The Belly of the Beast

“So how come the traffic’s so thick?”

I was in the back of a taxi on the way to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, with tickets for Penn & Teller in my back pocket. The polls in deep-blue California, Oregon and Washington had just closed, handing Barack Obama seventy-some electoral votes and crowning him President-Elect.

“Dude, you haven’t heard? The Democrat victory party’s at the Rio.”

That’d be it.

A note, first. If you’re ever in Vegas, go see Penn & Teller and bring your camera. Unlike most Vegas stars, P&T stick around after the show for photos and autographs. And Penn is extremely tall – I’m 6’0″, he’s somewhere around 6’7″.

Penn Jillette

I won’t spoil any of the acts – but to give you an idea of what the show’s like, here’s their unorthodox version of the cup-and-ball trick.

The crowd was already chanting “Yes We Can” when I walked out of the P&T theatre. Now, I’m not of the Democratic mindset. But among American political parties, Democrats are second only to Libertarians in their ability to throw a wild party. (Republicans might be notionally better at managing the economy and national security, but they’re about as much fun at a party as a case of plague.) So I turned left instead of right, and headed for the party.

The first thing that surprised me is that there was a cash bar. This would seem to be against every Democratic principle – where’s the sharing of the wealth? The concern for the common man who can’t afford a beer? The second thing that surprised me was this guy – I think we’ve just found Barack Obama’s hidden support base.

Rednecks for Obama

I was worried. Was I sufficiently hip and trendy and youthful to fit in? Could I convincingly shout “Yes We Can”? Would the P&T program clutched in my fingers blow my cover? Would I slip after two beers and start rambling about the need for smaller government and bigger cars? Or would they kick me out for calling someone a penguin-shagging tree-hugging dope-smoking (oh, no, wait, that’s the Libertarians) stinky hippie?

But it was all surprisingly slick. The TV crews were swarming the place, trying to catch a glimpse of the newly elected Congresswoman Dina Titus. There were plenty of attractive women (or men, if that’s your thing). Nobody seemed to mind when I stuck my camera in their face and asked for a photo. And there were even a few wacky outfits. All in all, you’d probably rather have been there than at the Republican shindig down at the Palazzo.

I staggered out about midnight, two Coronas deep (at six bucks each, I couldn’t afford much more… if I wanted to drink expensive imported beer I would’ve stayed in Singapore), arm in arm with a pack of people still shouting “Yes We Can”. Isn’t it time now for “Yes We Did”? And what about “Yes We Will”?

Ah well. We can hope. Yes we can.

This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.