Thursday, July 31, 2008

Owens and Hart on the DNC: Protests? What protests?

In a Denver Post webcast with reporter Chuck Plunkett, former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and former Sen. Gary "Tickets please" Hart on prospects for the convention:

Hart: I think if newspapers and television stations want to focus on daisies and wind turbines that don't work and make that the story I suppose that will be a distraction. The broader issue is this is the first national convention to come to this city in a hundred years. It will bring not only economic benefits but the focus of not just the nation but world - 15,000 to 20,000 journalists coming here. What's on display here isn't just the Democratic Party. It's the city of Denver. It's the state of Colorado. It's also by the way, Colorado's media that will be scrutinized by the other media [he's lookin' at you, Chuck Plunkett!]. And I think it's going to be a huge event. If people want to pick at the edges and find faults, they can do so. But that's going to miss the big story.

Owens: (On protest groups like Re-create 68) There just isn't that much anger at the Democratic Party from the left. Because in my view, the Democratic Party has nominated a candidate of the left. I couldn't imagine. This isn't a Mayor Daley and the Chicago police versus an anti-war, pro-war Humphrey, McGovern, McCarthy I should say. Gosh, I mean, the Democratic Party is pretty united right now.

Hart: I don't know who the protesters are frankly. I've heard a lot of media coverage about them but no one asking, 'What is it you're protesting?' All the coverage has been about, 'There are going to be protests. They're going to be disruptive.' I want to know who these people are. They're certainly not - I mean, if Barack Obama is anywhere near as far left as Bill says, they have nothing to protest.

Oh, Gary.

More: Vince Carroll notes USA Today's cluelessness:
USA Today regally accused Denver the other day of treating would-be protesters at the Democratic National Convention "like a bunch of pests."

Never mind that the city will be turning a dozen parks over to an array of protests for nearly a week or that it will close lanes of Colfax and Speer - major thoroughfares in a city that still depends, after all, on commerce - every day for several hours so they can function as the "designated parade route" for marching protesters.

Never mind, for that matter, that Denver has set aside a large area about 700 feet from the Pepsi Center for demonstrators, who can use bullhorns or a city-provided loudspeaker to drive their points home. . . .

Oh, what a hellish time to be a dissident! As if George W. Bush's assaults on civil liberties weren't enough, now it's Mayor John Hickenlooper's turn to don the jackboots. Can mass roundups, deportations and the resurrection of A. Mitchell Palmer be far behind?
Read whole thing.

A group called Meditate '08 wants politicos to take some breaks from the hurly-burly of the Democratic National Convention to listen to their hearts instead of speeches.

More than 30 religious and secular meditation experts will lead 90- minute sessions between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. in meditation, yoga, stress reduction and something called "Dances for Universal Peace" at Fishback Landing. . . .

Meditate '08 is the brainchild of Denver psychiatrist David Nichol, a Buddhist and author of "The One- Minute Meditator." Nichol put his name into the lottery in April for use of the city park during the Democratic conclave. He won the spot for all six days.

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