Michigan is not exactly known for being a safe place. It was a particularly
dangerous city this past week when all ten Democratic candidates for president
gathered at the Fox Theater for a televised debate. I showed up outside the
theater with a bunch of fellow young conservatives from Hillsdale College
to protest the Democrats.
As The Reverend Al Sharpton emerged from his limo at a side door, some of
us college students approached him, shouting "Bush, Bush, Bush." I wanted
to meet The Good Reverend, but he carried himself in a dignified manner through
the door, his portly figure accented by the bright red handkerchief tucked
in his coat pocket. I am half tempted to cast my vote as a Democrat for Reverend
Sharpton in the primary election next year, knowing that his nomination would
result in the most entertaining presidential campaign season in the history
of the United States.
Then Howard Dean drove up. I walked forward with my press pad opened to a
blank page and asked the Democratic frontrunner for a signature. He gruffly
stopped and applied pen to paper, then entered the theater. Maybe I'll sell
the scribble to a die-hard liberal someday.
During the debate, the candidates divided their time arguing over who had
been most consistently liberal and over who hates President Bush the most.
Outside along Woodward Avenue, an eleventh Democratic candidate was protesting
because the debate officials wouldn't let him inside. Don Hackett, who has
run for president every year since 1988, says that his first platform issues
are to lower the cost of Viagra and to remove special interest money from
the political arena. Mr. Hackett came over to my group of pro-Bush College
Republicans with his hand-scribbled campaign sign and began screaming various
slogans such as, "Bush is Adolph Hitler," and "Get big money out of campaigns."
After the debate had concluded, the candidates left the Fox Theater. John
Kerry made his way out to a press campout with a small brigade of burly bodyguards.
General Wesley Clark hopped in his motorcade. And a few friends and I met
Carol Moseley-Braun, one of the more friendly candidates in this race.
We walked over to where the scrawny Leftist wacko, Congressman Dennis Kucinich,
was making his way to an SUV to escape the mean streets of Detroit. Kucinich
was keeping a brief pace and a look of anxiety filled his face. He quickened
his step, and I soon discovered a homeless man was pursuing him for money.
I walked up to Dennis Kucinich, known by the owners of www.kucinich.com as
the elfish spokesman of the Keebler Company, and shook his hand. "Hello Congressman,"
I said, "Good to meet you." It was clear that he wasn't really in the mood
to be friendly. His handshake was weak, his beady eyes avoided mine and he
Then, suddenly pointing back at the homeless man, Kucinich said, "Hey, can
you help this guy -- he's homeless and he needs some money. " Two months
ago, Kucinich demanded a Justice Department investigation of violence against
the homeless. And over the past few years, Kucinich has taken home millions
of dollars in taxpayer pork to redistribute to homeless special interest
groups in his district.
So Kucinich himself solidified the homeless vote by forking over some bucks
for the homeless man, effectively buying off his vote. "I'm gonna vote for
this guy here -- he's a good person," the homeless man told me.
The homeless man noticed that a Hillsdale student was taking pictures, so
he decided it would be fun to have a group photo with his favorite candidate.
"Hey, let's all get together and have a group picture," exulted the homeless
man, "let's have a group picture." So we all surrounded the Congressman and
compelled a nearby man wearing a "Kucinich for President" shirt to snap a
After the Keebler Elf had moved on, one young conservative in my party decided
to take up Dennis Kucinich on his suggestion. He handed some cash to the
homeless man on the condition that he cast his vote to re-elect George W.
Bush. "Sure," said the man of the streets, "I'm gonna vote for that guy --
he's a good man!"
Hans Zeiger is a Seattle Times
columnist and conservative activist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition
and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan.