Grand Rapids, bastion of tolerance

I remember back in 1988 walking several miles uphill in the snow to attend a rally for Bush Sr on Monroe Mall. I was punked out with long unkempt hair, a motorcycle jacket, combat boots, torn jeans, and I was immediately handed a Bush sign to hold up. By accident, I held the sign upside down and an older buttoned-down gentlemen next to me said, "Better turn that right side up or you'll be confused for a Democrat." We shared a good laugh together, and I turned the sign right-side up. I was always confused by that "insider" camraderie, since outside of that rally I was pretty certain that same fellow would have demonized me.

Still, I was surprised to read McCain is pre-emptively ejecting the "student demographic" from his rallies. The Iowa State Daily reported:
Lara Elborno, a student at the University of Iowa, said she was approached by a police officer and a McCain staffer and was told she had to leave or she would be arrested for trespassing.

“It was a very confusing, very frustrating situation,” Elborno said. “I said that I had a right to be there, I wasn’t doing anything disruptive — I was sitting, waiting for the rally to start.” . . . Elborno said after seeing the people who were asked to leave, she was concerned that McCain’s staffers were profiling people on appearance to determine who might be a potential protester.

“When I started talking to them, it kind of became clear that they were kind of just telling people to leave that they thought maybe would be disruptive, but based on what? Based on how they looked,” Elborno said. “It was pretty much all young people, the college demographic.” . . . [One] girl was crying . . . and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’”. . . “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”
I suppose McCain rallies are rather sparse so a small group of protesters could do a job heckling, but it really shows the lack of confidence within the campaign. Even though they are receiving criticism for the homogeneity of their rallies, they want to keep the crowds homogenous not for appearances' sake but to avoid a disruption that would have long media legs. Sounds like a job for Billionaires for McCain.

I was watching Morning Joe Thursday morning and they ran a schtick where the young (left-leaning conservative?) Ken-looking guy went through his neighborhood on the "Upper West Side" [does everyone know where this is? because I don't think they ever specified] wearing a McCain/Palin t-shirt and trying to give another one away. After a long string of people who refused, ignored him, or said they had no friends who were supporting McCain, he finally found one alienated couple who said they were no longer getting invited to many dinner parties. The blond (right-leaning liberal?) anchor-chick was HORRIFIED. Like, what? Go to the heart of liberalism, OH MY GOSH, you find liberals. Go to the heart of conservatism, bet you find, SHOCK, conservatives. And you betcha can make a strong argument that only educated elites are open-minded enough to pal around with people who disagree on politics. It's been years now that politics joined religion as a topic not meant for polite conversation, so shut the fuck up. I volunteered for the Obama campaign that same morning and although I was in reliably liberal central Philly, I had one guy tell me I should be put in jail. Oh, my god, I just couldn't believe it. Please.

h/t kos

No comments: