The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Tea Party Express III: Fear and Loathing — and Ann Coulter! — in Las Vegas

Posted on | March 13, 2010 | Comments Off on Tea Party Express III: Fear and Loathing — and Ann Coulter! — in Las Vegas

BUMPED & UPDATED! SUNDAY MARCH 28: We were linked by Her Blondeness yesterday. Unfortunately, security at the Vegas event was so tight that I didn’t get to say “Hello” to her, although I did get to wave at her personal bodyguard, Floyd — shortly before two Las Vegas police officers pulled me aside and frisked me for weapons.

To explain: There was a “no media” policy at the Vegas event — absolutely no reporters allowed inside, and no audio or video recording permitted. Event organizers had not been told to make an exception for Miss Coulter’s personal friends (I scored an e-mail interview with her last week), and so I was forced to resort to pure gonzo methods. Hiding my press credentials in my pocket and tucking my notebook under my arm inside my coat, I stood in line for general admission and prayed I didn’t get searched at the gate.

Alan Choate from the Las Vegas Review-Journal did the same thing, as did at least one other reporter for a major news organization whose identity I cannot reveal due to the admittedly bizarre ethical obligations of our mutual craft). However, I can reveal that I managed to get close to the stage before Ann’s speech, until one of the event volunteers told me I had to leave the “VIP” area. Drat.

When the speech started, I had my digital micro-recorder going (hidden in my hand, which I kept down by my right side) and moved as close to the stage as I could without infringing the “VIP” zone. Floyd the bodygard was at stage left with a wire in his ear, and I managed to catch his attention by waving. That was just about the time my posture and my erratic movements attracted the attention of two LVPD officers. From their vantage point, it looked from a certain angle as if I might have a gun, and I was escorted to the back of the amphitheater where I was beaten with nightsticks, pepper-sprayed and repeatedly tasered . . .

Just kidding. Although I was scared out of my wits, fearing that I would be ejected and my recorder confiscated, once I flashed my press credentials and the cops learned that the bulge in my coat wasn’t a 9mm in a shoulder holster — that I was merely a journalist, not a dangerously deranged psycho like Dylan Ratigan or Keith Olbermann — they lightened up considerably and apologized for the inconvenience.

As a matter of fact, the police never even saw the digital recorder, which I managed to hide in my pocket before they could frisk me, and the recorder was on throughtout my frightening ordeal, so that the entire incident is now preserved on digital audio. I haven’t uploaded or transcribed the audio yet, but when I do you’ll cleary hear one of the cops ask me, “Is that a digital recorder in your pocket . . . or are you just happy to see Ann Coulter?”

ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 13: Yes, you heard that right: Her Blondeness will be in the Las Vegas area March 27 at the Henderson Pavillion:

Grassroots Nevada is pleased to present Ann Coulter for our Saturday, March 27th event in Henderson / Las Vegas. . . .
Ms. Coulter will only be here in Henderson at the Grassroots Nevada event prior to the arrival of the Tea Party Express. The event for Las Vegas will be at the Henderson Pavilion; Gates open at 3:15 pm and show begins at 3:45 pm!

This event is part of the Tea Party Express III tour, which kicks off that morning in Harry Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, Nevada:

Join us for the biggest Tea Party Express national tour to date. Starting March 27, 2010 with a Mega Rally in Searchlight, NV (hometown to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) we will take this message across the nation all the way to the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 15th:
“You, the politicians in Washington, have failed We The People with your bailouts, out-of-control deficit spending, government takeovers of sectors of the economy, Cap & Trade, government-run health care, and higher taxes! If you thought we were just going to quietly go away, or that this tea party movement would be just a passing fad, you were mistaken. We’re taking our country back!”

Here’s the video:

OK, people, here we go. I’ve been planning a trip out West to cover the Senate campaigns against Harry Reid and John McCain, and this chance is too perfect to miss.

After Vegas, the Tea Party Express goes to Phoenix, Arizona, which is home to our good friend, Barbara Espinosa of American Freedom blog. So I can party with our good friend Ann — who is not a stuck-up douchebag like Ross Douthat — and then go check out Barbara’s good friend, J.D. Hayworth.

This is the kind of journalistic expedition that the Shoe Leather Fund has made possible in the past. It’s 2,341 miles to Searchlight, Nev. — 38 hours if I were to drive it non-stop — but Smitty tells me that flights to Vegas are cheap, so maybe I’ll leave the 2004 KIA Optima at home for this trip. Driving or flying, either way it looks like an extraordinarily gonzo trip.

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive….” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. . . .
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Now all we need is a red Chevy convertible.

Hit the tip jar!


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