Occupying the New Hampshire primary

A Wedding and Four Funerals
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 11, 2012

IN THE RUNNING Would you really throw away your vote on Romney or Paul when you could vote for a man with a boot on his head?

The nation's first presidential primary isn't new terrain for activists. From anti-Vietnam crusades in 1968, to collegiate battalions fighting nukes in the '80s, to Bush bashers eight years ago — protesters have rocked the Granite State as much as the frigid weather there has permitted. So it's of no surprise to anyone — other than right-wing talkers who've declared them dead and irrelevant — that hundreds of Occupiers flocked to the state that could pick their next oppressor. Considering the oddly warm recent temperatures, it was a no-brainer.

In the weeks leading up to New Hampshire, activists had connected through conference calls and social media, pooling resources in order to amplify their message at the quadrennial circus. Once on the ground, by Friday Occupiers from as far as Washington, DC, and even Las Vegas had transformed Veterans Memorial Park — smack in the heart of downtown Manchester — into a full-service operation, complete with tents for everything from media to medical. From there, they got to relentlessly bird-dogging candidates and riling conservatives all the way through an encore flash mob on Tuesday afternoon.

"This has been my dream for years," says perennial presidential candidate Vermin Supreme. An anarchist godfather in these parts, Supreme says the primary's been an increasingly popular protest destination, but at times also a "clusterfuck" of different causes. Occupy, he says, puts a number of those forces in the same tent. "I've been trying to get people to occupy the primary for years, and this is bigger and better than I've ever seen it. The movement's caught up with my vision. . . . I'm surging in spilling Santorum."


Though the first official Occupy the Primary general assembly isn't for days, the onslaught pops off less than 12 hours after the Iowa caucus results come in. With Ron Paul taking a much-needed rest, and Rick Santorum greasing South Carolina voters, the obvious target is Iowa winner Mitt Romney, who's speaking at Manchester Central High School with his new friend and sidekick, Senator John McCain.

Like a starter pistol for primary protesters, Manchester native and Occupy soldier Mark Provost — announcing himself as part of the movement — asks the first question after Romney wraps up his half-hour of war-mongering and China-bashing. Long-winded and hollow-tipped, the inquiry— impugning Romney's controversial statements about corporate personhood — rattles the candidate, who'd been otherwise composed for his post-Iowa victory lap.

Responding to Provost, Romney assumes his patronizing CEO persona with a speech on the birds and bees of job creation. He's shook having to answer a peasant, but a follow-up question on health care proves easier to tee-off on; Romney realizes that the woman's reading from a script, and knocks her off balance before ramming his stump down her throat. The Occupiers aren't done, though, and Provost continues interrupting out of turn until McCain scolds him like an old man who finds his grandson in his dildo drawer.


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