"Buy your own president!"

Billionaires for Bush at the 2000 Republican Convention

Count me in!

It's going to be a very interesting summer in New York.

We couldn't make it to last night's fundraiser, but we certainly want to catch up with this fabulous group. Politics, maybe it's not just for those other guys any more!

Karl Rove attended a moneyed Bush election event at a nightclub on 24th Street last night, and it wasn't always easy telling the hellfunders from the hellraisers. The NYTimes reports that even some of the demonstrators were confused for a while.

"Fabulous, fabulous," Mr. Rove said as he left after giving a 20-minute talk to several hundred people gathered inside [and collecting about $400,000 for the Bush-Cheney campaign].

But while Mr. Rove was inside, more than 100 protesters were outside, standing behind blue police barricades chanting slogans, waving placards and offering a bit of street theater that confused the police.

At one point, as hundreds of guests with invitations waited to pass through velvet barriers to enter the club, a small group of men in bowler hats and women in gowns marched up, chanting, "Four more wars" and "Re-elect Rove."

As the group approached, a man who appeared to be a security agent of some type, was overheard whispering into a microphone: "We've got two groups. One for and one against."

Actually, it was two against. The person was confused by a group that calls itself Billionaires for Bush, a collection of activists who use satire to make a political point. Indeed, members of the Sierra Club, who were protesting on the other side of the street were also confused and began shouting at what they thought was a pro-Bush contingent.

" We want the truth and we want it now!" the Sierra protesters shouted.

The billionaires shouted back, "Buy your own president!"

It took a few minutes, but the police finally realized what was going on when they escorted the group behind the blue barricades as well. Still, the show was not over. A black town car pulled up and out stepped a man whom who the crowd assumed to be Mr. Rove. "There is Karl Rove," people shouted.

Reporters, photographers and television cameramen swarmed the man, but the police pushed them back. Another man lifted the velvet rope to let him enter. But the would-be Mr. Rove walked over to the crowd of protesters and began shaking hands, when finally, again, this was seen to be a joke. It was not Mr. Rove, but an actor playing the part.

Each of the groups has said it planned to stage similar events when the Republican National Convention comes to New York City from Aug. 30 through Sept. 2.

By the way, what's this thing with Bush, and now Rove, regularly waving the adjective "fabulous" around like only the good fairies have been doing for years. It's raising some fabulous eyebrows.

[image from Dru Jay at Monkeyfist]

Fantastic. Street theatre should be used more in politics in the UK. Some would argue that the reason it isn't is down to the inherent reticence of the population.

I'd argue that its really because mainstream politics here is so theatrical, funny and tragic, that to use theatre would be a form of post-modern irony few could deal with.