As a resident of fairly Democratic South Florida, I kept wondering where the hell all these young, clean-cut, rabid, energetic, Republican "protestors" were coming from, monopolizing the media, complete with lots of catchy anti-Gore merchandise, free hot dogs, and the like. They reminded me of the Young Mafia in Snow Crash.

Then I read a Wall Street Journal article today that explained exactly what the deal was.

Seems that several key GOP players, including Rep. Tom DeLay, organized an offer that was just too good for hundreds of Congressional aides and other staffers to refuse: Free airfare, accomodations, and food in Florida - all courtesy of the Bush campaign, in exchange for doing a little "protest" work. To quote the article:

"Many stayed in Hiltons by the beach and received $30 a day for food, as well as an invitation to an exclusive Thanksgiving Day party in Fort Lauderdale."

The article goes on to describe how the GOP-vacationers started in Miami, disrupting and maybe halting the recount efforts there with a door-kicking, window-banging protest, and then moved north with their "recreational vehicle"-based center of operations, disrupting other rallies and recounts as they went, sometimes outnumbering Gore supporters 10 to 1 in predominantly Democratic communities.

So, forget the inconvenience of chaining yourself to things, the annoyance of getting pepper sprayed and beaten by cops, the bother of getting arrested, all for trying to stand up for something you believe in. Instead, protest the Republican way - with a free vacation to Florida.

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