DENVER - Never was so much hype created by so few to simulate the appearance of so many.
The hard-core left vowed to turn out 50,000 protesters for the
Democratic National Convention this week. They pledged to "Re-create
'68" and cause the kind of tear-gas-infused revolutionary havoc that
marked the DNC in Chicago four decades ago. Police prepared for the
worst riots. Media from around the world anticipated the best pictures.
But when rhetorical push came to real-life shove, the nostalgic,
Marxadoring organizers of Re-create '68 seem to have mustered no more
than, oh, 68 bodies. Their presence here is dwarfed by the massive show
of police, press and camera-toting looky-loos.
You can't take a picture without someone else taking pictures of
everyone else taking pictures of not much else getting in your frame.
The chaos-inducers' mouths were a mile wide. Their crowds have been
an inch deep. What's left of the leftover '60s movement is all sizzle
and no steak. Or deep-fried tofu. Whatever.
At an abortion protest/counterprotest on Saturday in front of a
Planned Parenthood mega-facility, I counted fewer than a dozen
pro-abortion activists milling about with three times as many media
members. Most demonstrators were more exercised about the war in Iraq
than about the vaunted woman's right to choose death for her unborn
child - the stated focus of the rally.
And while Democratic Chairman Howard Dean excoriates the GOP as the
"white" party, I saw only one nonwhite agitator among the pro-abortion
gaggle. (This goes for the rest of the Re-create '68 populace, too.
It's as pale and colorless as a Colorado snowfall.)
Across the street from the Planned Parenthood event, however, were
many incensed black- and brown-skinned moms - incensed that an abortion
mill had been built right across from the park where their children
practice football and swing on the playground set.
One of the moms said bluntly: "I don't want a f--king abortion
clinic in my neighborhood!" A Hispanic mother added: "It's against the
Catholic Church." (Are you listening, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi?) When
asked about her views on abortion, a black mother of three told me
simply from her minivan: "I don't believe in it."
Speaking of disbelief, behold the dregs of the self-pitying
anti-war movement. The white-flag crowd had so much trouble getting
coverage of its worn-out, giant puppet-toting, drum-beating, ratty
lingerie-flashing, Bush-cursing antics on Sunday that a sympathizer at
the Associated Press devoted an entire sob story to the apathy.
"CodePink faces tough odds for public's attention," the AP's Christine
Perhaps if more than 10 of them showed up at one time to do
something other than scream about BusHitler or bawl about detained
Gitmo jihadists, they'd have better luck.
At City Center on Monday night, law enforcement authorities
encountered about 100 aimless grievance-mongers - self-described
"anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-war" - who finally fixed on
something concrete to protest when their friends were arrested for
refusing to disperse. "My freedom of speech was suppressed," one
protester complained as she spoke freely to the media and admitted she
hadn't been arrested or asked to show ID.
In the melee, a few responsible adults were accidentally hit with
pepper spray. Otherwise, Denver blogger Charlie Martin quipped: "It was
the world's most boring riot."
Finally, in a sorry attempt to re-create Abbie Hoffman's satirical
stunt aimed at levitating the Pentagon, a dozen Recreate '68 stragglers
dressed up like the cast of "Harry Potter," wielded magic wands and
joined hands to float the Denver Mint. The Mint stayed firmly on the
To salvage the abysmal turnout, an unhinged contingent of 9/11
conspiracy theorists started barking at me. One buffoon shouted, "Kill
Michelle Malkin,"while the levitation experts chanted,"Peace and
Justice!" and a wizard paraded around in his "Arrest Bush" Tshirt with
Che Guevara promoters tossing fake quarters in the air.
To paraphrase a favorite left-wing bumper sticker slogan:
discombobulation is the highest form of patriotism. Blame bankrupt
ideology, not the altitude.