Popularity through intimidation

Covering Bush's commencement address at Ohio State Univeristy, The Washington Post tells us:

The commencement addresses of George W. Bush serve as guideposts to a presidency first troubled, then revived.

A year ago, he received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Yale University, where he was booed, heckled and greeted with a sea of protest signs. Scores of professors boycotted the ceremony because they thought Bush undeserving, an image Bush himself indulged. "To the C students, I say, 'You, too, can be president of the United States,' " he said then.

Today, at Ohio State University, Bush basked in the adulation of 55,000 people who treated him to waves of standing ovations in Ohio Stadium as he received an honorary doctorate. University officials bestowing the ceremonial hood on the president hailed him as "the most sought-after commencement speaker in the nation" and praised his "common-sense approach," his "unwavering faith in the nation" and his overall leadership since Sept. 11, which "comforted and inspired us all."

According to FAIR, protesters were threatened with arrest for so much as turning their backs on the President during his speech:

According to the Columbus Dispatch (6/15/02), students were warned ahead of time they faced arrest if they showed any signs of dissent: "Graduates had been warned during rehearsal on Thursday that they faced arrest if-- as was rumored-- some stood up and turned their backs on Bush during his speech." The warning continued on the day of the event as well, according to the Associated Press (6/14/02): "Immediately before class members filed into the giant football stadium, an announcer instructed the crowd that all the university's speakers deserve to be treated with respect and that anyone demonstrating or heckling would be subject to expulsion and arrest. The announcer urged that Bush be greeted with a 'thunderous' ovation."

What a beautiful lesson in patriotism. The students from OSU have a web site covering the event, and the followup, including statements by protesters at www.turnyourbackonbush.com.


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Published on June 18, 2002 1:08 PM.

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