“Hey, hey Obama, say! How many kids did you kill today!?”
The above quote was a chant led by former Senator Mike Gravel at an anti-Afghan War escalation rally in front of the White House today. Around two hundred upset citizens came out to protest President Barack Obama, and his move to add 30,000 troops to fight in Afghanistan.
Among those in attendance were Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and former Green Party Presidential nominees Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.
The makeup of the rally was mostly an older crowd, with some young people. I would say that the age distribution was somewhat similar to that of the tea party rallies — although the similarities between tea party goers and anti-war protesters basically end with the age ranges except for one person with a “Ron Paul” sticker. Much of the crowd was sporting Green Party gear and had posters voicing their opposition. Among the signs read “War: The Audacity of Compromise”, “Arrest OBusha”, and “I don’t vote because of people like Obama.”
When a crowd member burst out during Nader’s address “What about Bush!?”, Nader replied “it’s a seamless transition” — saying that the war policies of the current president and the last president were the same and both were unacceptable to him. For a small but vocal crowd, Obama is not far enough to the left for them.
If the anti-war movement gains any steam, it could make things problematic for the Democrats in 2010. “They [the Democrats] have nowhere to go politically. We can go for third party candidates or go home,” Nader said.
He then pointed out the threat of a Republican takeover in 2010 as a reason why the Obama coalition would need support from the anti-war wing of the party. The reaction by the crowd was pretty silent on the thought of a Republican takeover, but did give Nader an energetic applause when he concluded his address a few seconds later.
The war movement will need to do better than a couple hundred or so people in order to make much noise politically, and will need to gain favor with some more moderate members of the Democratic Party if it is to have any success. But if casualties rise as the escalation is implemented, then the movement will likely gain some steam and could cause problems for the Obama coalition.
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