State GOP chairman Ron Nehring: "Lease, don't buy..."
The state GOP's "Victory Night Party" (hah!) was over before it started. Driving over to the Hyatt Regency Irvine to make the 8:30 p.m. start time, I was talking on my Bluetooth to my brother in San Francisco when he informed me John McCain was already making his concession speech.
"Holy shit!" I said as I steered into the Hyatt driveway. "I'm going to miss the Republicans crying in their beers."
The mood was definitely somber inside the Garden Pavilion, although one fellow decided to use Barack Obama's ascendancy to sing to his drinking buddies the "movin' on up" theme song to The Jeffersons.
Wheezy? Naw, he nailed it.
The lone celeb sighting for about the first half hour was the Rev. Lou Sheldon, hugging the part of the room closest to the TV cameras.
At 9 p.m., with two large screen televisions on either side of the stage showing Obama delivering his victory speech (with the volume turned down), state GOP chairman Ron Nehring went to the podium to thank the candidate that had valiantly brought them together. That, of course, is Governor Sarah Palin.
Cue the loud applause.
He then thanked McCain.
Cue the golf claps.
And thank you volunteers. And all the Republican candidates who won tonight. As for Obama and the Democrats, Nehring had some advice: "Lease, don't buy, because in two years the Republican Party will be back."
As he prepared to bring Orange County GOP chairman Scott Baugh to the stage, the volume on the televisions suddenly went up, allowing the crowd to actually hear Obama's historic victory speech.
"OH NO, TURN IT DOWN!" someone in the crowd yelled.
"TURN IT OFF!" another sore loser suggested.
The volume was again lowered.
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"OK, we had enough of that," Baugh said as he took the podium.
To prevent the unimaginable from happening again, the TVs were turned off.
Baugh was followed by state Insurance Commission Steve Poizner, who has formed an exploratory committee for governor, congressmen Ed Royce and an uber-sober Dana Rohrabacher and assorted state legislators. It was all over in the blur, with Nehring signing off with "the 2010 campaign starts tonight. We are going to elect a new Republican governor. We are going to terminate Jerry Brown. Goodnight!"
And we finally got a piece of the pie.