By Kylee Dawson
KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Second-year law student Michael Bird receives information from Phil T. Rich, a member of Billionaires for Bush, yesterday on the UA Mall.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Democratic and Republican students got more than an earful when the Billionaires for Bush set up a table on the UA Mall yesterday morning.
Members of the satirical political group, including three UA students and one UA faculty member, pretended to support President George W. Bush by highlighting how his policies have favored the wealthy.
With picket signs that read, "Corporations are People Too," "Leave No Billionaire Behind," and "Four More Wars," the Billionaires attracted much attention while dressed as billionaires and dancing to comedic political songs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sporting faux diamond rings, women wore fancy dresses and men wore dress pants, shirts and ties.
Approximately 40 UA students signed up to become members of the Tucson chapter of Billionaires for Bush, which is headed by Joyce Kelly, aka Joyls Furoyl, and Joe Calahan, aka Tex Shelters.
Students, such as Kyle Hallstrom, aka Uppin McCashflow, a creative writing senior, dressed up as billionaires and helped campaign on the Mall.
Grace Fama, aka Gracie Palms, is a psychology senior and joined Billionaires for Bush in September.
"As far as on campus, I really want to give UA students a chance to see what they could be voting for and what they could be voting against," Fama said.
Iwanna Cash, a UA faculty member who asked not to be identified, said the Billionaires for Bush policy requires that there be a faculty adviser if college students wish to join the organization.
"This is democracy at work," Cash said. "I'm glad to see such a large crowd of students who see the irony."
Andrew Boyd, aka Phil T. Rich, one of the cofounders of the group who said there are now over 90 Billionaires for Bush chapters nationwide.
He said Billionaires for Bush's method of campaigning is "a very compelling kind of politics" because it is creative, intelligent and respects the political views of others.
"We make people laugh and at the same time we make our point, that George Bush has sided with the wealthy, " Boyd said.
We make people laugh and at the same time we make our point, that George Bush has sided with the wealthy.|
- Andrew Boyd, cofounder of Billionaires for Bush
Boyd also said Bush's policies have favored corporations such as Enron and Halliburton and have neglected education, health care, the environment and national security.
Boyd said the Billionaires have really enjoyed their road trip in the southwest and have had many engaging conversations with Democrats and Republicans in Arizona, which he calls "the Ground Zero of the election" because it is a swing state.
Boyd is one of four members on part of the Limo Tour. Jesse Tendler, aka Noah Countability, Marco Ceglie, aka Monet Oliver d'Place, and Christina Linhardt, aka Debbie Taunt were also along for the ride.
Joe Marotta, aka Cole Powers, is a physics and philosophy doctoral student who joined the organization after seeing the Billionaires for Bush Web site.
"I got involved with Billionaires for Bush because I thought it would be a fun way to protest the president's economic policies," Marotta said. "Politically, I disagree with a lot of the policies of this administration, and I think the economic policies are particularly bad. So when I read about Billionaires for Bush, I realized that parody and satire would be great tools to use to inform people about the president's economic policies while protesting them."
Other students did see the humor in Billionaires for Bush, but disagreed with their message.
Peter Seat, a theater arts senior, is the UA College Republicans state chairman and said the message of Billionaires for Bush is inconsistent with the facts.
"The reality is that there is only one billionaire in this race and that's John Kerry," Seat said.
Seat said the average donation to the Republican Party is $45, while the average donation to Democrats is more than $1,000, according to the Republican and Democratic National Committees.
David Martinez, a communication sophomore and member of the UA Young Democrats, said the Billionaires for Bush provided a humorous twist to the presidential campaign.
"Laughter is definitely a great way to get people to pay attention," Martinez said.
The Billionaires for Bush as part of the "Get on the Limo" Swing State Tour which began in Los Angeles, Sept. 26. The tour traveled to Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Sedona and Phoenix before arriving in Tucson yesterday.
The Billionaires for Bush held a party at Maloney's, 213 N. Fourth Ave., at 5:30 p.m. last night, where they watched the televised vice presidential debate.
Afterwards, the Billionaires signed copies of their book, "Billionaires for Bush: How to Rule the World for Fun and Profit," at Antigone Books on 411 N. Fourth Ave.
Visit BillionairesforBush.com for more information.