Locals unable to attend the GOP’s One Big Hatefest and Happy Dance in New York City were given the opportunity to vent anger, annoyance, aggravation, and art (or in the case of Republicans — ardor) Wednesday, September 1 when George W. Bush made a special guest appearance at Nationwide Arena to dress rehearse his acceptance speech scheduled for the following evening at Madison Square Garden.

Bush was accompanied by his wife, Laura, and opening acts, Rep. Deborah Pryce, Sen. Mike DeWine and 2-time OSU All-American and former Brown’s linebacker, Chris Spielman. Spielman warmed up the crowd of over 20,000 with a lively testimony about his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, pitched school prayer and theocracy, and called Bush a “man of values” because he sticks up for the rights of “babies in this country that are aborted.”

Jack Nicklaus introduced the president who spent the next 45 minutes promoting empire, big government conservatism, and flogging his Plan Nine for Ohio (and presumably the rest of the country) promising not to rest as long as “anybody in your state who wants to work cannot find a job.” Bush suffering from an apparently premature senior moment referenced Canton specifically as a place in which he intends to stay sleepless. This is the same Canton where his friend Tim Timken intends to shut down three Timken Company bearings plants and shuffle off 1300 unions jobs to places unknown — a loss that’s expected to hack city income tax revenues between $500,000-$1,000,000.

While there was no Boston free speech cage or New York orange fishnet, 200 protestors were quarantined like frothing dogs across the street not only from the presidential entourage but from rank-and-file Republicans who stood in long, meandering sweaty lines waiting to get through metal detectors and security checks. Nobody on either side seemed to ask the fundamental question of why the president needs to be protected from his own people —including his friends. It’s unclear what would have happened if an innocuous anti-Bushie had crossed over to the other side to make small talk with her Republican uncle from Newark.

Bright yellow heavy equipment trucks blocked Nationwide Blvd. and other streets, and a bomb (or was it dope?) sniffing German Shepherd checked what some people said was the press corps bus. Bike cops, a mounted patrol, and foot patrols worked “crowd control” outside, and a couple undercover Varsity Lounge types lurked on the sidelines looking bored. Only one small altercation was reported outside, a shouting match between a protester and a Bushie. On Front Street, a woman flashed the president of the Christian Coalition of Ohio as he stood in line. Two or three sneaky Pete hecklers were removed inside the arena (names unavailable at the time of this writing), during Bush’s speech, but no arrests were made supposedly.

Anti-Bushies continue to spawn crude, rude, and unique street art. Far out-numbering union bug Kerry-Edwards signs (the best being “Insulators for Kerry”) were an array of handmade signs (some made on the spot) exhibiting universal Bushista malaise:

“Don’t worry about the environment. It will go away,” “Blow Jobs for Peace,” “Bush Lies,” “We Want Our 4 Years Back,” “You are not men. You are puppets of greed,” “You’re Fired!” “Columbus Kids With Asthma—32,000 and Growing,” “Mr. Bush. Pervert. Preserve Our Constitution,” “Get out of my bedroom, my city and my White House,” “You shall not pass! Bush return to The Shadow!” “Abstinence ’04. No Bush. No Dick,” “Asses of Evil: Don’t Let the Bush Regime Trash our Constitution,” “Jail Bush.”

Celebrities and elites slummed on the sidewalk. Pinocchio in lederhosen, a fur-clad Billionaire, even Dubya, Dick and Condi, with plastic grins and red horns spouting from their heads, mingled with the common folk. When approached by The Free Press, the President and his posse declined a sidewalk interview. “Gotta keep a tight lip down here.”

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