Taxpayers should not pay for campaign rallies

When George Bush travels to read to kids or to lay a wreath, he always pops in to a party fundraiser afterwards. It’s as if he’s doing a fundraiser because he happens to be in town. In truth, the ceremonial appearance is an excuse to bill the taxpayers for Bush’s round trip on Air Force One, which would otherwise be billed to his campaign.

This kind of thinking is in play locally, where the richest campaign organization in the history of the world is passing its expenses onto local governments who can least afford them. Mayor Medinger must be applauded for standing up on behalf of local taxpayers in the face of shameless Republican operatives on the Common Council and mean-spirited ranters on the letters page.

These people keep talking about a “presidential visit.” It was not a presidential visit, it was a campaign rally. Otherwise, people of all political stripes would have been welcome, not just the party faithful. (Incidentally, if this were a “presidential visit,” security expenses should come from the Secret Service’s budget, not the city’s.) The “political rules of engagement” are very different for a campaign rally, and those rules were flagrantly violated.

For instance, it is illegal for active duty military personnel to appear in uniform at partisan campaign events. Somebody had to know this, otherwise there would have been no need to print hundreds of t-shirts saying “I am a soldier,” when actual uniforms would have conveyed that message much more effectively. Nonetheless, a uniformed colonel sat on stage with Bush in arrogant contempt of the law.

This is typical behavior for this imperial regime, which sees itself as above the law and prefers to steal from the poor to pay for the lavish parties it could easily afford on its own.

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