Monday, May 18, 2009


There was never a call for massive anti-Obama protests at Notre Dame, but really, I expected more than this:

While several hundred people attended an anti-abortion Mass, about 100 abortion opponents demonstrated against the president's visit at the edge of campus.... Nearly 40 protesters were arrested trying to enter the campus, Sgt. Bill Redman of the St. Joseph County Police Department said....

That's from the evil liberal New York Times. So what did Fox say about the size of the crowds?

More than 100 protesters demonstrated on Notre Dame's campus Sunday ahead of Obama's commencement address...

About 300 people had arrived at the university's grotto Sunday afternoon for a prayer vigil....

Damn -- there were more people at tea parties just in Houma, Louisiana, on Tax Day.

Ah, but here's a Catholic PR Wire press release under the headline "Notre Dame Switchboard Overwhelmed." So that must have been quite a groundswell of calls, right?

As of late Friday night, hundreds of callers had overwhelmed the switchboard at Notre Dame as news began to circulate that Obama had been invited to give the commencement address at Notre Dame on May 17th.

"Hundreds"? That's it?

Free Republic and Fox Nation were obsessed with this speech over the past month or so. The speech was being discussed as if it was going to be the cause of uncontrollable unrest. It was suggested on the right that Obama would need a face-saving way to withdraw, and that the Vatican might need to step and disinvite him.

A coalition of speech opponents called NDResponse hired a professional PR firm with a client list that includes Verizon and Universal Pictures (plus a lot of religious-right groups) to issue handle media relations. (Boomer lefties, did your scruffy little anti-war group think of that back in '69?)

So what happened? Why did the angry response to Obama turn out to be a big nothing? Why weren't protesters pouring in by the busload? Well, either this was a tempest in a teapot, a controversy only in a small number of wingnuts' minds ... or wingnuts didn't protest because they do what they're told, and they weren't told to protest. Your call.

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