Dog Day Afternoon in Austin: Moratorium Demonstrators Shake Off Rain In Street Theater Bid to Curb “Corn Dog” Cornyn
By Thorne Dreyer
Austin — A tall lean George W. Bush pushes a wooden dog on wheels up and down a rainy Austin sidewalk. The dog has the face of Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. A seven-foot tall Scooby Doo holds out a placard to passing motorists. It proclaims, “Curb Corn Dog Cornyn.”
A bandana-adorned shaggy dog of the standard variety shakes off the rain and accepts an organic dog treat from a woman whose t-shirt says “Bark for Peace.” A man with a dog snout, a “Beware of Dog” sign hanging from his neck, joins a contingent of pink poodles from CodePink in a group howl and a chant of “Bring Cornyn Home.”
In Austin it rained on Iraq Moratorium Day, but it didn’t keep the Movement for a Democratic Society/Austin from “bringing out the dogs.” Some 50 demonstrators dressed in dog costumes, many with legitimate canines in tow, joined in a lively bit of street theater outside the downtown Austin offices of Sen. John Cornyn, the conservative Republican senator from Texas, from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.
Their stated purpose: to “Curb the Corn Dog” – “Corn Dog” is President Bush’s nickname for Sen. Cornyn – and to shine a light on Cornyn’s reactionary record and his role as the president’s loyal “lap dog.”
Severe thunderstorm warnings and falling rain that broke a month-long Austin drought cut significantly into the expected crowd and curtailed some of the planned activities, but it did little to stop the zany exuberance of the demonstrators.
As the rain downsized to an occasional drizzle, they passed out “Barking Points” that detailed Sen. Cornyn’s dismal record on such issues as the War in Iraq, torture, civil liberties and affordable health insurance for children. The flyer noted that Cornyn has been rated the fourth most conservative U.S. senator by the nonpartisan National Journal, and it listed by name 28 national civic organizations that give Cornyn a score of “0” and two more that fail him with a grade of “F.”
And, the protestors pointed out, Sen. Cornyn’s standing in the Texas polls is “lower than a parcel of puppy poop.”
The theatrical demonstration was organized by MDS/Austin — mds-austin wiki – with CodePink, Texas Labor Against the War, the Iraq Moratorium National Committee, The Rag Blog and SDS-UT/Austin as cosponsors.
A doghouse neatly crafted from a large cardboard box juts out from the street-level plate glass window of the Chase Tower building on W. Sixth Street in downtown Austin, Texas. In its door is the image of a basset hound bearing the facial features of Pres. George Bush’s pet senator. Above the door is a sign reading: “Offices of Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.”
And, as far as the growling pack of protesters is concerned, that’s exactly where Corn Dog Cornyn deserves to be: in the doghouse.
Photos by Carlos Lowry/MDS Austin