In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
So, are you fixin' to visit the president when he speaks in Warren today? Well unless you have a note from your mommy, stop fixin'. A funny thing happened on the way to the White House. President Barack Obama caught the same disease that other presidents have had i.e. let's keep unsavory citizens critical of our policies from infiltrating our public events. Recall that candidate Obama routinely gave speeches and staged town hall meetings by opening the doors to whomever wanted to attend. Frankly it was a refreshing break from the way President George Bush did it and the Obama folks were fond of pointing out the difference between the two. Three cheers for transparency. So when it was announced last week th at the new president was coming to Macomb County for a town hall meeting, it was assumed it would be 'first come, first served." If you have an invite, you can come in. If you don't you can watch it on the tube. Actually this shift in strategy has been bubbling in the White House since earlier this month when veteran correspondents Helen Thomas and NBC's Chip Reid got into it with Press Secretary Gibbs. The essence of the exchange was, if you guys are so transparent why are you controlling audiences who ask the questions? Gibbs put on his tap shoes and danced around the sticky wicket. Now the Obama handlers have nixed the townhall format and are calling it a speech. If you are for openness in government, why is it invite only? You can hear the "security" argument and while that is a factor, you can install metal detectors to address that. Unfortunately President Obama has not invented a machine to detect those who would shout him down during his remarks.