No, we’re not talking about TSA agents, who are still working during the “shutdown.”
We mean the mounted police who were assigned to stop World War II veterans from going to the WWII Memorial earlier today:
Mounted Police now protecting the World War 2 Memorial from World War 2 veterans. Sanity restored. pic.twitter.com/EzBpV3HhEm
— BuzzFeedBenny (@bennyjohnson) October 1, 2013
This actually happened.
Somehow, even though the Memorial is normally open 24/7, the federal government’s shutdown contingency includes paying people to barricade The Greatest Generation’s memorial:
“The public may visit the World War II Memorial 24 hours a day.” Staffed from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm. http://t.co/9NSCphRYD4
— Morgen (@morgenr) October 2, 2013
Next, the White House doubled down, directly rejecting a request to open the Memorial from a Congressman:
“We got the heads up that they will be barricaded and specifically asked for an exception for these heroes,” Palazzo told TheDC. “We were denied and told, ‘It’s a government shutdown, what do you expect?’ when we contacted the liaison for the White House.”
Palazzo’s office was in touch with the heads of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Capitol Police. He says all these officials rejected his request to allow the veterans, many of whom are octogenarians and some of whom are in poor health, to attend.
Fortunately, this is getting tons of national press, and Members of Congress – including Rep. Palazzo, Rep. Bachmann (R-MN), and Senator Paul (R-KY) – are getting involved, including many interfering with guards to get the veterans in:
“If Harry Reid and the President want to keep the parks closed— I mean did you read the story today? Some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades, so they couldn’t see the monument. People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument because they’re trying to play a charade,” Rand (R-Ky.) said Tuesday on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
Jake Tapper and Erin McPike of CNN reported the reasons for the barricades are health and…maintenance fears:
“Park Service did not want to barricade these, but unfortunately we have been directed, because of the lack of appropriations, to close all facilities and grounds,” said National Mall and Memorial parks spokeswoman Carol Johnson.
“I know that this is an open-air memorial, but we have people on staff who are CPR trained, (and) we want to make sure that we have maintenance crew to take care of any problems. What we’re trying to do is protect this resource for future generations,” said Johnson.
Flexing political muscle by bullying elderly veterans is beyond the pale. It was feared that the “shutdown” would be toxic to House Republicans. Instead, Obama is pushing a scorched earth campaign, designed solely to torment Americans into accepting runaway spending and unconstitutional authority.
It’s not having the intended effect. Soon after the story gained national attention, the President agreed to meet with Congressional leaders. What are the odds images of grandparents being forcefully barred from their own memorial played a huge role? Ed Morrissey has no doubts at all:
Old and busted: Obama refuses to negotiate with bomb-strapping, gun-pointing legislators.
New hotness: Time to talk about budgets…
Now it’s up to House Republicans to hold the line on shrinking government. Government bullies aren’t going to control themselves, you know.
(H/T) to Morrissey and Allahpundit at HotAir.com for their excellent analyses.