Eclectic crowd gathers at SF-styled Tea Party

What happens when you throw Republicans, Libertarians, independents and a former Green Party member into the heart of Democratic San Francisco? If Saturday at the Civic Center was any indication, the answer is not much.

A few hundred activists and devotees of former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, crowded a Civic Center stage to complain about war, taxes and big government. There were businessmen unfurling flags that said, “Don’t Tread On Me,” baby boomers in tie-dyed shirts, tattooed and bearded 20-somethings and a cowboy riding a one-eyed horse.

The scene was in stark contrast to the large, vitriolic crowds that have gathered across the country to oppose Washington, D.C., incumbents but the idea was the same.

John Dennis, a Republican businessman who lives in Pacific Heights, who faces an uphill battle in defeating Rep. Nancy Pelosi, promoted his anti-war stance. He received a warm introduction from former supervisors Tony Hall and Matt Gonzalez — who were often at odds while in office. But for most people at Civic Center, Paul was the main draw.

Debra and David Dingman came from the city of Dixon to attend the rally. Debra Dingman has been trying to convince her husband that Paul’s ideas make him a perfect candidate for president.

“I think there is a major movement across the country, from Republicans and Democrats, who are just fed up with Washington,” she said, then pointed to her husband. “I’m trying to convince him, but he’s not really there yet.”

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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