There have been various stories over recent months of people being ejected from Bush rallies for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts and stuff of that sort, with the rationale often being a rather improbable concern for security.
But this Dick Cheney speech in New Mexico seems to be the first instance where would-be attendees were compelled to pledge personal fealty to President Bush in order to get in the front door.
According to this Associated Press story, certain members of the public were required to sign a pledge to endorse President Bush in order to get tickets.
Dan Foley, a Bush campaign spokesman interviewed for the article, tried to argue that the tactic was "a security step designed to avoid a disruption" and said that at least some of the people required to sign the pledge had called from a phone which showed up on caller-ID as ACT (Americans Coming Together), a liberal voter mobilization group.
This article in the Albuquerque Journal, however, says the policy was much more general.
The plan was to limit the tickets "to people with a record of supporting the GOPâ or to others willing to sign a statement saying they support President Bush's re-election."
Continues the Journal article ...
Yier Shi, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., said today's rally was meant to reward and enthuse Bush-Cheney supporters, not to be a forum to preach to skeptics.
Democrats, independents and others were welcome to attend the speech, he saidâ as long as they like Bush and Cheney.
(See also this other article on the topic in the Albuquerque Journal.)
For all the ridiculousness of this loyalty oath mumbo-jumbo, I think Shi's rationale is a pretty apt description of the Bush-Cheney election strategy, and one of the clearest signs of their problems.