Anti-stimulus protest staged at Colo. Capitol
By John Ingold
The Denver Post
As President Barack Obama's pen touched paper today to make the federal stimulus bill law, hundreds of people rallied on the west side of the Colorado Capitol to decry the stimulus as irresponsible.
Protesters chanted, "No more pork!" and a few wore costume pig noses. They waved giant $30,000 novelty checks, representing the amount they said the stimulus would cost individual taxpayers.
Speakers, including numerous state Republican politicians and conservative activists, blasted the stimulus as unwanted government intrusion into taxpayers' pockets.
"We believe we can spend our money better than the government can!" Jon Caldara, president of the Golden-based think tank the Independence Institute, shouted to the crowd.
Many in the crowd professed great skepticism about whether the stimulus would spur the economy.
"I just think there's no stimulus here," said Peter Paulos of Denver. "It's all pork barrel, and I think there are some hidden measures in it. Nobody really read the bill."
Jim Pfaff, the Colorado state director of Americans for Prosperity, said the stimulus is massive deficit spending that will put the nation further into debt and will have to be paid off eventually.
"We're taking money from current and future taxpayers, giving it to winners chosen by the government and saying there's going to be a return on the investment," Pfaff said after the rally. "To me, that looks like a Ponzi scheme."
The crowd that assembled for the rally was an eclectic one. There were party operatives and moms with children in tow. There were anti-illegal-immigration activists and self-described libertarians. One man was asking crowd members if they wanted to be interviewed for a "renewable-energy comedy show." Another man stood in the middle of the crowd after the rally shouting things such as: "And by the way, Obama, where's your birth certificate?"
Barb Neville of Littleton brought her pet pig, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Nathan, to the rally.
"He's against pork," she laughed. "He says 'no' pork."
And amid all this, liberal activist Michael Huttner and a colleague carried around a sign blaming the bad economy on Republicans, dubbing it the "Bush/Penry Recession," in reference to the former President George W. Bush and new Colorado Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction.
"George Bush and the Republicans have spent eight years creating this mess," Huttner said in an e-mail put out by his ProgressNow Colorado. "It's about time Penry and the Republicans start cleaning up the mess that they created."
After the rally, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin and others stood off to the side, serving rallygoers overstuffed barbecue sandwiches.
Pork, of course.