A letter from Koch told them they could not have the event without a speaker to "give a presentation on the features and merits of President Bush's proposed changes to Social Security," saying the law bars the use of federal facilities for partisan events, and that the program for the event would not be balanced. Cynthia Koch said Friday the event cannot be held at the library unless it is more balanced.
Where was the balance at the 65th anniversary for social security? Does Koch's statement mean that this page will not be permitted without a screened Bush hearing? As Hubert G. Locke has pointed out:
The presidential hops George W. Bush is taking around the country to peddle his case for dismantling Social Security are not conversations with local citizens -- as they are billed -- but carefully arranged events before prescreened audiences who hear presentations from panelists who've been, by the recent admission of one of them, repeatedly rehearsed on what to say.
If any administration decides to change a policy does that mean that talking about the policy without the administration's POV is no longer permitted? Conversely does this mean that NOT providing the opposite view when the administration speaks is forbidden? Should all military bases where Bush promoted his war have had room for the opposite viewpoint? I think yes, but it didn't happen and where was Koch then? When I protested the Iraq war we were not allowed inside MacDill AFB (CENTCOM).
LibrarianActivist has more details.
Finally, Koch's decision is part of a larger effort by the current administration to destroy the commons and the public sphere. I have explored this in greater length in a print article that details some of the actions taken by the President's little brother, Jeb, to suppress discourse in Florida.
"Suppressing the Commons: Misconstrued Patriotism vs. A Psychology of Liberation." Reference and User Services Quarterly 43 (Fall 2003).
---Protection of the commons function of public libraries and public museums requires recognition of subtle threats as well as the obvious. The full scope of the public sphere must be comprehended.