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August 29, 2005
Camp Casey Diary From A CQ Reader

CQ reader Curtis Loftis decided to check out the digs at Camp Casey firsthand, trekking to Crawford for a couple of days to see how the anti-war demonstrations have been staged for himself. He sent me this e-mail on his return with his thoughts and observations. I thought it might interest the rest of the CQ community.

Two Days In Camp Casey:
A Conservative's odyssey in the belly of the beast.

I arrived at the original Camp Casey at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was hot and dry and the assembled demonstrators were in a melancholy state. I quickly made friends, stressing cocktail conversation, not political discussion. My goal was not confrontation, but a desire to understand what was actually happening here in Crawfordand being incognito was the only way this would happen.

After bonding with several nice ladies from the central coast of California, I drove with these new buddies to the larger, tented camp where Ms. Sheehan and Company was to be found. There I found a well funded, well orchestrated public relations campaign, run by media professionals complete with the highest quality electronic equipment available. From Satellite trucks and cell phone to wireless computer access, every modern convenience to enhance the message was thereand being used by left wing, socialist and Marxist (self-described) media representatives and Bloggers.

The environment was collegial, and everyone had a purpose. There were rules such as no drinking, no bad behavior and the like that were ruthlessly enforced. Everyone had to be on message, and the message was the point of everythingstray from the message and you are out. Even the protesters signs were monitored less they distract from the message.

Most of the Sheehan protesters were either professional (paid staff of Fenton Communications or the radical organization Code Pink or the like), or were long time protesters, some admitting to beginning vigils against the government as early as 1965. I had conversations with approximately 50 of these people over 48 hours, and all seemed like interesting and engaging people. We talked sports, and cars and how wonderful California is, and just about everything that could be discussed without my divulging that I am a conservative. But when scratched just a little with some mild political talk, they all responded the same wayit is Americas fault. No matter what the issue, each and every one of them had the same defaultbad things are Americas fault.

Toward the end of my time there, I decided to innocently toss into the conversation different issues just to elicit a response. One issue I politely deposited into our talks was of the peasant unrest in rural China, and the brutality shown to the peasants by the government and their hired thugs. There response to this problem waswell, look how we treated the blacks in America, or, gays are being beaten everyday in America.

So the clich of the hate America crowd is indeed true. It is as if the protesters were intellectually bulimic, and having ingested all of the hate America bile, they looked forward to regurgitating it as a show of their steadfastness to their cause of peace and love.

Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point. During one conversation I had with her I tried to ask her a pointed question about how much time she would actually be on the bus tour to Washington. (I had discovered she would only be on the tour for two days, and would be away giving speeches during the rest of the tripand I wondered if she were being paid for these speeches.) Her media person grabbed her arm and led her back to the trailer, and away from me. The message was protected. I was left standing therealone, and feeling a little less secure about my status at Camp Casey.

But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling, and performing for the cameras. Like the chicken at the local carnival that plays tic tac toe, she eagerly performs for any microphone. She is relentless, and professional, well financed and on message.

And the message is All things bad are Americas fault.

Curtis gave me permission to post this with just a couple of grammatical edits and with his full name.

UPDATE: Rusty Shackleford has another letter from one of his readers that visited the counterprotest from Move America Forward. She notes that several Sheehan supporters infiltrated the rally and disrupted it, unlike Curtis.

UPDATE II: Curtis also reads Power Line, apparently...well, who doesn't?

UPDATE III: Brian Maloney interviewed Curtis for the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has also now posted the essay. Unfortunately, it's not exclusive, although Brian didn't know that when he posted it.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 29, 2005 6:30 PM

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» Camp Casey from Area417
A conservative gets an inside look at Camp Casey. Link: Captain's Quarters. [Read More]

Tracked on August 29, 2005 7:19 PM

» Overheard at Camp Casey: "Cindy Sheehan, You are Getting Us Killed!" from The Jawa Report
A reader named Melissa participated in last weekends Move America Forward rally at The Shrine of the Perpetual Lady of Mourning, otherwise known as Camp Casey. Here are some of her observations, you can leave comments for her below. We'll... [Read More]

Tracked on August 29, 2005 7:32 PM

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