'We Will Live to Fight Again'

Election Day dispatches from around the county


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NO LOVE CONNECTION
3:14 P.M.
OC Republicans are circulating game show host Chuck Woolery's tweet: "I just want the job of giving Obama/Biden lovely parting gifts." (RSM)


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POWER IN NUMBERS
5:05 P.M.
You can see the last streaks of cerulean sky turn anemic against the darkness from the giant storefront window of Dr. Freecloud's in Fountain Valley. The glow of orbs hanging from the ceiling gets a little warmer as I peruse stacks of record sleeves that have been touched and scrutinized in every way possible. I'm surrounded by punk posters, neon T-shirts and psychedelic-graffiti murals.

In the funk section, I brush lightly over used cardboard sleeves of old-schools idols such as Prince, the Meters and El De Barge. The store's co-owner Helen flashes me a smile as my Converse soles shuffle through the isles. "Any special election sales I should know about?" I ask.

She tells me today's discount is 25 percent for anyone who voted. "Just show us that sticker that says you voted or . . ." She trails off as I look down at my chest like an idiot for a sticker I know I don't have. "Or if you just tell us you voted, we can hook you up."

Ah, sweet mercy on this day of civic duty. There's no way the cash in my pocket is gonna cover the eight used records under my arm. After a few minutes of forking chow mein from a styrofoam container and entertaining her young son behind the counter, Helen strolls over to the turntables in the center of the store and throws on a Jurassic 5 record, Power In Numbers. She drops the needle on the second track, "Freedom."

My wallet feels more liberated than it has in days as I continue thumbing through stacks for the next great find. (Nate Jackson)


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THE EYES OF PUTIN
5:19 P.M.
In Fingerprints in the LBC, I'm drinking coffee and waiting for someone to scream out, "Down with Romney scum," but nothing crazy happens. I walk around the shop and run into owner Rand Foster as he is restocking some CDs. When I ask him who he voted for, Rand replies, "I'm a liberal."

I walk down the aisles of indie rocker albums and pay for my Jack Kerouac and Orson Scott Card books. I start talking to some guy buying a whole bunch of CDs. He has an accent I can't place at first.

"Did you vote?" I ask. He looks at me and smiles as though he just farted silently. It's an awkward conversation to have with a stranger, kind of like walking up to a guy and asking him with which hand he masturbates. He is a bald man about 50 years old. He says, "I'm just a stranger" and peers back at the cash register.

"Where you from?" I ask. He looks around as if what he is about to say next could implicate him in a crime. "Russia," he says. "I'm from volleyball team, Moscow State."

I can just hear the Republicans telling him to go back to Russia. Beware the eyes of Putin! (Joseph Lapin)

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FEEL THE RAGE
7:21 P.M.
Outside the Santa Ana ballroom at the Westin South Coast Plaza, Republicans are arriving early, dressed in their Sunday best and hoping for a party to, as one middle-aged reveler declared before he entered, "boot the damn bum out of the White House!"

The room is decorated with festive red, white and blue balloons. The bartenders have no customers, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a funeral parlor. Somber FOX News commentators on the jumbo TV screen have abandoned their October scripts about an impending Romney "landslide," unable to mask what they know: They couldn't have been more wrong about the election. Not even a cameo TV appearance by darling Sarah Palin lifts anyone's spirits.

A quiet Jerry Hayden, the rookie congressional candidate who would get officially trounced later in the night by the mighty Loretta Sanchez, stood around without Republicans thanking him for his political suicide mission. When FOX declares Democrat Claire McCaskill the winner over rape-ain't-so-bad-believer Todd Akin in Missouri, the crowd emits a collective moan. Lines begin to form at the bars, where ladies buy $10 glasses of red wine and men order $12 liquor shots.

Soon the mood lightens in the overwhelmingly Caucasian crowd. Three huddled, natty, middle-aged businessmen collectively decide that Florida will go to Romney, and that will launch a sweep. Smiles appear on their faces. One of them says, "All we need is Florida and Virginia," which prompts the youngest one to add, "And Colorado and Ohio." The smiles disappear.

FOX shows Obama in the lead in Florida as an elderly woman grabs her towering bouffant with both hands and screams, "No!" Desperate for any good news, the crowd overreacts with joy after Arizona, a state never in doubt, is projected to Romney. When Ohio goes to Obama, the room erupts in angry boos. James Rogan—the congressman turned judge—slowly shakes his head. At the same time, multiple people utter, "Oh, my god."

Couples, some with tears in their eyes, hug tightly. The band strikes up their rendition of the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." A man wearing a Paul Revere hat guzzles a Coors Light. Former GovernorPete Wilson, looking pale and shaky from age, takes the podium. "My friends, we will live to fight again!" says the man whose policies helped drive Latinos from the GOP. "We will win the next time, and California will be what it should be!" (RSM)

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