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Wednesday, November 7,2012

Despondence, anger at Colorado GOP election watch party

By Steve Weishampel
Photo by Steve Weishampel
Rep. Cory Gardner speaks

The place had pretty well cleared out by the time Kay told me, “Obama is the Anti-Christ.”

Yep, she said it. Now let’s back up. Most of the Republican Party of Colorado’s election night watch party, held on the club level of Sports Authority Field at Mile High the evening of Nov. 6, was much more low-key.

For most of the night, sighs of exasperation were much more common than hate-mongering on a Biblical level. Worried or unhappy people had been more than willing to chat with me about all kinds of non-crazy topics.

And they’d endured a great deal of bad news with very few bright spots, as no battleground states were called for Gov. Mitt Romney. When Ohio went for President Barack Obama, just before Fox called the whole election, Dave from Highlands Ranch said to me, pleasantly enough, “It’s over, baby.”

The crowd, more moping than mad, stuck around for the combination consolation/victory speech by Rep. Cory Gardner, who’d held his seat through a challenge by Democrat Brandon Shaffer. Gardner, who represents the 4th Congressional District from Fort Collins to the southeastern corner of Colorado, including Longmont, had the unenviable task of taking the stage just after Fox News called the election.

Gardner was alternately conciliatory, saying he hoped for greater non-partisanship in Congress, and assertive of the Republican vision of self-reliance.

“There’s a mandate to do everything we can to find answers” for the nation’s problems, he said in remarks to the media after the speech.

Asked about the tone and approach of the presidential campaigns, Gardner said Obama “ran a very splintering campaign attacking two very honorable Americans. … The president ought to be ashamed.”

Gardner named the economy, tax rates, sequestration and production tax credits as top priorities when he and the rest of Congress return to office. Production tax credits are awarded to alternative energy sources.

Once Gardner was done, the crowd thinned out considerably, and I found myself at the bar next to five women looking understandably morose.

The group came to Colorado from Texas as part of a get-out-the-vote program. Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe alcohol, maybe frustration and disappointment. Whatever it was, they were agitated, and my media lanyard did me no favors.

“We were fighting two opponents in this race,” George told me, her voice rising. “Obama and the media.”

She accused me — all journalists, maybe, but there was only one standing there — of hiding the truth about Obama. She said I was biased and a disgrace. She said I was bad at my job. She said the media lies and distorts the truth constantly. When I said I was neutral when I was on the job, her friend Kay asked if I “even had a conscience.”

And, a few minutes after Kay dropped the Anti-Christ reference, George did the same.

The economy is ready to grow, she said, but “Obama won’t let it” because “he wants the power.”

“He’s the Anti-Christ,” George said. “It’s just sick and wrong.”

Did I ask how they knew Obama is the Anti-Christ, or, if he’s the Anti-Christ, why he needs eight years instead of four to destroy the world? I did not. I got the hell out of there.

And no matter how many pleasant, reasonable people I met, I don’t see why anyone would want to stay.

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