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So, I couldn't help but turn on the TV yesterday to see Laura Bush's campaign rally for the three struggling Republicans seeking re-election up here in western NY - Randy Kuhl (NY-29), Tom Reynolds (NY-26), and...

Oh yeah, Jim Walsh (NY-25) couldn't even be bothered to show up for the event. Neither could many Republicans, judging by the crowd shots on TV. It looked like maybe 200-250 people there. Not very impressive for an event that was supposedly open to the public, involving the wife of our own Dear Leader, was it?

OK, it was a rainy, cold, damp, miserable day, and maybe that knocked down the turnout a bit. But what was really chilling was Mrs. Dear Leader's not-so-veiled attack on free speech...after the fold:

Everyone's Favorite Librarian started out her speech relatively inoffensively, talking about the pork that Kuhl and Reynolds brought back to their districts. Then she moved into Iraq and Afghanistan, talking about how "George and I" have been visiting with returning veterans and how the message they wanted to send the country was "stay the course" - no, wait, can't say that anymore - it was "we're winning," or something like that. Polite, muted applause. (Nothing like the roars that greeted Reynolds' sweat-dripping-from-the-bulging-veins-on-his-forehead McCarthy-esque rant about how Jack Davis was going to turn away federal dollars from the district, eliminate Social Security, and probably kill puppies for fun. Or something like that.)

And then, the Belle of Midland dropped this little comment, talking about politicians who criticize the way the war's been handled:

We must be mindful that people around the world are listening to these discussions. Responsible candidates understand that the men and women of our military are risking their lives for us overseas, and that we must conduct our debate here at home in a way that does not jeopardize our troops in harm's way.

That little bit of red meat got the crowd roaring. Mustn't criticize Dear Leader, after all. And who needs Ari Fleischer to stifle dissent when you have the Velvet Fist of Texas to do it?

It will be so, so very nice to see Kuhl get whupped, but good, by Fightin' Dem Eric Massa (with the support of General Batiste, Wes Clark, Joe Wilson, and other brave critics of the administration) in a week's time. And it will be even better to see Reynolds get whacked by Jack Davis. On to victory!

Originally posted to ipsos on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 03:12 PM PST.

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