A P E I R O N
Mike's little corner of the opinion universe.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Friday, April 01, 2005
I Write Letters
I noted in my previous post my failed attempt to get into Bush's Colorado Town Hallesque Meeting. Since my original post the big news has centered on the ejection of the "Denver Three." If you've been following the story you know that they were ejected not because of the riot they incited or the salad dressing they threw at The Bubble Boy, but because of a bumper sticker on the car in which they arrived at the event.
Talking Points Memo today picks up on the comments of Rep. Bob Beauprez (CO-07). I was moved to write Josh Marshall the following missive.
I just finished a good and hearty laugh after reading your post about Bob Beauprez. I'm laughing not at your analysis (which I hope pans out) but at the effrontery and mock exasperation of Rep. Beauprez. Far from seeing "the light of day," as you put it, Beauprez's statement demonstrates an unsurprising lack of candor.
I'm a Colorado resident and I'd like to share a little information with you.
Beauprez's curious phrasing -- "as I understand it" and "my understanding" -- makes me wonder. I would expect his understanding to be quite clear given the fact that his office was responsible for arranging the attendance for the event. Please see the attached e-mail, signed by Bob Beauprez, directing people to call his office to obtain tickets.
Incidentally, people who called Rep. Beauprez's office experienced another curiosity.
I called Beauprez's office and stated my desire to obtain tickets to see the president. The staffer replied "We're out of tickets." (Given that the venue is a 44,000 square foot aircraft hangar and that the e-mail invite to which I was responding had been sent out less than 24 hours earlier, I was a bit dubious that they had so quickly disbursed sufficent tickets to fill an aircraft hangar.) After a pause, Beauprez's staffer asked, "How did you find out about the event?" Armed with my trusty e-mail (forwarded to me by fellow non-Republicans) I said I had received an e-mail. To which the staffer perkily responded, "Well, let me see if your name is on a list..." Ahhh, "a list." I knew my name wouldn't be on her list (at least not the list that would grant me access to see the Bamboozler-In-Chief. A few seconds later she confirmed it with something like, "Sorry, we really are out of tickets." (Strangely, another person who called Beauprez's office a few hours later was treated to the same charade of "we're out of tickets but if you tell me who you are maybe we're really not out of tickets.")
It's worth noting, I think, that despite the venue's immense capacity (venue website claims up to 1,800 can be accomodated for a sit down dinner -- one presumes that without dinner tables even more people could be accomodated) media reports variously describe the attendance only as "several hundred" up to "roughly 1,000 people." The idea that they were out of tickets in a venue only at 10 to 50 percent of capacity is laughable. They were out of tickets only if you were not sufficiently vetted.
Beauprez's comment really strains credulity. So, if I may, I'd like to interpret the fine representative's comments. I've added his unstated text in [bold]:"[If my staff had been doing their job properly] This kind of stuff should never really happen. At least as I understand it, these folks showed up[. After fooling my office staff I guess I've got to admit] – they’ve got every right to be there. There was a pro-Bush leaning crowd but by no means at all, my understanding, a 100% pro-Bush crowd [because, apparently, my staff screwed up]. And unless they did something wrong there’s no reason why the should be yanked out of there and escorted through the door. [The bottom line is that if my staff can't stop these average Americans before they get in the door, the president is going to have to risk coming in contact with normal people. When we start yanking people out of the audience, we run the risk of an investigation into how the tickets were distributed in the first place...]
I realize you're trying to run a respectable web site. But please don't ruin your credibility by trying to find something positive in the weasely words of a congressman who owes his two victories to the largesse of the political arm of the Bush White House
P.S. Great blog. Keep up the good work.
Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 10:42 AM
Subject: Invitation to Join President George W. Bush
I believe protecting Social Security for future generations must be among our highest priorities as a compassionate society. Millions of hard working Americans have come to rely upon this program for their retirement security and we have an obligation to make sure the benefits they have earned are protected. And we have a similar obligation to make sure these benefits are also available to our children and grandchildren when they retire.
President Bush shares these values and has made the protection of Social Security among his highest domestic priorities. I applaud the President for his leadership on this issue. While Social Security is solvent now, and will continue to be in the near future, it faces major challenges that must be addressed. The President understands this and has been a courageous leader in the effort to educate the American public about the problem, as well as the various options we have to address the problem.
It is my pleasure to invite you to a very special town hall meeting with the President of the United States to discuss this issue. On Monday, March 21st, at 4:00 p.m., President Bush will conduct a Colorado Town Hall Meeting on Protecting Social Security. This special meeting will take place at Wings Over the Rockies at the former Lowry Air Force Base.
Tickets are required and can be acquired through my office. If you are interested, please call my Wheat Ridge office at 303-940-5821, or drop by on Friday, March 18, or Saturday March 19, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. We are located at 4251 Kipling in Wheat Ridge. Tickets will be distributed in suite 370.
I hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity to engage in a conversation with the President on this very important issue. I look forward to seeing you next Monday at Wings over the Rockies.
P.S. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. For tickets or more information, please call my district office at (303) 940-5821.