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President picks 'securable' town for his address

August 19, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

My friend Jane called last week to ask how the State of West Virginia could build a new bridge across the mighty Potomac River in less time than it took the Washington County Commissioners to repair an existing bridge across a creek so small that almost any dog could come along and lap it dry.

True, watching the commissioners trying to figure out how to fix the Broadfording Road Bridge has been a bit like watching five dogs trying to figure out how to work a doorknob. Amusing, but unproductive.

But now we know what the deal is: West Virginia has the president on its side. Of course bridges get built faster when there's always a chance the POTUS will pop by for a spot inspection.

A big congratulations to Hedgesville, where the president was to speak Tuesday night (the president lost my vote when he made the ridiculous decision to address the crowd two hours after my deadline. You would think someone as savvy as Karl Rove would have been all over this one).

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But I realize you aren't reading this to hear about my problems, you are reading this in hopes that I - with my solid, West Virginia-boy roots - can explain why in the blazes the most powerful man in the world would end up in the same county as Martinsburg City Councilman Frank Idoni. (Did you catch that story? An elected official accused of waving baseball bats, yelling and threatening people on the street.)

At first I sort of assumed Bush was coming to Hedgesville to once and for all clear up the LCS landfill issue. But it must go deeper than that.

I did, initially, consider that it could be a mistake.

NASCAR is friendly GOP ground, so perhaps the campaign got confused, mixing "Martinsburg" with "Hedgesville" to get "Martinsville," home of the "Subway 500," the "Kroger 200," the "All-You-Can-Eat Side-of-Hog Buffet 300" and the "Pepto Bismol All This Food And Beer In The Hot Sun Has Made Me Sick 450."

Or it could be something else. I know for a fact that "W" speaks Spanish. And I believe that in Spanish, "va" means "go." So this whole deal could be the result of a misplaced comma. Instead of "W.Va.," perhaps the president saw it as a command: "W, va."

No, probably that's too obvious. I did hear the theory that Hedgesville is "more securable" than Martinsburg. Boy, that's the truth. Hedgesville only has one major road running through it, and that's W.Va. 9, which doesn't really count since that twisting, two-lane highway is so jammed at all hours of the day that the top attainable speed seldom breaks the motorized scooter barrier.

The Secret Service won't even need any road cones; as I remember it, one Shenandoah's Pride dairy delivery truck could pretty much bring things to a standstill. 'Course it was a dairy truck if you were lucky. If you weren't lucky, you would get behind the "Blue Ridge Proteins" truck right after it had done the rounds of animal shelter Dumpsters on a hot day.

Bush might even take this lesson in security on to bigger stages. Build a W.Va. 9 through Iraq and it will set the car-bomb enterprise back indefinitely.

So shutting down the entire community during the president's visit is no trouble at all. That leaves a simple matter of making certain that the people you are busing in are non-threatening. You can tell this is a Republican rally, because the official list of prohibited items includes lawn furniture, coolers, radios, fireworks, mace and knives, but it doesn't say anything about guns.

Apparently though, a Kerry sticker is enough to warrant a disqualification. A Hagerstown woman and her daughter were denied tickets for such an offense.

That's hard to understand. You would figure that people with Bush bumper stickers will be voting for him anyway - so the only place to make up any ground is among the opposition. It's like failing to pray for Satan, "the one sinner who needs it most."

You wonder what other bumper stickers would have vetoed your ticket chances. "Think Globally, Act Locally." Probably. "My Other Vehicle is a Swift Boat." Maybe. "I Voted for Bush and All I Got Was This Lousy Campaign Appearance."

Most Definitely.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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