I landed in Denver this past Thursday thinking I was simply attending BlogCon, a conference of the top conservative bloggers in the country sponsored by Freedom Works, which is affiliated with the Tea Party movement. But the weekend turned out to be much more than that because twice on Friday and once more on Saturday, the Occupy Denver crowd tried to break into our conference.
The first hint that something might be brewing was Wednesday night when somebody forwarded me some tweets from the Occupy Denver participants that they planned to protest the meeting on Friday after 4 p.m. At the time, Freedom Works was generating its own petition condemning anti-Semitism within the Occupy movement.
By the time we gathered for our first session on Friday the call to protest had gone viral, we were expecting a sizable crowd, and Denver Police and hotel security were on alert. Some of the Jewish bloggers present had decided, that depending when they showed up, we would greet the Occupiers outside with Shabbos candles and kiddush.
The other preparation for our visitors was to purchase a box of Milk Bones for the recently elected canine leader of Occupy Denver, a 3-year-old border collie named Shelby.
Neither idea was to be implemented. At 2 p.m. there was a loud commotion outside the ballroom that housed our meeting. It was the Occupiers shouting, “We are the 99 percent!” It was the first and largest confrontation of three that would occur during the next 24 hours. Many of the bloggers, myself included, went out into the lobby to face them.
Let’s face it, a key reason for the success of the Occupiers across the country is they are treated with undue respect by local politicians and the press, taking them seriously despite the fact thy have no coherent idea of what they are protesting. They are like unchallenged bullies who aren’t big on indoor plumbing.
On the other hand, bloggers make a habit of taking on bullies, in the form of national news media, powerful politicians, or even world leaders. We also make habit of winning. As in most cases when bullies are confronted, the Occupiers didn’t have a chance.
The protesters suddenly found themselves surrounded by a few dozen eager conservatives with cameras. Instead of allowing the Occupiers to provoke us into violence we met them with ridicule. The protesters were shocked; no one had ever mocked them before.
We began to chant “Where’s the Dog?” referring to Shelby, and kept changing the chant to things such as “Breitbart, “ “Pay your bills,” and “Spaghetti,” the Occupy Denver folks were stunned, one of their leaders even started laughing for a moment before he started accusing us of receiving money from the Koch Brothers (to pronounce their names correctly, we started waving cans of Coke at them, explaining that this was the only Koch involved in our convention. After fifteen minutes of the humorous exchange, the occupiers disengaged from the lobby.
Amazingly if the Occupiers had really wanted to get into our discussion hall they would have scouted the hotel. Then they might have realized if they had tried to get in through the parking garage, they would have gotten in to the hotel on the second floor and could slip in without being seen. But it was too late, after the first break in the hotel planted people to guard every portal in the building.
A larger group showed up at 5 p.m. and an even larger one on Saturday afternoon, but thanks to the excellent work of the Denver Police Department and Crowne Plaza’s security team the protesters did not return.
The Freedom Works sponsored BlogCon was supposed to be an opportunity to learn the latest tools available to conservative bloggers. I also had the opportunity to finally understand what the Occupy movement was really about---bullies, propped up by the mainstream media and Democratic Party politicians. Unfortunately for them, my group did not fall for their provocation. We confronted them with truth.
Jeff Dunetz is the Editor/Publisher of the political blog “The Lid” (www.jeffdunetz.com). Jeff lives on Long Island.