In my item last evening, I noted that a group of World War II veterans pushed aside "government shutdown" barriers and visited the open-air war memorial on the National Mall. I chalked it up as an isolated act of ignoring one of the administration's heavy-handed "shutdown" ploys -- one that would be overlooked by the powers-that-be for obvious reasons. Wrong. America's Big Government overlords were apparently quite displeased that these war heroes were permitted to survey a public monument to their brothers in arms who paid the ultimate price in the fight against Imperial Japan and the Nazis. Parks workers were dispatched to erect additional fencing to prevent today's crop of 'Honor Flight' vets from accessing the memorial:
Live from the WWII memorial where park officials are setting up more gates and tape to block visitors pic.twitter.com/XkzBTWFMEE— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 2, 2013
Park workers back at WWII memorial using zip ties to put up more "closed" signs pic.twitter.com/q3cK2z7W33— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 2, 2013
Amazingly, one of the park workers told reporters that she was specifically exempted from shutdown-induced furlough in order to guard the memorial against the scourge of octogenarian visitors. Surreal. As Carol wrote last night, this officious absurdity was explicitly orchestrated by the White House:
The White House and the Department of the Interior rejected a request from Rep. Steven Palazzo’s office to have World War II veterans visit the World War II memorial in Washington, the Mississippi Republican told The Daily Caller Tuesday. Palazzo helped the veterans commit an act of civil disobedience against the Park Service Tuesday, when the heroes stormed through barricades around the closed memorial.
Indeed, sending staffers to block access to this location actually takes more effort, and costs more money, than
simply leaving it open:
Remember, WWII memorial is regularly open when it is unstaffed. An astonishing act from Obama administration.— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 2, 2013
The White House has promised to veto House Republicans' bill that would re-open national parks, fully fund the VA, and restore the flow of money to DC's local government. The GOP is also weighing NIH funding, to neutralize this talking point. Will Democrats block that, too? So far, our president says he won't sign a bill designed to re-open this memorial, but he will release park service workers from their mandatory furlough status to go and inhibit senior citizens' access to said memorial. What lessons might Americans draw from this posture? Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) decries the whole situation as "cynical." Not the act of turning an unstaffed, open-air war memorial into a fortress, mind you -- the attempt to re-open it:
Unbelievable. RT @SenLeeComs Schumer: funding veterans, National Guard and keeping nat'l parks open is "cynical"— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) October 2, 2013
UPDATE - Just like yesterday, the veterans -- and throngs of applauding supporters -- defied the government and entered the memorial:
Memorial breached pic.twitter.com/PtpIfQxUPj— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) October 2, 2013
UPDATE II - With his jerk move exposed for all to see, guess who just blinked?
BREAKING: AP source: Obama invites congressional leaders to White House for shutdown meeting— The Associated Press (@AP) October 2, 2013
I guess someone's finally willing to actually negotiate. Question for the White House: Why is the president giving in to terroristic suicide-bombing arsonist kidnappers?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography