Editorial: No right during Bush's Tucson trip

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, March 25, 2005

Bush speech disappointing on multiple fronts

On Monday President George W. Bush came to the Tucson Convention Center and spoke to an audience of 1,500 at a so-called "town hall." He discussed the need to address the problems facing Social Security and pushed personal accounts as one possible solution. However, several aspects of the meeting warrant criticism.

Bush misleading in intentions for town hall presentation

Calling Monday's visit a "town hall" is a stretch by any definition of the word. A town hall is a forum for public officials to gather opinion from citizens. Monday's visit was an invitation-only event for 1,500 almost entirely Bush supporters. One student who wore a democratic T-shirt was denied entry. Clearly getting the opinions of a broad swath of the political spectrum was not a priority.

Moreover, why was Tucson chosen instead of Phoenix? Tucson is known as a haven for Democrats within a conservative state, so coming to Tucson in the first place supposedly shows that Bush is talking to some left-wingers. Not the case. What's wrong is that in the 20-second sound bite news story culture of the televised press, Bush actually sounds like he's getting input from people.

We think he's just preaching to the choir.

Wrong demographic in audience

Social Security will affect no demographic more than today's young people. While benefits are secure for retirees for a few decades, today's college students will start retiring when Social Security solvency threatens to eliminate benefits.

That's why it's so disheartening that the audience seemed to consist mostly of senior citizens whom President Bush went at length to assure would receive their full benefits. The people who he should be speaking to are the people whose benefits are most at risk.

The discussion "panel," which was pre-selected by Bush staffers, included Sen. John McCain, three senior citizens and one working mom. Where was at least one UA student?

Protesters accomplish nothing

While Bush wasn't exactly inciting legitimate debate, protesters outside TCC were worse. Not even pretending to have anything to add to the Social Security debate, most signs said little more than "Fuck Bush." Police even arrested a 13-year-old girl for throwing an egg (don't for a minute pretend her parents didn't have a lot to do with that).

And when attendees crossed paths with protesters after the discussion, the scene resembled second grade recess, with mostly just profanities and raised middle fingers.

We say give both sides the shocker.

Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Evan Caravelli, Brett Fera, Caitlin Hall, Ryan Johnson and Jesse Lewis.