Ridiculously Rich for Rove

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Dec 3 2009

Location: 

Milwaukee WI

In 2009, the College Republicans used tens of thousands of dollars from student fees to bring Karl Rove to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Many groups of activists responded.

Students for a Democratic Society organized a loud demonstration in the "free speech zone" just outside the lecture doors. Wonderfully, many uncoordinated protesters also engaged in acts of civil disobedience to disrupt Rove's speech from the inside. Every couple of minutes, Rove was forced to stop while security forces escorted more and more people from the room (severely depleting the audience). Some simply stood up and began berating Rove for his crimes against humanity. Others loudly answered cell phones.

Borrowing heavily from (directly ripping off) the Billionaires for Bush, a group of "ridiculously rich" Rove supporters welcomed Karl with very loud standing ovations...that never ended.

The event's invitation:

"Oh Hello, Old Chap! Haven't you heard? Our old friend Karl Rove will be making a stop off at UWM on the 3rd of December. Yes, yes, a jolly good fellow, a good egg indeed! What's that you say? No weapons of mass destruction found? Countless civilian casualties? Oh, c'mon, Old Bean, it's simply the cost of doing business. Business, I say! Why you can't very well expect these opportunities to make themselves!! We simply must celebrate Old Rover's visit!! We'll don our finest wears, sip sparkling beverages, and cheer on the ol' bloke! Good show! Jolly good! Now be a good sport and do join us, won't you?"

Rove initially thought the cheers of "Bravo" and renditions of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" were sincere, though as they went on (and on, and on, and on), he and event security eventually recognized the sarcasm and intended shaming. Incidentally, this realization took much longer than Rove's "fans" had anticipated!

This action, in addition to being fun, was a great example of different groups using their preferred tactics (traditional picketing, political theater, generally disruptive shouting) to create a constant, collective disruption. In total, Rove spoke for 32 minutes.

Posted by Dawson Barrett on