Crossposted at Little Green Footballs
August 27, 5:55 pm PST — Scenes from a Convention
Not everything that happens outside the Democratic National Convention fits into a “theme” of some sort. Instead, a chaotic kaleidoscope of sights and scenes assault your senses, until you just get overwhelmed. The following series of images were all taken within the space of two hours. I present them here to give everyone a more gut-level impression of what walking around Denver is like this week.
The factory had a huge inventory of Bill Cosby dolls left over from the 1980s; Obama gets nominated — bingo! — dust off the boxes, change the names, and we’re back in business.
Wherever there was a blank wall of sufficient size in downtown Denver, the Obama campaign or the Democratic party or someone hung these gargantuan Rocky Mountain Messiah posters.
Lady, I hear what you’re sayin’.
I found this quite interesting: never before have I seen the Secret Service and the FBI (notice the “USSS” and “FBI” tags in the window) patrol city streets like beat cops. I’ve been noticing cars like this one prowling downtown Denver night and day.
Haven’t heard or seen the word “Change” enough recently? This guy’s got your fix, jumbo-style:
CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE!
I thought the guy in the foreground was just another Obama supporter, trying to talk Nader-ites into voting for a candidate who could actually win. But when I spoke with him, it turned out he was a fan of the original Jesus, not the new one.
Recreate 68 had a permanent encampment in Civic Center Park which they optimistically called “The Festival of Democracy” because they had scheduled a full slate of speakers, performers and musical acts all day every day. But whenever I swung by to check out how the festival was going, the scene inevitably looked like this: a desolate, near-empty amphitheater, with a tiny handful of bored stragglers. Perhaps they should have called it the “Festival of Where Is Everybody?“.
One of the festival’s many speakers was Ward Churchill’s wife and communist firebrand Natsu Saito (if anyone who speaks in a monotone as she does can be called a firebrand), who seemed to be guarded by bandanna-wearing members of the American Indian Movement.
No more ass-crackery!
Well, at least you’ve got to give them credit for being honest.
Every now and then, a protester or three would show up who just didn’t fit in to any of the existing protest categories. Anarchists? No. Hillary supporters? Nope. Abortion activists? Nuh-uh. Communists? Nyet. Environmentalists cult-members extremists bikers Christians feminists Palestinians? No no no no no. So they’d usually just stand off by themselves, wondering what to do.
Lo and behold, my old friends the Bush Legacy Bus showed up as well, but once again I was denied: the last time I saw them, the bus had nowhere to park, so I couldn’t get on to see the exhibits. This time they had successfuly stopped, but — isn’t life ironic? — they had a power failure in the bus and had to close.
This sign conveys in the most concise manner possible the Left’s self-negating thesis concerning the American military: our soldiers are crude, violent occupiers who fight wars to steal oil; AND they’re sad, pitiable victims who get their legs blown off fighting wars they don’t want to fight (notice the artificial legs), and that the way we can “support the troops” is to bring them all home permanently. I see this paradoxical and fundamentally illogical position promoted everywhere these days.
It can be yours for the low low price of twenty Amerikkkan dollars.
Aug 27, 07:55 am PST — A Pro-Hillary March
On Tuesday, some Hillary Clinton die-hards held a march along the “designated parade route” from Denver’s Civic Center Park to the “free speech zone” at the Pepsi Center, where the convention is being held. Their goal: a last-ditch attempt to secure the nomination for Hillary.
This is a sentiment the Democratic Party did not take seriously enough. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of “temporary McCainocrats” in November.
Despite a scheduling snafu at the start (the march was sent off early, before many supporters showed up), the group — numbering somewhere between 500 and 750 by my very rough guess (though I’m admittedly bad at crowd estimates) proceeded down in the street in a wave of enthusiasm.
Most people in the crowd believed that the nomination was stolen from Hillary by the bullying and intimidation of delegates and “super-delegates.”
They co-opted the “selected, not elected” meme from the disputed Bush/Gore Florida showdown in 2000.
Despite the surface enthusiasm and anger, there was a noticeable air of resignation, the certain knowedge that their cause was already a lost cause.
18 million people is a lot of people to piss off.
Whom will you ladies vote for in November: Obama or McCain? That is the question around which everything hinges.
Meanwhile, back at the beginning of the parade route (to which I returned after following the march for a while), scattered groups of Hillary supporters who had shown up at the announced time (11:45) were seriously deflated and disappointed to learn that the city officials had for some reason sent off the Hillary contingent over 15 minutes early, leaving many of the would-be marchers stranded when they showed up too late. It was the only time I’ve seen one of the permitted marches be sent off early. Hmmmmm….
Aug 27, 07:55 am PST — Biden to Boxer and Beyond: Celebrity-Hopping Convention Style
The rumors are true. Political conventions are prime territory for star-chasers and celebrity hounds. In the space of just a few hours, I shook hands with the potential next vice president (Joe Biden), had lunch with my senator (Barbara Boxer) and a movie star (Danny Glover), then not long after met Dan Rather and San Francisco Attorney General Kamala Harris, and finally caught a glimpse of Hillary Clinton. And I wasn’t even trying. Real fame addicts have innumerable other opportunities in Denver this week to chum around with lawmakers, legends and superstars.
The Democratic National Convention is like a political Hollywood.
I was walking through downtown Denver on Monday when, completely unexpectedly, I ran into Joe Biden at the corner of Lawrence Street and 16th. I saw a crowd of people surrounding someone, and at first, even after getting a glimpse of him, I have to admit I didn’t even know who he was. Partly because he was inside a barbecue shack at that moment, and partly because I’ve been traveling since he was first nominated and haven’t had any time to read the news, so I wasn’t really familiar with what he looked like.
But then he came straight toward me and I realized it was the vice presidential nominee. Before I knew it, I was shaking his hand. (Now I’ve shaken hands with the entire Democratic ticket — I also unexpectedly shook Obama’s hand during a fundraiser appearance in San Francisco.)
An odd detail: notice the guy with the glasses hovering in the background.
He not only looked like the real Joe Biden, he looked exactly like the real Joe Biden. In fact, over the following minutes, some people in the gathering crowd couldn’t tell who was who.
As Biden waded through potential voters pressing the flesh, his doppelganger tailed behind (partly obscured by the guy with the green armband in this photo.) It was only later that it dawned on me that he wasn’t just another fan — he must have been Biden’s body double, used as a security measure I suppose.
Joe then hopped into the Bidenmobile — an eco-friendly armored Chevy Suburban (coughcough) and was on his way.
Minutes later I found myself at a banquet for an AIDS fundraiser, where Danny Glover and Congresswoman Barbara Lee ate lunch with us and then gave speeches.
To everyone’s apparent amazement, Barbara Boxer, my senator, walked into the room right past me and went up to the podium to accept a surprise award. The theme of her speech was: We need a minimum of 60 Democrats in the next Senate.
The two Barbaras are good buddies.
The next day I swung by to check out “The Big Tent,” an alternative media center co-sponsored by Daily Kos. By chance, the speaker at that particular moment was Dan Rather, former CBS news anchor. I didn’t catch the title of his talk, but the portion I heard seemed to be about media ethics. (Ethics? Dan Rather?)
Dan then unleashed his greatest weapon: sarcastic scare quotes!
This was the size of his audience. And he used to have an audience of millions every evening at five o’clock. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Later, I was downstairs in the blogger area, using the wi-fi, when Dan came in for a tour and was corralled into giving an interview in front of a “Daily Kos” backdrop.
From The Big Tent, my next destination was the “Emily’s List Gala,” with the most star-studded speakers’ list all week: Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. But as soon as I showed up, I ran into San Francisco Attorney General Kamala Harris (captured here in an unflattering moment), currently the center of a major controversy over her “humane” policy of extremely lenient sentencing for serious offenders. Despite that, she is widely considered to be a possible nominee for United States Attorney General should Obama get elected.
Turns out the Emily’s List event was overbooked and I couldn’t actually get a seat. I watched Hillary through the door briefly, but the security detail forbade photographs. Luckily, her speech was being simulcast on huge screens outside the auditorium, where I got a better view of her anyway. This is as close to Hillary I got that day. (Immediately after the Emily’s List event, she headed over to the Pepsi Center and gave her globally televised big speech.)
The rest of the country must be experiencing a severe celebrity shortage this week, since everyone even halfway famous seems to be in Denver.