Obama in Boulder: Libertarian zealots, Romney bashing and (maybe) a 3OH!3 sighting
Barack Obama's appearance in Boulder on Sunday brought out Rich Black Mormons (one of them, anyway) and thousands of others -- a fascinatingly varied swath of humanity willing to swelter in the heat for hours for a chance to stand on CU-Boulder's Norlin Quad, site of the annual 4/20 celebration, to hear the President explain why he deserves to be re-upped. But the scene that preceded him was just as fascinating as the main event.
Obama at the Buff.
While Obama was dropping in at The Buff, a popular Boulder breakfast joint, in an echo of his visit to The Sink during an April campaign swing to Boulder, I settled into the security line with my retinue -- my wife, my twin daughters (both CU-Boulder sophomores) and several of their friends, including one who'd eventually find his way onto the speaker's platform a few hours hence. The mood was positive, if a bit shy of exuberant -- a natural consequence of Obama having appeared in Colorado so many times of late, not to mention the temperature, which made us grateful every time our ultra-slow progress toward the Quad stopped in a rare shady spot.
Nonetheless, entrepreneurs were out in force, peddling buttons and presumably unauthorized T-shirts (I especially liked the one that appropriated the Broncos' horse), and so were protesters, including several upset about Monsanto and GMOs. Still, the most vocal demonstrator had broader concerns. Given that he carried a placard festooned with images of Obama in Joker makeup over the word "Socialism," we assumed he was a Mitt Romney supporter, but no. Turns out he was actually backing Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson -- and doing so in the most strident way possible.
Photo by Elizabeth Roberts A Libertarian protester thinks Obama's a Joker.
At one point, he engaged in heated dialogue with someone twenty feet or so in front of us, a fella we're pretty damn sure was Nathaniel Motte from 3OH3! -- although we admittedly didn't double-check by going up to him and saying, "You's a punk bitch if you don't know 'bout Boulder" (a lyric from the song "Holler 'Til You Pass Out").
When it was my turn, I asked if he realized some people might associate the Joker imagery with the Aurora theater shooting. "That's your problem, bro," he responded -- an answer that made absolutely no sense, since anyone with an iota of political savvy knows a message's clarity is the responsibility of the person delivering it. Still, I gave him a chance to explain what he was trying to convey, and he replied that Obama wore a mask, pretending to be a liberal when he was actually just as beholden to corporate interests as were Romney or George W. Bush.
No big hoots from the people close enough to overhear this conversation. They appeared to have pretty much tuned him out.
After a couple of hours, we finally made it to the security station, where the person checking the contents of my pocket paused at my keyring (which rocks a spark-plug lighter I got as a promotional item for BadMotorFinger, a 1991 Soundgarden album) before letting me pass. Then, finally, we reached the actual Quad...specifically the area set aside for students, thanks to my daughters, who'd scored some extra passes for their elderly folks.
Continue reading for more about Obama's appearance in Boulder.