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Inside the System

August 6, 2004 | Page 7

"Move it, you balloons"

HUNDREDS OF thousands of balloons were packed into the rafters of the Fleet Center to be dropped after John Kerry finished his acceptance speech. But apparently, the balloons didn't cooperate.

And the Democrats' convention producer, Don Mischer, nearly had a heart attack over it. Mischer's...uh...commands to the balloons to fall faster were caught on live TV by CNN.

"All right, go balloons, go balloons," he ranted. "We need more balloons. All balloons! All balloons! Keep going! Come on, guys, let's move it. Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go, goddammit.

"Go confetti. Go confetti. More confetti. I want more balloons. What's happening to the balloons? We need more balloons. We need all of them coming down. Go balloons...balloons? What's happening, balloons? There's not enough coming down!

"All balloons, what the hell! There's nothing falling! What the fuck are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down, more balloons. More balloons. More balloons!"

--San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 2004

Democrats throw Whoopi to the wolves

THE DEMOCRATS can't take a joke--even when it's aimed at the Republicans. Republican Party attack dogs went nuts after a performance by Whoopi Goldberg at a recent fundraising event for John Kerry in New York City.

Goldberg peppered her performance with four-letter words and sexual references--and was blasted by the Republican National Committee, which called the event a "hatefest" and denounced Kerry for associating himself with such material.

Did the Democrats rise to Whoopi's defense? Did they defend her right to free speech--since, after all, she helped rake in huge amounts of cash for the Kerry campaign? Of course not.

Rumor has it that Democratic leaders informed her that she was no longer welcome to attend the Democratic National Convention. And in the wake of the Whoopi scandal, comedian Margaret Cho was "uninvited" from the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Unity 2004 event being held near the Democratic National Convention.

Originally asked to headline the event, which was supposed to "celebrate GLBT strength and unity," HRC spokesperson Steven Fisher said her performance would have diverted the event's message away from the organizers' aim of helping to elect John Kerry president. "The one who wanted Margaret Cho the most was probably [Bush administration political adviser] Karl Rove," Fisher added. "The type of message of distraction she would provide is what Rove would like."

"I'm not surprised at the reversal in light of how the Kerry campaign distanced itself from Whoopi's routine in response to the unrelenting media hype and Republican criticism," said Cho's manager, Karen Taussig. "It's Whoopi's job as a comedian to say things that are sometimes shocking. I wish they could have backed her up.

"Dennis Miller can make gay jokes about Senators Kerry and Edwards at a recent Bush rally in Wisconsin to a complete absence of media scrutiny. No one demanded a tape of that event or alleged that his comments as a comedian might reflect poorly on Bush."

--Washington Blade, July 30, 2004

Heard it through the grapevine

"I THINK I can do a better job than George Bush. I can fight a more effective war on terror."
--John Kerry

"I AM going to bring Corporate America to the table to say: How do we make you more competitive? How do we get out of your way? Research-and-development tax credits? I'd make them permanent and larger. Manufacturing tax credits? That's a smart way to help."

"YOU'RE GOING to see more veterans, more patriotism, more talk about protecting our country. You're going to think you're looking at a Republican convention."
--Anonymous Democratic Party leader to the New York Times

"REPORTERS VISITING the hospitality suite of one [Democratic] group, ACT, based at the Four Seasons and affiliated with Harold Ickes, who once ran Jesse Jackson's campaign, were chased away and told, 'We have wealthy donors to protect.'"
--New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd

"I CANNOT slip a Kleenex between the Bush and Kerry positions on Iraq. On the economy they're all governed by the same international flows of capital, the same bond market anxieties."
--Conservative pundit George Will

"WE NEED John Kerry to restore life to the Global War on Terrorism."
--Jimmy Carter

"SINCE WE'RE all in the same boat, we should choose a captain of our ship who is a brave good man. Who knows how to steer a vessel through troubled waters, to the calm seas and perfect skies of our more perfect union."
--Bill Clinton

"THEY GAVE two huge tax cuts, nearly half of which went to the top 1 percent of us. Now I'm in that group for the first time in my life."

"THIS IS not going to be about attacking George Bush."
--Democratic Party National Chair Terry McAuliffe

"COME JOIN Ben Affleck and shoot some pool and share cocktails at Jillian's Sports Bar, located minutes away from Fenway Park."
--From the special agenda for fat cat contributors to the Democratic Party

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