It appears that the Obama administration is violating the First Rule of Holes. Yesterday the administration looked awful when it “closed” and barricaded the World War II memorial on the Mall. The memorial is, by its nature, open. There is nothing to close. And the administration knows that every day, tour groups consisting of WWII vets, now mostly in their late 80s or early 90s, come to Washington to visit the memorial. So the administration couldn’t resist closing the WWII memorial by putting up barricades, as part of their effort to dramatize how terrible the government “shutdown” is.
Yesterday, as we noted here, the administration suffered a public relations disaster when a group of elderly vets from Mississippi, aided by one or more Republican Congressmen, pushed the barriers aside and visited the memorial. But the administration was still undeterred: a park service employee threatened to arrest any vets who may try to visit the WWII memorial in the future, while the shutdown is in effect.
The best thing the Obama administration could do is quietly remove the barricades around the memorial and forget the whole thing. But no: it happened again today. Fortunately, PJ Media was on hand to record the action:
The same scene was reenacted again today as two Honor Flights from Missouri and Chicago arrived in prearranged visits. These Honor Flights were met by hundreds of ordinary citizens and about a dozen members of Congress, who once again crashed the barricades to let the veterans into the WW2 Memorial.
After about an hour, about 20 SEIU protesters arrived on the scene chanting “Boehner, get us back to work” and claiming they were federal employees furloughed because of the shutdown.
WWII veterans visiting the memorial that was erected in their honor vs. paid SEIU protesters: great optics for the Obama administration! But it gets worse. The protesters claimed to be furloughed federal employees:
In the video below these protesters were marching towards the press gaggle and I was asking them to show their federal IDs to prove they were in fact federal workers. No one wore their federal ID and none would provide it to prove their claim.
Then, remarkably, a guy carrying a sign passed by wearing a McDonald’s employee shirt, which I noted. I then began asking them how much they had been paid to protest, at which point the guy wearing the McDonald’s shirt came back and admitted he had been paid $15 to attend the protest.
Here is the video. As you watch it, try to imagine what public relations genius in the Obama administration thought that this would play well for the president and Harry Reid:
You can’t make this stuff up: World War II veterans come to Washington to see their monument, and the Obama administration tries to block them by putting up barricades. When that blunder starts getting media attention, the administration doubles down by paying union members $15 to march around, waving signs and protesting–as though that were a sure-fire way to generate sympathy for the nonessential federal employees who are getting the day off. Is it possible that the Democrats could be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
And does that perhaps have something to do with Obama’s backing down on his vow not to talk with Congressional Republicans? Obama has now invited Congressional leaders to the White House for talks on ending the spending impasse.