So much anger, so much hate, so much astroturf
NOTE: This is an excerpt from a longer piece with more photos at Eclectablog. You can view that post HERE.
Yesterday, Americans For Prosperity held a fake grassroots rally called "Patriots in the Park" in Belleville, Michigan near the Detroit Metro Airport. Around 400-500 tea party supporters and Sarah Palin fanatics showed up to bake in the hot sun to witness an event, dubbed "Kochstock" by LOLGOP, bought and paid for by the conservative group that bills itself as a non-political 501(c)(4) nonprofit group. This nonprofit status allows them to hide their donors and to sponsor these types of events around the country as long as they don't support a candidate.
The result was a several-hour long anti-Obama, anti-Democrat hatefest where not a single Republican candidate got mentioned.
[Note: all photos are mine, taken with my iPhone. Do not hold my wife responsible for this (low) level of photography ; )]
LOLGOP and I went together (in disguise, of course.) Here I am, sporting my AFP t-shirt and wearing my "Don't believe the Liberal Media" button:
We arrived around 3:30, long after the noon starting time. Thankfully, the two people I most wanted to see, Janice Daniels and Sarah Palin, hadn't spoken yet. Here's the scene as we arrived:
Tea Party Troy Mayor Janice Daniels began speaking nearly as soon as we got there. It was a short speech, only a few minutes, mostly whining about the recall effort against her, seeming to suggest that the expression of democracy (the recall) is somehow un-democratic. She also suggested that her son is fighting in the military to save us all from Saul Alinsky-trained radicals. Who knew?
The event was emceed by the tea party whackadoo Thayrone X, an aging and boring wannabe who fancies himself a real rabble-rousing right-wing renegade. Here's a blurb from his website:
Come on in. Your audio g-spot will now be massaged by the mink glove of soul via super fine programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…Once your radio is tuned into COOLARITY RADIO your antennae will go up real high and never come back down! Shivers and chills will run up your leg, the kind that Chris Matthews can only dream about…This website and all it’s content is approved by The Council To Free The Gay Feminist Bolivian Whales Defense Fund…Thayrone X, Minister of Information for The People’s Ethnic Gender Coalition of Choice and Non Choice for Diverse Rainbow Movement and Environmental Sexual Justice and Color.Edgy. Not.
Here he is with Janice Daniels who, apparently, enjoys having her audio g-spot massaged by the mink glove of soul:
Thayrone mentioned Sarah Palin multiple times, describing her as a "stone fox" and a "hot babe", and complaining that he was not being allowed to introduce her.
Out of the 400-500 people there, I saw exactly five African Americans. Three were in the vendors area, clearly part of a group.
The crowd at #Kockstock is very diverse. There's eggshell, beige and white people.— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) July 14, 2012
Here's what the crowd looked like. You can spot an African American person if you look very closely and aren't blinded by the white:
Happy, smiling people. Not.
This photo was accidental but ended up being my favorite of the day. Notice the woman toward the bottom. Such happiness and joy!
LOLGOP heard this same guy call the president "a communist".
Cigar smoke and "Boooooooos" in the air at #Kochstock. Guy behind me just said "Obama is a communist."— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) July 14, 2012
Sarah Palin adorers were everywhere. In fact, if she wasn't the headliner, they never would have had 400 people there. It was a level of adulation and reverence that I haven't seen since the Obama rallies of 2008.
This guy proudly posed for me:
Then it was time for the main attraction: Sarah Palin in the flesh. She was introduced by an AFP guy whose wife spoke on stage right before him. "I'm sandwiched between my wife and Sarah Palin," he joked. Palin came out and jumped right into her folksy, relaxed speechifying.
[Might have to have a caption contest with this photo.]
Her speech was truly just a string of the same rhetoric we've heard from her for the past four years. She played the "death panels" card. She played the "Hopey Changey" card. She played the "tort reform" card. She said she's proud to "cling to my God, Guns and Constitution". She played the "lamestream media" card. The woman who ran Alaska largely on Big Oil dividends ranted about creating a "competitive economy". She said "Energy is our stimulus" and, in addition to playing the "Drill, baby, drill" card, tried a new one: "Mine, baby, mine." She actually seems to believe that we can get off foreign oil with American fossil fuels.
It truly was a "Sarah Palin's Greatest Hits" event.
Amazing. Just saw @SarahPalinUSA perform "Death Panels" live. Like seeing Skynrd do "Freebird," years after it was named lie of the year.— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) July 14, 2012
The event was scheduled to end at 6:00 p.m. but, by 4:30, they were done. It had all the trappings of a true grassroots event. Except that it wasn't. It was paid for by Americans For Prosperity. As is typical of them, they are tapping into the anti-Obama, anti-liberal, anti-Democrat fervor of the tea party and are using it to build up the hatred leading up to the election. Because they aren't allowed to mention candidates, their rallies end up actually being MORE political because they become single-mindedly focused on maligning the Democrats and our President. (Actually, Thayrone X didn't appear to have gotten the "don't mention the other guys" memo. He made a statement at one point that "Everything that is wrong with our country started with the Democrats.")
The adulation of Sarah Palin is almost unseemly. Women in the crowd were clearly in love with her but the men ... well, my wife calls it "political porn". She's right. Between one emcee calling her a "stone fox" and a "hot babe" and another one talking about being sandwiched between her and his wife, Sarah Palin is, for her male admirers, little more than a political porn star, a sexual fantasy figure.
What this does for women in politics is horrendous. As Republicans wage their War on Women across the country, they are promoting an unhealthy and flagrantly sexualized role for their female politicians. You would never hear about a Democratic female speaker being referred to or introduced in such a fashion. The fact that Palin allows it says pretty much everything you need to know about her and about her political party.
But the bigger story here is that AFP held a political rally to gin up anti-Democrat anger and not once was their presidential candidate mentioned.
That's a metaphor for Romney's entire candidacy.
More details and photos at Eclectablog.