The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Now We're Goons 

John Kerry was in Milwaukee last night at Pere Marquette Park. Amazingly enough, I was actually downtown by the lake, and didn't even realize he was in the area. I will consider myself lucky for the simple fact that I missed the traffic snarl ups. Although I do remember thinking to myself last night, "What's with all the police cars driving around all of a sudden tonight?" I guess I have my answer. Too bad I didn't realize that he was at the river, because I would have stopped by in order to join "the goons". From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The high-stakes intensity of the campaign could also be seen Monday in noisy confrontations between Kerry and Bush supporters and the use of bullhorns and air horns by a small group of Bush supporters to try to disrupt the speeches, prompting Kerry and his wife to respond to what the candidate termed "goons."

While she was introducing her husband, Teresa Heinz Kerry referred to the group's audible call for "Four more years."

Said Heinz Kerry, "They want four more years of hell."
...
About 30 Bush supporters chanted loudly during the speeches by Kerry and his wife, sometimes setting off air horns. The pro-Bush group was on the Kilbourn Ave. sidewalk overlooking Pere Marquette Park, almost a full block from the stage, but it could be heard throughout the park, including on stage.

Tom Lange, 18, of Waukesha said he was setting off an air horn during Kerry's remarks because "we want them to hear us and not hear what he has to say."

Lange said it's "probably not nice, but it's my beliefs."

Michael Gaspar, 18, of Waukesha used a bullhorn frequently before and during the rally to welcome Kerry supporters "to Bush-Cheney country" and to spur on the Bush supporters.

Asked why he was leading the Bush volunteers in loud chants while Kerry was speaking, he said, "I'm doing this to show my support for President George W. Bush."

"I have the right to speak also," he said. "I'm just attempting to get my voice heard."

There were several incidents of scuffling between Kerry and Bush supporters during the rally, including one in which it appeared a Kerry supporter attempted to throw a large Bush-Cheney sign into the Milwaukee River. Police and sheriff's deputies on foot and on horseback moved into the crowd several times and ordered people to move on and to break up their confrontations. No arrests were made, although one man was pinned to the ground by a sheriff's deputy at one point.

About 100 Bush supporters lined the Kilbourn Ave. sidewalk before the rally so that thousands of Kerry supporters had to slowly shuffle past them as they waited to go through security checks to get into the park. Supporters for each candidate exchanged chants of campaign slogans, mixed frequently with insults.

Many of the Bush supporters carried waffles or waved flip-flops in the air, symbols of their view of Kerry. Several held signs criticizing Kerry's views on abortion and challenging his standing as a Catholic.

They're not goons, they're citizens and voters! Apparently it's simply voicing the "other side" when you have ravenous anti-Bush people at a Bush rally. But when pro-Bush people line a Kerry rally, they're goons. I will point out that I specifically use the term anti-Bush and not pro-Kerry... because I'm not sure such a person exists. I think most of the Kerry supporters would support anyone with a pulse, as long as he said whatever they wanted to hear... which of course he is more than willing to do.

I have to credit the Journal Sentinel though with actually spending a good piece of this article on the fact that they were there. I don't think the NY Times would have bothered with a single sentence about it.

Update: Thanks to VodkaPundit for catching this exta detail about Kerry's Milwaukee visit (and shame on me for missing it):

Thousands of us heard John Kerry localize his presidential stump speech by saying he "sure better find some baby backs over there at Speed Queen Bar-B-Q and a double-dip vanilla at Leon's.

"And if I don't get there, I'm in trouble."

OK then, Sen. Kerry, you're in trouble.

"No, he didn't come," said Steven Schneider, a manager at Leon's Frozen Custard, 3131 S. 27th St.

"Like most politicians, they say one thing and do another," said Schneider, who says he's voting for George W. Bush in November.

Two thoughts on this come to mind. First of all, if Bill Clinton can go to Leon's when he's in town campaigning for President, so can you John Kerry, especially when you say you will. Secondly, why would you go to Leon's? Kopp's is much better. They're Butter Pecan custard is hands down the best around.

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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