Saturday, September 03, 2005

Tales from the front

Curt Loftis spent two days last weekend in Crawford, mingling among the Sheehanoiacs. Here is his fascinating report via Power Line:

I arrived at the original Camp Casey at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was hot and dry and the assembled demonstrators were in a melancholy state. I quickly made friends, stressing "cocktail" conversation, not political discussion. My goal was not confrontation, but a desire to understand what was actually happening here in Crawford...and being incognito was the only way this would happen.

After bonding with several nice ladies from the central coast of California, I drove with these new buddies to the larger, tented camp where Ms. Sheehan and Company was to be found. There I found a well funded, well orchestrated public relations campaign, run by media professionals complete with the highest quality electronic equipment available. From Satellite trucks and cell phone to wireless computer access, every modern convenience to enhance the "message" was there...and being used by left wing, socialist and Marxist (self-described) media representatives and Bloggers.

Most of the Sheehan protesters were either professional (paid staff of Fenton Communications or the radical organization Code Pink or the like), or were long time protesters, some admitting to beginning vigils against the government as early as 1965. I had conversations with approximately 50 of these people over 48 hours, and all seemed like interesting and engaging people. We talked sports, and cars and how wonderful California is, and just about everything that could be discussed without my divulging that I am a conservative. But when "scratched" just a little with some mild political talk, they all responded the same way..."it is America's fault". No matter what the issue, each and every one of them had the same default..."bad things are America's fault".

Toward the end of my time there, I decided to innocently toss into the conversation different issues just to elicit a response. One issue I politely deposited into our talks was of the peasant unrest in rural China, and the brutality shown to the peasants by the government and their hired thugs. There response to this problem was..."well, look how we treated the blacks in America", or, "gays are being beaten every day in America".

So the cliché of the "hate America" crowd is indeed true. It is as if the protesters were intellectually bulimic, and having ingested all of the hate America bile, they looked forward to regurgitating it as a show of their steadfastness to their cause of peace and love.

Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point. During one conversation I had with her I tried to ask her a pointed question about how much time she would actually be on the bus tour to Washington (I had discovered she would only be on the tour for two days, and would be away giving speeches during the rest of the trip...and I wondered if she were being paid for these speeches) Her media person grabbed her arm and led her back to the trailer, and away from me. The message was protected. I was left standing there...alone, and feeling a little less secure about my status at Camp Casey.

But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling, and performing for the cameras. Like the chicken at the local carnival that plays tic tac toe, she eagerly performs for any microphone. She is relentless, and professional, well financed and on message.

And the message is "All things bad are America's fault."


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