BUSH BRIGADE “Little Beirut” has never seemed smaller. Shane Goguen
While Kerry was busy drawing what has been billed as the largest crowd this campaign season, President George W. Bush was doing everything in his power to keep the public--including protesters--from knowing he was even in town. On Friday, he made two stops. Both in locations difficult to access except by car, closed to the public, and kept secret until 24 hours before Air Force One touched down.

As a result, the anti-Bush protests, which have been near apocalyptic during Bush's past two visits, were a total snooze fest. Around 30 protesters made it to Bush's first stop at Terminal 6 on the Port of Portland, where the president pledged to push for dredging the Columbia River and four more years of pissing off the Sierra Club. Activists were kept at bay, but as the motorcade arrived and departed, activists chanted a few impotent, environmentally themed chants.

Bush's second stop at Beaverton's Southridge High School--he was there for a "small business summit"--was slightly more exciting. Protesters and supporters congregated at the intersections on either side of 125th Avenue, across the street from the school.

At the afternoon's peak, there were a few hundred protesters. When Bush finished his "small business summit," the 2,000 or so invited audience members emerged from the high school to send their love to the departing motorcade. As the cars sped off, the situation reached a nadir of ridiculousness, culminating in two competing choruses of "boo" and "yay."

While Bush's camp may have expected to land in Little Beirut--as they did during the past two Augusts--they got Dullsville instead. If you don't count the Republican woman who was dragged away by police for hitting a protester, discourse between opposing sides stayed relatively civil. Even the verbal police baiting was generally good-natured, which meant the police didn't even get to try out their new paintball guns.

by Scott Moore