The boredom that arises from living in the Coachella Valley leads you to do irrational things, like go to an inaugural meeting of the Young Republicans. Actually, it’s called the “Reagan Forum” and is a new, younger offshoot of the local Lincoln Club, the epicenter of Coachella Valley Republicanism.
Those of you who personally know me are probably saying “Lindsay, WTF?” No worries, I’m still a Democrat, albeit one who, as Katerina said recently, “owns a gun and wants to work for an oil company.” Crazy, I know, but I’m no longer the wild-eyed liberal that many of you knew back at GW. For the past year or so, I’ve kind of been in this state of political apathy. Being “over there” (um, in the UK) I didn’t really care what was going on with the Democratic Party…well, not that I didn’t care, it’s just that between writing papers on the Soviet economy and frequenting the pubs in Bankside and Notting Hill, I didn’t have time to read all those boring e-mails the Democrats would fill my inbox with…delete, delete, delete. And why is John Kerry still sending out e-mails? Someone needs to tell him the election has been over for quite awhile now. Since I’m back in the U.S., though, I’ve started paying a bit more attention to politics now. I still think the DNC leadership is a bunch of yahoos, and I continue to delete all their e-mails, but I do watch Hardball with Chris Matthews now. It’s a start.
So, when my friend Kim asked me if I wanted to go to this event, I said yes. She’s a reporter with a local paper and ran into the two founders at an event she was covering. They told her to come to their first event and bring friends. So that’s how two registered Democrats ended up at this meeting…and really, what else do I have to do in this god-forsaken desert? Oh, that’s right…nothing.
When I was a student at GW, I was an executive board member for the GW College Democrats, the best College Dems chapter in the nation (Yeah, CDs at NYU, you read that correctly). So I thought I would compare a typical GW College Dems “welcome back” event with my the inaugural meeting of the Coachella Valley Reagan Forum.
Republicans – The Clubhouse at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert. If you’re a golf fan, no doubt you’ve heard of this place (some Skins Games, Battle at Bighorn tournaments, etc). And, if you have $2-10 million lying around to blow on a house, then look no further. Keep in mind, though, that buying a house at Bighorn does not entitle you to actually play golf there. You’ll have to pony up $237,500 for the club initiation fee and another $15,000 annually. They have two beautiful courses, though, so I’m sure it’s worth every penny, right? And the private jet service? Sweet.
Democrats – The University Yard on the beautiful campus of the George Washington University, located in the center of our nation’s capital. Yes indeed, “something happens here.”
Republicans – Since it was at Big Horn, we had to “dress up.”
Democrats – It’s college, wear whatever you want.
Republicans – It’s Bighorn, so yes.
Democrats – Haha, are you kidding me? Where are you going to park a car in downtown DC?
Republicans: Waiters walk around serving you trays of chicken things on sticks.
Democrats: Burgers, hot dogs, (expertly grilled by your awesome e-board members) chips, and cookies.
Republicans – Two free drinks. I opted for Amstel Light. Nice.
Democrats – A wide range of sodas to choose from! To be fair, though, we were handicapped by university regs that prevented us from providing alcohol to our members. If there were no such rules, you can be assured that we would have dedicated an ample portion of our budget to providing kegs of Sam Adams and Yuengling at our events.
Republicans – $100. OMGWTF? $100!? Not even a student discount! If it was $10, I would have joined. But whatever, I’m still on their e-mail list.
Democrats – $5. A nice, simple amount. Granted, we also received $10,000+ from the GW Student Association every year, so we could afford to have low membership dues. (And, as an aside, the GW College Republicans also received the same amount that we did – totally fair.)
Republicans – State Senator Jim Battin and Assemblyman John Benoit. Battin had on a really weird shirt that looked like it was 1970s surfer vintage, and said that several years ago he had a hard time convincing people in Sacramento that the Coachella Valley was not liberal and was indeed a bastion of conservatism. Huh? I’ve always known this place was a Republican stronghold…where has he been? John Benoit was cool and very mellow. They both said that the Republican Party didn’t work hard enough to get their voter base out to the polls for Tuesdays election. Apparently the liberal bastions of LA and SF turned out in larger numbers than voters in the “OC” and CV, and that’s why Arnold’s propositions lost. I also learned that the Republicans pay people to register voters for them. Damn, and I worked for free to register voters in NY, MD, and VA? What a rip-off.
Democrats – It varied from year to year…sometimes we would have Congressional candidates speak, but one year former White House Press Sec Mike McCurry spoke to us and then we headed off to the Crossfire studio on GW’s campus to talk with Paul Begala. Both really interesting guys.
Republicans – Complaining about Democrats and (surprisingly) some complaining about Bush and stating that Rove needs to leave. This being the Reagan Forum, I was prepared to get into a discussion about how Reagan single-handedly brought down the Soviet Union, but no such luck, as everyone just talked about how they were married and wanted to go to business school. Damn.
Democrats – Complaining about Republicans, Bush, and Democrats (we like to beat ourselves up).
Thus ends my analysis. If I attend any future events, I will be sure to write about them here.