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Democrats Plan A Totalitarian Convention

From The Wall Street Journal:

Democrats gear up for greener convention in Denver

By Stephanie Simon
June 30, 2008

DENVER – As the Mile High City gears up to host a Democratic bash for 50,000, organizers are discovering the perils of trying to stage a political spectacle that’s also politically correct.

Consider the fanny packs.

The host committee for the Democratic National Convention wanted 15,000 fanny packs for volunteers. But they had to be made of organic cotton. By unionized labor. In the USA.

Official merchandiser Bob DeMasse scoured the country. His weary conclusion: "That just doesn’t exist."

Ditto for the baseball caps. "We have a union cap or an organic cap," DeMasse says. "But we don’t have a union-organic offering."

Much of the hand-wringing can be blamed on Denver’s Democratic mayor, John Hickenlooper, who challenged his party and his city to "make this the greenest convention in the history of the planet."

Convention organizers hired the first-ever Director of Greening, longtime environmental activist Andrea Robinson. Her response to the mayor’s challenge: "That terrifies me!"  …

[S]he quickly modified the mayor’s goal: She’d supervise "the most sustainable political convention in modern American history." …

To test whether celebratory balloons advertised as biodegradable actually will decompose, Robinson buried samples in a steaming compost heap. She hired an Official Carbon Adviser, who will measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every coffee cup tossed. The Democrats hope to pay penance for those emissions by investing in renewable energy projects.

Perhaps Robinson’s most audacious goal is to reuse, recycle or compost at least 85 percent of all waste generated during the convention.

To police the four-day event Aug. 25-28, she’s assembling (via paperless online signup) a trash brigade. Decked out in green shirts, 900 volunteers will hover at waste-disposal stations to make sure delegates put each scrap of trash in the proper bin. Lest a fork slip into the wrong container unnoticed, volunteers will paw through every bag before it is hauled away.

"That’s the only way to make sure it’s pure," Robinson says…

But Matt Burns, a spokesman for the Republican convention, looks on with undisguised glee at some of the Democrats’ efforts — such as the "lean ‘n’ green" catering guidelines.

Among them: No fried food. And, on the theory that nutritious food is more vibrant, each meal should include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white." (Garnishes don’t count.) At least 70 percent of ingredients should be organic or grown locally, to minimize emissions from fuel burned during transportation. "One would think," says Burns, "that the Democrats in Denver have bigger fish to bake — they have ruled out frying already — than mandating color-coordinated pretzel platters." …

"It’s the new patriotism," Hickenlooper says. ..

But it’s almost inevitable that principles, politics and profit will conflict. To wit: Coors Brewing Co., in Golden, Colo., will donate biofuel made from beer waste to power the convention’s fleet of flex-fuel vehicles. A green star for the convention — but it has rankled die-hard liberals, who boycotted Coors in the 1960s and ’70s to protest hiring practices that they said discriminated against blacks, Latinos, women and gays. Heirs to the Coors fortune have long been active in conservative causes and Republican politics.

Convention officials say Coors is a good corporate citizen. And a Coors spokeswoman says the donation was a gesture of civic pride, not politics.

No matter, grumbles Anna Flynn, a longtime union member from Denver who objected to the donation. "Any way you put it, it’s still Coors," she says…

Robinson, the greening director, says big showy conventions are part of the American political tradition, and thus worth a few emissions here and there. Also, she hates to be a killjoy.

True, she did try (unsuccessfully) to get bottled water banned from the convention hall. But remember those balloons? She checked the compost heap last week — and found them still intact. She has added more liquid to try to get them to degrade.

And if they don’t? "The balloons will be there," she promises.

So will the fanny packs — made in the USA of undyed, organic fabric. DeMasse vows to get a union shop to print the logo, but he says the ink will be petroleum based. Unless, that is, he decides to get the logo embroidered — with biodegradable thread.

But of course like most Democrat rules (and promises) these are made to be broken.

Even so, aren’t these the people you want to see running every aspect of our lives?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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