I'm sure you've heard about (and likely seen) those protesters singing their $5000-a-head song to Obama, but unless you're a San Francisco local you may not have heard this:
The White House threatened Thursday to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle Editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.
(I didn't realize the Chronicle was responsible for getting that video out, and the notion that they deserve some level of praise for their reporting is novel and slightly disturbing.)
Man, you can just imagine the chorus of condemnation we're going to hear from outraged liberals over this blatant attempt at censorship, can't you? Oh...wait, I think I flashed back to the Bush presidency for a moment there. Sometimes I forget that things are completely different now that an articulate and intelligent Democrat is attacking basic freedoms.
IN DEFENSE OF THOSE $5000-A-HEAD PROTESTERS: Many people have shaken their heads in understandable dismay at the fact that these people paid $5000 for the privilege of telling Obama that they'd vote for him no matter what he's done to Bradley Manning (or anyone else). But here's some relevant background that makes the situation a little clearer:
Naomi Pitcairn, the ringleader of the East Bay serenaders who disrupted President Obama's breakfast fundraiser to protest the treatment of accused WikiLeaks source Pfc. Bradley Manning, says she's actually a big supporter of the president.
In fact, records show she gave $28,500 to Obama's Victory Fund in 2008.
"He's the best shot we have," said Pitcairn, a fourth-generation heir to the Pittsburgh Plate Glass fortune. [...] The cost of the group's tickets was over $76,000, which Pitcairn said she fully intends to pay.
(Which may or may not mean that Pitcairn was fronting the money for everyone, but it seems clear she could afford it.)
So these aren't people who baked 500 pies and sold them for $10 each to scrape together the cash to attend this event; these are rich Obama donors—or at least one rich Obama donor—who'd already given him bushels of money in the past and were planning to do so again. And to their credit, they decided to use that access to confront Obama over his sorry record in general and Bradley Manning in particular (Pitcairn was the one wearing the Manning t-shirt, even though her main issue at the event was apparently legalization of marijuana), rather than just sitting there in the "extra special rich people room" (Pitcairn's phrase) quietly eating their lobster and listening in rapt attention as Obama explained what a wonderful leader he's been.
So as much as I cringed at the "we’ll vote for you in 2012" line, I give them a lot of credit for having the guts to confront Obama in a public forum—and I'm glad they were able to bring so much attention not just to Manning's case but to the breathtaking pettiness of President Narcissus (whether or not that was their intent). If more rich Obama supporters decide to do the same thing, more power to them.