Beck’s no-sign demand drew little to no ire from those planning to attend the rally, including many Tea Party chapters and other political groups. However, conservative groups were not nearly as submissive when Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) made the same request for his town hall meetings earlier this month. Perriello’s attempt to keep out signs in order to “encourage an atmosphere of civility” was met with cries of censorship by the Rutherford Institute, acting on a complaint by the Jefferson Area Tea Party:
“Your sign ban amounts to an act of outright censorship that raises grave Constitutional concerns,” wrote Rutherford Institute founder and President John W. Whitehead in a letter to Perriello.
Perriello backed down after the outcry and decided to permit signs at future town halls.
For Beck and Tea Party groups – who persistently tout the wisdom of the Framers and the infallibility of the Constitution – the irony is palpable.
Yes, it most certainly is.