challenge McCain about his voting record from that same Denver town hall?
Obama took a hit when his campaign escorted 2 women in Muslim attire from the televised victory celebration in Detroit. They were offended (and rightly so). Obama apologized and he took a couple of hits in the media but that was nothing compared to what the Republican smear machine would have done with a picture of Obama speaking with 2 Muslims sitting behind him.
In May, I went to see Obama speak in Sunrise, Florida. We were told that no signs or umbrellas would be permitted. As I pulled up to the arena the heavens opened. I purposely left my umbrella in the car and got thoroughly soaked. We stood outside in the torrential rains while we waited to get through security. Anyone with an umbrella had their umbrellas taken from them. No one bitched or moaned because we knew the rules.
Signs were also not permitted as the campaign provided the signs they wanted displayed for the cameras. Consider it like a television studio. The campaigns have a specific message they want to convey. Even someone carrying an ‘I love John McCain’ sign into a McCain event would have had their sign confiscated.
Here’s the deal. Supporters and opponents can enter the event. Only t-shirts supporting the candidate will be permitted. No signs whatsoever are permitted. Protesters must stay outside.
I know the Ron Paul supporters set up shop at every event and hang outside. I saw them in Sunrise.
If Kreck and her sign had been permitted entry into the event and someone managed to capture McCain with this sign in the background, the media would have had a field day with that shot.
McCain has given us an ungodly amount of flubs, bad policy ideas, contradictions and so-called senior moments that we don’t have to jump on this issue. It’s time for this to fall out of the blogosphere and let’s get back to the issues that matter.