While high-profile speakers such as Teresa Heinz Kerry and U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois were giving spirit-lifting speeches from the podium of Boston's FleetCenter on Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, partygoers at local gay bar the Alley were more than willing to trash the likes of George W. Bush amid the dance music and vodka martinis.
About 100 people gathered for the event, sponsored by Bay State Stonewall Democrats, including openly gay Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, who gave his speech from a makeshift platform surrounded by discount-store red, white, and blue bunting. (For the record: The bunting was not purchased at Wal-Mart, because the retailer backs Republicans and is anti-union, an organizer assured Advocate.com.) Many in the crowd had a list of things they hate about George W. Bush.
All Advocate.com had to do was just ask: What do you dislike the most about the man Democrats plan to send home to Crawford, Tex., after Election Day?
"There are so many things to choose from. But let's start with the fact that he's a raging homophobe. All of his policies are about lessening the value of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans," said Tom Barbera, 46, a teacher from Waltham, Mass.
"Gay marriage, that he's so opposed to it, that he's gone out of his way, with a war going on, to focus on amending the Constitution to ban it," said Jeffrey Lewis, 33, a systems analyst from Marshfield, Mass.
"Bush destroyed 75 years of camaraderie with foreign nations by going into Iraq the way he did," commented Jay Joyce, 43, a writer from Marshfield, Mass.
"What he has done to our capacity to advance our quality of life--issues like health care and education--because of tax cuts and the war," said Rep. Barney Frank, 64, of Newton, Mass.
"I believe a president should be smarter than me," said Jason Southerland, 37, an artistic director from Boston.
"His blatant disregard for human life. Just look at the rate of executions when he was governor of Texas, and now how he started a war," said Lloyd Williams, 45, a Boston artist.
"How he brought the country to war, and his arrogance about it. His way of doing it 'my way or the highway.' And the way he governs as if he has a mandate, which he doesn't," said Harish Shivde, 26, a legal assistant from Philadelphia.
"He passes himself off as a common person, which has helped him connect with the American people. But he uses it to his and his party's advantage to the detriment of the country's welfare," according to Jesus Manzano, 31, a firefighter from Milwaukee.
"He was elected as a uniter, not a divider, but his policies don't speak to that. Everything he's done in office has been as a divider. There is such a sense of betrayal because of that," said Jaymie Wetzel, 27, a stockbroker from Providence, R.I.
"That he bases all of his decisions on his religion, and how his religion gets in the way of his positions on issues like marriage and abortion rights," said Christina Maiorano, 28, an infertility coordinator from Providence, R.I.
"That he and his cronies are trying to make mincemeat out of the Constitution," said the Reverend Lesley Phillips, 59, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Cambridge, Mass.
"Just one thing? I have such a list. But the number 1 thing would be his cocky personality," said Kelli Bennet, 24, a Boston forensic psychologist.
"The hypocrisy of it all, like how Republicans are always pushing states' rights, but now with the Federal Marriage Amendment, they want federal intervention on marriage. Really, there is no such thing as a compassionate conservative; it's an oxymoron," declared Shawn Hartman, 26, a college administrator from Boston.
"His utter stupidity. I think he's dumb. You listen to him speak, and he doesn't even sound smart. If it weren't for his father, he would not be where he is today," said Michael Xavier, 30, a Boston attorney.
"I don't like his misunderstanding of tort reform. There is no litigation crisis," said Michael Lennon, 39, an attorney from Boston.
"He's too willing to kill people. And he likes war too much," said Stephen Cunniff, 42, a development coordinator from Boston.
"He has that look in his eyes that I just don't trust," said Ed Duggan, 26, a construction worker from Boston.
"That he's as stupid as he can possibly be. That really pisses me off," said Bob Olsen, 49, a general contractor from Boston.
"That he lacks the capacity to think in three dimensions. He's a very two-dimensional thinker--things are either black or white, good or evil. He thinks the world is that simple, and it's not," said Scott Squillack, 42, an attorney from Charlestown, Mass.
"That he has hijacked morality. He acts as if he and the Republican Party own how we should think about morals and religion in this country. And that's just not right," said Rick Snodgrass, 54, an educator from Chico, Calif.
"The fact that he can't pronounce the word 'nuclear.' I propose a new law: If you can't pronounce the word, you can't use the word," said Dalyn Miller, 32, a book publicist from Boston.