Washington, D.C. – President Obama was not deposed today, nor were the leaders of the House and Senate. Millions of angry Americans did not take to the streets of the capital to angrily demand their country back. It’s hard to exaggerate just how much of an epic failure Operation American Spring (OAS) was today.
OAS was conceived by Harry G. Riley, a 76-year-old retired U.S. Army colonel. In an April 8 press release, the group demanded the “resignations of six, top government officials, including Articles of Impeachment against President Obama, for violating their oath of office, and/or by committing high crimes against the state, and requiring Congress to enforce the demands, or be held accountable.”
Consciously modeling itself after the “Arab Spring, Ukrainian Spring, and other successful, popular, and massive demonstrations against oppressive bureaucracies,” OAS predicted that “10 to 20 million Americans committed to reform our government under Constitutional constraints,” and possibly more, would take to the streets today to end Obama’s tyranny.
At best, there was a ragtag crowd of a few hundred.
Jackie Milton, head of Texans for Operation American Spring, summed up the situation to the Washington Times: “It ain’t no millions. And it ain’t looking like there’s going to be millions. Hundreds is more like it.”
Riley believes that the federal government is “lawless” and ignores “we the people.” In the face of Obama “administration policies and actions in flagrant violation of the Constitution and our Bill of Rights,” he sees only two options: “surrender to totalitarian rule by Marxist ideologues, or enforce our American ideals and principles.”
Riley told Hatewatch earlier in the month that he hoped OAS would ride the antigovernment coattails of the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada. “The militia groups and the others stood up for Bundy and the government thugs stood down,” he said. “I hope people feel the same way about Operation American Spring.”
It’s important to note that Riley set ground rules for his event that would have never flown with the antigovernment “Patriots” and militiamen out West: “We will be unarmed, non-violent, law-abiding and peaceful.”
But in other respects, Riley seemed to be asking for a confrontation with federal authorities. Getting a permit from the U.S. Park Service to rally on the national mall is a pro forma step that groups do as a matter of course. Riley refused, telling Hatewatch that OAS wasn’t an event but rather “just a bunch of individual patriots who plan on visiting Washington, D.C., exercising our constitutional rights, all at the same time.” This could have been a problem, but for the event's abysmal turnout.
Setting aside Riley's reasoning, the intentional lack of centralization and planning clearly did not help matters. Instead of a central rallying point, there were planned rally points stretched along the mall and at the White House (an area that would take a million people to cover). There was no stage, no sound system, no…anything.
OAS is just the latest in a line of recent far-right events that put Washington in their crosshairs and then failed miserably. A group of right-wing truckers led by a conspiracy theorist threatened to shut down the capital in October, but nothing materialized. Then in November, Larry Klayman promised two million would attend his D.C. rally and force Obama to "come out with his hands up." That did not go as planned either.
OAS is at least trying to put on a show for the folks watching at home. The official Facebook page posted this a few hours ago: “Naysayers wrong. OAS Day 1 success. Closing in on White House.”
According to Riley's game plan, OAS should now be in Phase 2:
One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holder removed from office.
Virtually 100% short of his goal, we're eagerly awaiting Riley's next move.