There's a definite tension at Take Back America preceding Hillary Clinton's 8:15 (or whenever she shows up) speech. Organizer Robert Borosage warms up the crowd to announce the delay and very, very politely warn against disruption. "We owe them our courteous attention," he says, referring to Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, and John Kerry. "Please be aware that they know this is an important crowd to be with and we want to listen and have respect for what they have to say."

Right before the speech a couple of dudes in the third row rise up and unfurl a homemade banner scrawled the message "Impeach Bush." It's more predictable, if possible, than a fat guy yelling "Whipping Post!" at the all-acoustic cover band opening for Eagles of Death Metal, but it sends photographers scurrying until a Hotel attendant grabs banner and hoofs it back to the bagel table.

One of the organizers for Draft Gore is speculating on the reception Hillary will get. "I really hope she doesn't get heckled or booed," he says. "I just plan to give her tepid applause." There are murmurs of agreement. There's no apparant upside for her in coming here.

And then, after an interminable introduction about Hillary's work on everything except the Iraq war, here she is.

There are some boos; Code Pink and other activists have moved themselves up front, so it sounds like half the room is angry, but the ratio is more like one in 50. However, the speech has been carefully written to minimize the loud anti-warriors. The long, long first section is about the meager successes of the Democrats in Congress; i.e., stopping stuff from passing. Hillary is proud to have stopped the GOP "from writing discrimination into the Constitution" and from eliminating the estate tax. Huge applause. "We've got to elect more Democrats." Huge applause—that way we'll really not eliminate the estate tax! There are promises of "health care for children" (why not lazy twentysomethings?) and flex time for moms and a minimum wage hike. There's one wonderfully discordant note when she talks about the national debt. "In the top 10 holders of American debt, guess who just broke in?" Pregnant pause. "Mexico."

Clinton spends about three minutes discussing the need to get Muslim kids out of Madrassahs, and gets no applause until she reframes the issue in terms the Villagers understand: "We're going to help send children to school." And that precedes the Iraq section, which, surprisingly, Clinton decides to linger on. As soon as she starts talking about our troops and "keeping faith with them," there are shouts of "Bring 'em home." That stops her for maybe half a second, but she continues elucidating her non-position on the war, almost feeding off the angry rump of activists. "I'm just going to say it," she says, as if she's explaining why the kids can't have ice cream for dinner. "I do not think it is a smart strategy either for the president to continue with his open-ended policy nor to set a date certain."

This is interrupted by shouts, but really, not that many. Exactly two activists are angry enough to stand up and flash the peace signs—seeing no one else mustering the courage to join them, they decide the smart-looking thing to do is stand that way for the rest of the damn speech.

After it finally wraps up and they don't have to compete with the sound system any more, the anti-war attendees multiply and chant "Stop the war, Hillary!" Fox News hurridly collects A-roll footage as Robert Borosage runs back to the podium to save face.

"Thank you for the… curious reception of our audience."

NEXT: FDA Causes An Abortion — The Plan B Saga Continues

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. all due respect, this is a boring, pointless post

  2. Probably because it was about a boring, pointless speech.

  3. And the thread starts off with a boring pointless comment. Trifecta!

  4. “It’s more predictable, if possible, than a fat guy yelling ‘Whipping Post!’ at the all-acoustic cover band opening for Eagles of Death Metal”

    Hit & Run — serving you impenetrably vague pop culture references for over three years!

  5. Yes, please explain that Whipping Post reference.

  6. What would Ms Clinton have to say about this?

    On June 10th, just after the discovery of three suicides at Guantanamo, the Rear Admiral in charge of the ‘concentration camp’ there had this to say: “They’re smart, they’re committed, they’re creative; have no respect for human life, neither ours nor their own. I believe that this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymetrical warfare agaist us…”

    [played on DemocracyNow! yesterday, June 12th]

  7. Yes, please explain that Whipping Post reference.

    I love the Wikpedia.

  8. Yes, please explain that Whipping Post reference.

    I love the Wikipedia.

  9. A boring pointless post about a boring pointless speech given by a boring pointless hussey….

  10. A boring pointless post about a boring pointless speech given by a boring pointless hussey….

  11. The point of the post was to expose the boring pointlessness of the Democratic front runner. I thought David did a fine job.

  12. Hillary is almost the last serious national Dem. No wonder the left wants her purged.

    As much as her health-care position scares me, if she remains a hawk and takes a serious libertarian position like a major policy review of the failed drug war, she’d probably get my vote.

    Meanwhile… FREEBIRD!!

  13. eagles of death metal suck too fucking much to cover a balls out awesome tune like whipping post.

    now, bardo pond…yeah! i wanna hear a sitar/drone version of that shit.

  14. “Yes, please explain that Whipping Post reference.”

    Actually, there’s a little more to the reference than the link would tell you. Some dude in the audience calls out the name of the song before the band starts playing. For some reason, (probably just the novelty of it being left of the live album), in the long hazy mythology of the 70’s this moment was seen as worth of emulation and it became de rigeur at just about any concert you went to for the obligatory shout of “Whippin’ Post”. Frank Zappa sealed the deal by actually obliging the designated shouter at one of his shows and having his band perform the Allman Bros. tune. Since then, it’s gone down as one of those typically inane, ironic things people who came of age in the 70’s say to signal coolness to their peer group.

  15. The fact that the nutjobs don’t like her is a strength in a national election. It may even be a strength in a primary season where the Ds just want to win. Being booed by leftists is good TV for any serious politician. Look at the Tradesports numbers if you want to see how Hillary is really doing. Scroll down to Hillary — she is far and away the frontrunner.

  16. And the thread starts off with a boring pointless comment. Trifecta!

    Is it a trifecta, or more of a hat trick?

  17. The Whipping Post/Free Bird phenomenon is, sadly, not a new one. I grew up playing in a bluegrass band, in constant dread of the moment when that same drunk fat guy would yell, “ROCKY TOP!”. Very impressive way to demonstrate his grasp of the genre. Less effective, though, if the band just finished playing: Rocky Top. Yes, this did actually happen. Not long after that I switched from banjo to a Fender Strat.

  18. I’d never heard the “Whipping Post” thing before, but I yelled out “Freebird!” at a poetry reading once, after the poet said, “I am also in a band, and I am always surprised at how quietly the poetry reading audiences respond compared to the audiences for my band.”

  19. Thanks Frank. I know Whipping Post. I had forgotten the Zappa link. It was the whole Eagles of Death Metal thing that threw me.

  20. “Saint Stephen” was a joke yell-out at Dead shows, since apparently they played it once (AFAIK) early on in their careers, and then said publically they’d never do so again, cause it was just too damn hard.

    [I think they may have in fact played it again.. but the myth of ‘the song they wont ever play’ was certainly popular.]

    Regarding Hilary, and the post…

    the whole event seems like a microcosm of the Democratic party in general. Incoherent, unispiring, pockmarked with irrational non-sequiturs, some feel-good platitudes, avoiding anything remotely having to do real solutions to real problems…

    If it came down to Hilary vs. McCain, are the Reason staff pretty universally staying home? Curious what people think of that scenario.



  21. In the “Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall” live album, recorded in the…late ’60s, I think…some dipstick (no doubt a fat guy) keeps yelling “Martha White!” into the silence between numbers. Ummm…it was an advertising jingle. Did I just Hee-Haw on the pop culture reference?

  22. “I do not think it is a smart strategy either for the president to continue with his open-ended policy nor to set a date certain.”

    Am I the only one left confused?

  23. If it came down to Hilary vs. McCain… sales of booze would skyrocket.

  24. JayJ,
    Too bad you didn’t think of this song first (particularly the second stanza).

  25. The Allman Brother’s “Whippin’ Post” is about the greatest song ever recorded. No other rock band’s guitar-leads slips into the world of Lydian Chromaticism. Frikkin’ awesome!

  26. Tyrone,

    The whole thing is confusing. Like, why did Hilary think the fact that Mexico holds U.S. debt would be some kind of bombshell? And does the crack about the failure of the anti-gay marriage amendment mean Hilary is for legalizing gay marriage?

    It is probably for the best (from Hilary’s point of view) to remain vague like this. People who are pissed about Mexican immigration will hear that Mexico line and think Hilary has acknowledged thier concerns, while people who think anti-immigration types are racists will just think she is pointing this out as part of an attack on overspending. (Though, if Hilary thinks we are overspending, I wonder what she would advocate cutting?) She can build a coalition more easily by allowing people to project their own beliefs on her than she can by laying down very clear policy prescriptions and ideological stands and offending a bunch of people.

  27. Now, compare this to the reception Condi Rice will get from the Southern Baptists tomorrow.

    But I pity Hillary, I do. Unlike Rice, she’s found a way to wear out her welcome among the activists. Rice has been coy enough to keep her political ambitions under wraps. Hillary is too MEMEME to keep from picking the China pattern for her stay at 1600 Pennsylvania.

    The Kos Kids are already looking for a way to toss her overboard. This wouldn’t matter in a general election, but in a Democratic Primary, she will have to face her old nemesis, Al Gore, an exhumed Richard Nixon come back from the dead to walk the earth like a Zombie from Hell. Though a Zombie, Gore can beat her.

  28. JayJ,

    “Rocky Top” is an abomination and shall never be mentioned here again. I, the alumni, and the current student body of the University of Florida have spoken. And Fulmer is a lardass.*

    * In case you are wondering, I am singlehandedly responsible for Instapundit not allowing comments. No idea why that would be. Okay, I’m kidding, but it could’ve been true.


    I’m on record saying that neither Clinton nor McCain will even win the nomination, but if it does come down to them, I’m moving to Middle Earth.

  29. John Eddie has a great song, Play Some Skynard, on Who The Hell Is John Eddie? that addresses the Freebird-shouting yahoos.


  30. “If it came down to Hilary vs. McCain… sales of booze would skyrocket.”

    No. If it came to Hilary vs McCain, sales of tickets to Australia would skyrocket.

  31. dhex, great call on Bardo Pond. They were a frequent headliner/supporting act at my old frat house at UPenn. Weird sentence, huh?

  32. Gore, a centrist Democrat who was a hawk when the term meant something other than fanatical sycomphancy over the Iraq War (he actually sponsored a bill to create a new king of nuclear missile in the 80s) won 68% of the vote in a Daily Kos straw poll for the Democratic nomination in 2008. 68%.

    Which makes sense, considering he’s the only available Democratic candidate ever to win a presidential election.*

    *Yadda yadda yadda.

  33. That should say “kind of nuclear missile.”

    I’m really not some kind of Dr. Strangelove sicko.

  34. If it came down to Hilary vs. McCain, are the Reason staff pretty universally staying home? Curious what people think of that scenario.

    In that case I’d write joe’s name on the ballot and turn it in. Then I’d go get rip roaring drunk.

    If it came to Hilary vs McCain, sales of tickets to Australia would skyrocket.

    Okay, but I suggest we do this in an orginized fashion.

    What we really need to do is pick some reasonably weakly defended island nation, invade and conquer, then declare it a true libertarian paradise. Any natives who don’t like it get a free ticket to Europe.

    New Zealand comes to mind, but Australia might not be bad either if there were enough of us.

    Or, we could go get some of Ron Bailey’s magic nanotech dust and have it create an island for us somewhere in the middle of the pacific. It’d be a self-made libertarian paradise. Once we were moved in, we could give our leftover magic nano dust to Ruthless and he could go make a smaller island to be an anarchist paradise.

    Then we can start a booming trade in nano dust for coconuts with all the pacific island natives.

    See, the solution to most of our political problems is that the world needs more islands. We can put different political systems on each island, and you can hop islands as you grow disillusioned with where you’re living.

  35. Personally, I find that “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” to be a more sublime example of the musical wizardry of Duane Allmon and Dickey Betts than “Whipping Post”, and I find that Hillary’s new image as a champion of the center to be yet another incarnation of the “Woman Who Would Be President”. Remember that she and the “left-wing nut-jobs” agreed about more things than they disagreed about.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.