Apparently while I was away Gov. Palin came to town, again, and held a ticket only rally on the Penn State campus.
This is all well and good, many of the candidates have come to campus and held rallies both during the primaries and the presidential campaign. The campus has suitable facilities, experience and available security arrangements, and providing a forum is a public service within the university's mission.
(In fact the lesser munchkin paused the other day, on a beautiful sunny afternoon walking across campus by the Old Main lawn, and said "Where's the Obama Show? This is where the Obama show was!")
Usually, as a courtesy, and to do some contingent social networking, the President of the University, Graham Spanier, will either introduce or greet such speakers, unless physically unavailable.
The University President will not endorse any candidate, to do so would be inappropriate, possibly counterproductive, and just foolish, but meeting with candidates and offering a introduction or pre-introductory greeting is routine.
Except this time, President Spanier was asked not to attend the event, according to the Collegian, the PSU student newspaper.
I infer that the reason it came up that this happened, is that a democrat visited later in the week, and the PSU President was seen with them, so presumably the university wants to head off any accusations of partisanship or implicit endorsement by them, even unofficially.
Apparently the reason Spanier was asked to not attend is because the campaign discovered he is in fact registered as a democrat...
Various implausible deniability assertions are being made by public spokescritters on both sides, but the bottom line seems clear.
I can not put into words how f#@king stupid this is.
I thought the McCain-Palin campaign in part ran on its ability to reach out and work with non-republicans, part of the whole maverick theme, right? Right?
Things like this are why I could never become a University President.
My personal reactions was that if I had been President I'd have noted: "This is My House! Who are you telling to not come?"
Not that it is his house, of course, but you gotta figure a certain amount of proprietary feeling will develop after a few years in office.
The woman in particular and the GOP campaign in general have been exceedingly rude since the convention. No reason to change stripes this late in the game.
I think it's minorly weird, but not all that flagrant.
However, the fact that McCain comes to town and decides to have a "ticket only" event is interesting. I'm glad PSU charges him (and others) a fee for such activities, which are not as welcoming to students as those that are free and open to the public.
Not inviting the president of the university where you happen to be speaking? Weird and slightly rude.
Not having open events when you are trying to get votes? Completely demented.
Perhaps Palin was concerned that Spanier would threaten her first amendment rights by daring to disagree with her.
Man, MT ate my very own comment.
The whole situation was a bit weirder than that, because it sounds like Spanier pro-actively offered to be there for the introduction and was actively told to stay away - not that he was merely not actively invited while waiting passively to be invited.
I thought maybe there trying for the Ohio, or Michigan vote, but not much point now really is there. Maybe they have some angle on Florida or Texas or even Alabama that I am not seeing...
Actually, what is really weird about the Palin event is who was NOT there to introduce her, even though she invoked His Name several times.
She did have Junior, but not Hank...
It makes sense when you keep in mind that their "maverickieness" is BS. They are part of the rethug machine but cant say that because they have driven this country into a ditch but want to stay on as the driver.
The tickets were easy enough to come by that it wasn't really a closed event.