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Sunday, September 13, 2009

AP would never report something like this

It takes an anonymous blogger on a European magazine's website to get information about our own country like this. [Courtesy of Kevin Drum] The bottom line is that in a Bush rally, besides being carefully-selected to include only ardent supporters, a handful of Young Republicans made all the audience signs for TV exposure according to a plan to simulate spontaneous affection. Signs actually made by crowd members (contrary to instructions) were confiscated. I suppose there's a degree of bipartisan insight here, but somehow I doubt Democrats could ever match the organization of a Republican political operation:

The Bavarian event [an Angela Merkel rally] was genuine, in a way that stage-managed American politics cannot match. There is a lot that is creepy about an American campaign event. Arriving early at Bush rallies, I would watch aggressive and chilly young Republican aides in smart suits kneeling on gymnasium floors with fistfuls of different felt tip marker pens, and large rectangles of white card. Frowning with concentration, they would then write things like “South Dakota Loves W” in deliberately babyish writing, or pick out the words “Hello Mr President” in red, white and blue lettering. The styles and slogans would be carefully varied, and the end results were impressive: a stack of signs that looked as though supporters of all ages had lovingly written them out on homely kitchen tables. Then, when the crowd arrived (all of them invited and vetted as bona fide Bush supporters) any of them who had forgotten instructions not to bring signs of their own would have them politely confiscated. Then they would be handed one of the ersatz home-made signs by one of the chilly, bossy young munchkins from campaign HQ. On television, it all looked very sweet.


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