Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who's pledged to return to Miami when his term ends in January 2007, took a leisurely stroll through the brick-lined streets of downtown Pittsburgh last week. He must have marveled at the colors and smells of the early autumn evening in the quaint Northeast. It was just our jolly governor, a petite female aide, and a single security guard dressed in a suit and coiled earpiece.
But a fateful encounter would turn a pleasant Pittsburgh stroll into a harrowing escape.
A group of potentially dope-crazed pinko left-nicks on their way to protest a fund-raiser being held for Sen. Rick Santorum (why?!?) — according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- caught sight of the small Floridian entourage and went after them with the bloodlust of a thousand wolverines. One of these goons, David Meieran, talked to New Times on Monday about the incident.
"Confronting our so-called leaders and other people in power who are guilty of much wrong-doing is part of my milieu," said Meieran, a researcher, writer, and anti-war activist by telephone. "I think it's important that we shame our leaders and make them feel nervous and uncomfortable about their policies. That's why I felt it was important to run over and shame him."
Meieran and five other picketers led an impulsive charge that quickly dissolved into a mob rush. Between 30 and 50 protestors whipped into a frenzy of sputtering jeers and boos at the sight of Bush. "I was kind of short on words," Meieran began. "I didn't know what to say. To me, he is a symbol of the Bush dynasty and the nightmare that this country has become in the past two years as well as a part of the whole FTAA disaster, neo-liberalism and corporate globalization. I didn't know how exactly to phrase that, except to say 'boo."
Bush apparently registered "horror and shock." He diverted course from the Duquesne club (where the fundraiser was being held, one block away) to the mezzanine of a nearby train station (one block in the other direction). The protesters doubled their savage pursuit.
Three intrepid Allegheny Port Authority police officers spied the emperiled First Brother and sprang into action, stuffing our governor into a nearby utility closet. Had they not risked crippling bruises from anti-globalization banners by taking this brave action — then stun-gunning two protesters and calling in a police dog — our governor may have been subjected to untold minutes of booing and jeering.
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He might have even had to get on a train.
We here at Miami New Times salute you, Allegheny Port Authority Police department. Furthermore, we ask that the President consider declaring October 8th National Allegheny Port Authority Police Department Day, to be commemorated annually with a re-enacted tazering of the wicked boo-ers by local historical societies and "closet parties" to be held throughout the land.
Bush's Press Secretary, Kristy Campbell, omitted dogs and tazers from her account of the incident when we called. But she did say this: "Governor Bush fully supports one's right to express his or her own opinion, which is why we have such a great country and great President."
Bush left the closet just in time for Sen. Santorum's speech, a loving ode to family, god, and the dangerous threat posed by homosexual feminist baby-killing Islamofascist terrorists who would destroy the sanctity of marriage. Calvin Godfrey and Emily Witt