Darren Richardson

Sept. 5, 2010

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) headlined a rally at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza Saturday to boost the candidacy of Republican John Dennis in his longshot bid to unseat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

An enthusiastic and liberty-minded crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 people welcomed Paul with cheers, sign-waving and generous applause as he urged San Francisco voters to remember the principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Telling the crowd that the philosophy in Washington, D.C., has changed from our Founders’ vision of protecting people from government to government protecting people from themselves, Paul didn’t mince words. “That is very dangerous,” he said, emphasizing the threat to personal freedom and individual rights that has become so prevalent in Washington culture.

Articulating the common-sense message of his non-interventionist foreign policy philosophies, Paul scoffed at the idea being promoted by President Obama that the Iraq War is over. He said that Obama was merely continuing the ideologically flawed Bush Doctrine of “preventive war.”

“Preventive war doesn’t sound quite as bad as ‘aggression,’” Paul said, “but it’s aggression when you go and start wars and kill people because you don’t like them.” He reminded the crowd that many of the same people being targeted for assassination by Special Operations units in Afghanistan today were allies of the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, when they fought against and defeated more than 500,000 Soviet soldiers with material assistance from the U.S. Paul quoted poignant lyrics from 1960s singer-songwriter Phil Ochs and the legendary Buffy St. Marie as he drove his anti-war points home to the receptive crowd.

Weighing on the controversy over the proposed Islamic Cultural Center in New York City, Paul was adamant in his defense of property rights and the First Amendment right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Calling the entire media spectacle surrounding the proposed center “contrived,” Paul said that many of those who oppose it believed that if they could prevent it from being built, “that would mean Islam is guilty.”

Paul also sent a message of support to California voters who support Prop. 19, which would legalize marijuana in the state, by chastising government officials who think it is somehow their duty to monitor what individuals eat, drink or smoke.

And what Ron Paul speech would be complete without urging the crowd to learn more about the Federal Reserve? Paul has authored legislation to audit the Fed - something that is not only long overdue from an accounting standpoint but from the perspective of salvaging the U.S. economy as well.

Sporting a bright yellow shirt and looking fit and feisty as ever, Paul also spoke out against the so-called “bailout” of huge banks that practically held the government hostage with demands and threats in the last few months of the George W. Bush presidency.

“Who got hurt (in the bailout)?” Paul asked rhetorically. “The poor. Who got helped? The banks and the military-industrial complex.” Pelosi, it should be noted, was a staunch supporter of the Bush Bailout even though polls showed most San Franciscans opposed it – at least until the corporate media began pushing the Wall Street talking points that framed it as necessary to save the U.S. economy.

Speaking of corporate media, there was no sign of any reporters or photographers on hand from the city’s leading daily, the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle. Instead of sending someone to cover the rally – held roughly a mile from the Chronicle’s San Francisco offices – the paper published this article on Page C-3 of its Sept. 5 edition instead. [CORRECTION: Earlier editions of this report said the Chronicle did not mention the rally at all; as anyone who reads the aforementioned story can see, Dennis himself mentions it in the interview. Punditty regrets the error and attributes the mistake to writing this report between midnight and 2 a.m. Corrected 9-6-10]

The other city daily, the Philip Anschutz-owned San Francisco Examiner, did publish an article on the event. Still, Punditty has to wonder where the reporter got his crowd estimate. During the middle of Paul’s speech, this reporter made a crowd estimate by stepping away and visually segmenting the area into quadrants of approximately 100 people, counting at least 17 such groupings. Perhaps the Examiner reporter made his crowd estimate early, but his estimate of a "few hundred activitst." was clearly low, as anyone who was there for Paul’s speech can attest.

While this report has focused mostly on former (and future?) presidential candidate Paul, the non-partisan “Principles Over Parties” rally also sought to raise awareness about Dennis. During his address to the crowd, the first-time candidate summed up his motivation for seeking office, saying “It’s all about you running your life, not the government running it for you.”

Additional photographs of the event can be viewed here.

Related Punditty Reports:

Ron Paul to attend S.F. anti-war rally, Aug. 31, 2010

Punditty offers midterm elections predictions: Pelosi's tenure as Speaker will end, Aug. 21, 2010

Midterm Election Fact Sheet, 1962-2010, Aug. 17, 2010

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