Friday, August 19, 2005

Sympathy For the (Red State) Devils

You don't see much of this in the Old Gray Lady:

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- Things used to be pretty quiet around here -- downright uneventful -- until the new folks moved in about five years ago on a ranch just northwest of town off Prairie Chapel Road.

Then came the dozens of protesters who started camping out near President Bush's ranch this month, led by a California mother who lost her son in the war and insists on speaking to the president. Their reception has been anything but warm.

"I'm a Democrat and proud of it," Keith Lynch, 67, said while taking a break from trimming the brush around the flag pole in front of his 600-acre ranch near the Bush spread. "But you've got to respect your country, you've got to respect your flag, and you've got to respect your president."

My God, a Democrat respecting President Bush? What would the MoveOn.Org crowd say about that?

Lynch and others around the town of 745 people believe that respect hasn't been given amid the protests in Crawford, about 95 miles south of Dallas.

"Like the circus, it needs to pack up and go," said Kim Williams, a 41-year-old mother of two.

Cindy Sheehan did leave Thursday, but for reasons unrelated to the protest. She returned to California to be with her mother, who suffered a stroke, but dozens of her supporters stayed behind in their tent city while Bush continued a monthlong vacation at home.

"They have every right to speak their mind and say their piece, but they've just kind of taken over," Williams said. "I just wish they'd go home. It gets old."

The NY Times should get some credit for printing the article - up until now, coverage of the townspeople of Crawford in the Cindy Sheehan media circus has been restricted to the yahoo who ran over the mock graves at Camp Casey. The article does - for the AP - a surprisingly fair job of depicting ordinary rural folks trying to go through their daily routines despite the intrusion of outsiders. Far from being insular bigots, the Crawford residents recognize the protesters' free speech rights, but would rather get on with their lives.

But it is doubtful that the Times really wants credit for the article. The timing of its release - after 5 PM on a Friday afternoon in summer - is the closest thing to the cover of darkness as you can get in the news industry. The story will run on Saturday buried on page A9 or whatever, and will be forgotten on Monday. Oh, well. One and a half cheers again for a half-assed job by the Times.

(H/T - Alexander K. McClure of PoliPundit)

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