For eight years, Republican President George W. Bush had been the subject of demonstration after political demonstration protesting his stance on everything from foreign policy to what books he read. There were rallies against the liberation of Iraq, against privatizing Social Security, against the liberation of Afghanistan and against the Dick Cheney Weather Machine which caused Hurricane Katrina. There were even rallies in favor of coitus interuptus, or at least that's what a guy would have to assume when Code Pink protestors followed him around chanting "Pull out, pull out".
Now that a Democrat is in the White House, it turns out that whole First Amendment guarantee of freedom of assembly works both ways. Republicans, conservatives and big and small "L" libertarians turned out today at Seattle's Westlake Plaza to demonstrate against President Barack Obama's $750 billion Stimulus Package. A similar rally was held in Denver, the site where Obama chose to sign the legislation.About 200 people showed up at noon, carrying handmade signs protesting the "Porkulus" Package, and scaring away most of the indigent sleeping on park benches, Scientologists and pigeons who call Westlake home.
The demonstration was the brainchild of Seattle math teacher Keli Carender, who organized the event under the pseudonym "Liberty Belle". The idea was picked up and trumpeted by local conservative radio hosts Kirby Wilbur (570 KVI) and David Boze (770 KTTH) and made the circuit of the right wing intelligentsia such as Michelle Malkin, who wrote about it at length on her blog.
Carender said that she wanted to do something that would make a bigger splash, instead of just complaining about the legislation to her friends and getting riled up watching it move through Congress on the television.
"The content of the bill and the manner in which it was passed was so troubling," Carender explained. "Our senators' phones were turned off and their voice mails were left full. No one had a voice. I wanted to do something much louder than just a blog posting."
The demonstration was louder and more interactive. A heterogeneous group of fiscal conservatives, Libertarian PCOs, grassroots initiative gatherers, Young Republicans and flag waving grandmothers got together, on Presidents Day no less, to pow-wow on the the streets of one of the most liberal cities in the country.
Other than a few quizzical looks from bypassers, the rally went off mostly without a hitch and had only one shouting match instigated by a passing Seattle liberal. Since Republicans aren't exactly known for protesting, the odds are most folks weren't quite sure what to make of a crowd of people demanding less federal intervention and less government spending.
Below are some typical shots of the Porkulus Rally.
The Porkulus protestors spent a chilly Presidents Day dogging Obama. Some dogged the President more than others.
Gee. Not all Republicans are the stereotypical business suit types.
Apparently conservatives can be environmentally conscious too. Reduce. Reuse. And Recycle that John McCain sign.
Teabags. Commemorating the Boston Tea Party.
One of the dozen people interviewed for five minutes by KIRO's Essex Porter, in search of that elusive 10 second soundbite which may or may not be aired on the 5 O'Clock News.
A passing Seattle liberal saw a rally and naturally assumed the show was about him. After haranguing everyone for nearly two minutes, he saluted the crowd in true National Socialist fashion.
The term "filling ones drawers" comes to mind after being confronted by a few veterans.