-- George Bush Sr., cited in the June, 1992 Sarah McClendon Newsletter
"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." -Eric Hoffer
When I went to New York City this past summer to cover the GOP convention, I remember being awed by the degree of security surrounding Madison Square Garden. There were fences to control the fences, fifty cops on every corner, none of whom knew what the others were telling people to do, a half-dozen passes of needed to get twenty feet in any direction, and that was before you even got inside the door.
I saw the same thing when I went to DC to cover the Inauguration. The capitol was an armed camp, a sea of Bush supporters surrounded by tens of thousands of protesters. At one point, I stopped for 30 seconds next to a squad car to check my cell phone, and was immediately confronted by three cops asking me what I was doing. Amusingly, the security fences and cops decided not to give those protesters One Big Spot to congregate, and instead spread them out like butter across the entire route. The effect was to make the protests seem much larger than they were - and they were big - while forcing the Bush folk to elbow past them every six feet for the entire length of Pennsylvania Avenue.
All those fences. All those guns. All those cops. At first, it seemed like an arguably necessary precaution; these were, after all, the two cities to take the hit on 9/11. But the longer I stayed, the longer I looked around, and the closer I observed the behavior of Bush and his people, I came to a sad conclusion: This security was not about keeping us all safe from terrorists, but was about keeping Bush safe from his own people. The President of the United States is flatly terrified of the citizens he would supposedly lead to some supply-side promised land. He is scared to death of us.
Some positive proof of this came down the wires on Tuesday, when areport surfaced about three people who were removed from a supposedly 'public' town hall meeting with Bush. According to the report, the Secret Service hustled them out because their car had a "No Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on it. The three said they had obtained tickets to the event through the office of Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO), had passed through security and were preparing to take their seats when they were approached by a Secret Service agent who asked them to leave.
Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for Americans United, described the incident accurately: "They're screening the people who are allowed to come and then they're profiling them in the parking lot," he said. "It's quite extraordinary, and disappointing."
'Disappointing' is a mild word. 'Disgusting' would be a better one. George W. Bush is petrified of his own people, and his security goes to extraordinary and wildly expensive pains to make sure that only a hand-picked few, the elect, can get near him to shower him with love and affection.
Where is all this heading? This isolation of the President from the world, from his own people, from any information that does not jibe with his pre-formed opinions? Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower from the Nixon scandals, has some thoughts on the matter he shared in an interview with CommonDreams.org:
I think our democracy is going to be tested to the breaking point by some very dark days ahead and before long. I do expect there to be another major terrorist event. Ports, the nuclear power plants and the chemical factories are extremely vulnerable to an attack. To a considerable event, the war against terrorism has been a hoax because the president has not only spent so much money on the war in Iraq, but because the war in Iraq virtually subverts the war on terror. You cannot reduce the appeal and the strength of Al Qaeda while we occupy Iraq. You can only strengthen it, and strengthening it is what we've been doing steadily for the last couple of years. This is the worst public policy decision making, most antidemocratic and most inclined to be authoritarian, I would say, since the Nixon administration, but Nixon was confronting a Democratic House and Senate and a relatively liberal population in media 40 years ago. John Mitchell and John Connolly and Nixon himself had quite authoritarian instincts, but they weren't allowed to act on them, and to the extent that they did act on them -- it brought them down.
George W. Bush - Terrorist in the White House