by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Republican Party held a rally in the River Market last night featuring a motivational speaker from Florida name of Mike Huckabee. He said Barack Obama will carry the party to a legislative majority this fall. He may be right. The Republican Party is trying to nationalize state politics on the back of the black man in the White House and suspicion of the president here may be high enough to get the job done.
How many times has "Obamacare" been uttered by a Republican candidate or mailing this year? It'd take more fingers and toes than the Republican Party leadership could count. It's a good bet many of the reflexive votes against Obamacare don't understand it or the consequences of overturning it. But that's for the future.
Republican Party math isn't necessarily bankable, on health care or anything else. Party Chair Doyle Webb told reporters 250 people attended the rally. Photos sent from the event last night on Twitter, including by the GOP, seemed to reflect a somewhat smaller crowd. What they lacked in number, they made up in attitude.
Jennifer Pierce, who joined a handful of Occupy Little Rock and other protesters outside the event, estimated the crowd at 100-150. I pass along her report just to give you a flavor of the Republican Party of Arkansas, already evident in GOP efforts to suppress voting by people of the wrong sort. With the GOP, gun rights are a whole lot more absolute than, say, speech rights on a piece of taxpayer-financed government property.
A small group of protesters (Neal Sealy w/ the ACO and 4 occupy members) at the Huckabee fundraiser in the River Market were told they couldnt be next to the pavilion and were to stop walking through the park.
A Tim Griffin supporter asked if we had a permit and took pictures of us as "evidence"? There were several of the usual interactions with attendees who passed by us, including one who said us protesters were "probably" on food stamps. The fundraiser didn't have a huge turnout (maybe 100-150?) and hardly anyone was even there for the band playing (Luke Williams I think) when we attempted a second walk-through closer to the pavilion.
Below [in the photograph] are protesters occupying near the entrance to the fundraiser before continuing to walk back to Clinton Ave. Shortly after this picture, a River Market employee came out trying to stop us again because it was private property?! We continued our walk-through and police were called over.
We remained here the rest of the time.