President Bush is in Denver today, raising money for the Marilyn Musgrave (R CO-4) re-election campaign. Musgrave, trying to hold off a challenge from Angie Paccione
, seems unconcerned about tying her ship to Bush's, and really she has no other option. She is notoriously the the Congressdemon who brought to the floor this homophobic constitutional amendment...
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
I was on Capitol Hill this morning with the early protesters. It was still a bit cool with temperatures bouncing around freezing, but the sun was bright and the weather was not going to be a problem for turn out.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68403865/
As has been true throughout the day, the majority of the early protest signs were directed at Bush and his misadventures in Iraq. I saw one 'Gay Rights = Human Rights" sign, but other than that there was little to tie Bush to Musgrave or her policies. Around 10:45 that changed as a banner was unfurlled by Soulforce Denver
. They were the first I saw that really drew the media's attention to the specific differentiating point of todays rally.
At 11:00, as I was talking to Michael Hetner and Alan Franklin of Progress Now
their show stopping billboard slowly made its way up the Capital's drive. Making its way around a tiny roadway congested by building construction was this work of art...http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68403873/
It was my second favorite sign of the day. Only losing top honors to my new hero...http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68403869/
By this point, the main stream media was starting to arrive in force. ABC News had a truck at the site, and Noticicas Colorado had a clear presence. WB and FOX seemed to confine their reporting to the Hotel Site itself, but many members of the print media were out with their notebooks. Mine caused many people to ask "Who are you with?" I tried on many responses, but felt the best saying "the First Amendment."
Circling the block, Progress Now became part of an odd convoy, consisting of them and the bloody abortion truck of Operation Rescue.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68403876/
At 11:25 the protest began to move North on Broadway, and the crowd was upbeat and well behaved. (Is it an insult to call the crowd at a rally 'well behaved'? Back in Chicago it would have been.)http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68403879/
The crowd kept to the sidewalks, and obeyed the traffic signals. Police presence was very slight and the march, while uneventful, had some fine New Orleans Jazz playing.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68403882/
There were not too many streets blocked around the Brown Palace Hotel, and the Progress Nowtruck made many circuits. Here you can see the billboard it displayed on the other side...http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405255/
Just around the corner the Mt. West Regional Council ofCarpenters
were picketing Brookfield Properties, a large landlord in the area for using M.P. Interiors. I spoke to members of Local 1068 and found them to be good people. I was rather suprised when later in the day, I ran into a man wearing one of their jackets carrying one of the very few Pro-Bush signs in the gathering. People around me said he was a plant, but in our discussion he seemed sincere, and he was carrying a card that identified him as Council Representative Ken Sanchez. He felt that support for our Commander in Chief was the key issue, and he said that he supported Clinton when Clinton was in office, and supports Bush now.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405262/
There were some clear plants in the crowd. Three members of the Boulder Young Republicans showed up carrying signs that said "Free Saddam. He hasn't done anything to you." and they tried to pass themselves off as liberals to any media that would believe them. Yes, I have pictures of them, but I have mixed feelings at even putting lying stupid people into a place where someone might want to cause them harm. I keep going back and forth on this, as they were there expressly to draw the cameras upon themselves and were not acting in good faith. Someone convene a blogger ethics panel and let me know if it is ok for me to post their names and faces.
I spoke for a moment with Denver area activist Chris Bailey, and we discussed CO-7 politics. She is a stronger supporter of Peggy Lamm than I am, and we discussed the various merits of Peggy Lamm
, Ed Perlmutter
, or even throwing our support behind someone more independent and progressive. Bailey always makes good points, and someday I hope she runs for office herself. She and I didn't agree on everything, but she handed me a flyer on which I am in perfcect accord with her. As far as CO-4 is concerned, there is only one choice...http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405258/
I stood over at the entrance where Bush was supposed to enter. It was obviously misdirection, but I wanted to say hello to the Secret Service. The street was blocked by big buses that they kept running. Their engines added nice bass notes to the "No Blood for Oil" chant that rang around them. I asked Officer Church of the Denver Canine Unit why they had to keep the engines running, and he said "The driver is wearing shorts. He wants to keep warm."http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405261/
I decided to sprint over to the other side of the building, and snapped a pic of this two
Bush simulacra as I went.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405260/
I saw the motorcade as it rounded the corner, and took this picture a moment before the Limo came close enough to see the flags. Of course, the batteries in my camera went out right then. Can the CIA do that? Do I need a tinfoil hat for my camera?http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405813/
The motorcade zipped through a bit faster than comfortable for someone at the side of the road. The motorcycles really had to lean into the turn. George did not stop to mingle. A little slower on the stick were the two Press buses that got stopped at an intersection by a crowd of protesters. It was the one moment of civil disobedience I witnessed. They held the press up for long enough to let them know that Denver was not welcoming Bush with open arms, and then the blue and red lights started flashing and motorcylces made it clear that freedom of the press corps trumps freedom to peaceably assemble in the middle of Broadway and 17th.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68405817/
With the main event behind me for the moment, I scampered off to find a wireless node so I could start typing this out and uploading. Along the way, I met Ruth, Ryan, and Nancy. They are all residents of the interweb, and I am waving hello at my screen in hopes they will see it soon. If not, I hope to run into them at Drinking Liberally
when the Colorado chapter meets on the 14th.http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68407008/
I also met the team handling Emma Hardy's
fantastic body puppets...http://www.flickr.com/photos/29604781@N00/68407011/
You may have seen them anywhere from Madison to Burningman, and if not check out her site. One of the team was Jason of Argusfest
who will be holding an event at the Mercury Cafe on Dec. 8th. The food is yummy there, and the people are great. I will be the guy looking for a plug so I can blog.