Here’s an idea as innovative as the Nevada Caucus “First In The West” itself: Invite the press, lock them in a terrible underground ballroom in a casino somewhere, and make sure there’s no sort of Internet or wireless or anything. Hooray! Anyway, that’s where your editor has been, and here’s the chilling semi-live-blogged account of this weird, weird process.
11:18 AM — I’m inside the new Wynn, one of nine casino caucus ballrooms. They’re all going to have a simultaneous High Noon Lockdown.
11:23 AM — The local Democratic Party guy who gives me my press credentials says, “You look a lot different than, ah, Marriane.” I have no idea what he’s talking about.
11:25 AM — Oh, he meant “Ana Marie Cox.”
11:30 AM — We’re stuck in here, up on a platform in a far corner of this warehouse-sized outrageously ornate ballroom.
11: 38 AM — The union workers are streaming in now, coming down the hall, many in their Wynn casino uniforms but about a fourth of them in street clothes. There is a black woman in a chef’s hat. We all surge towards her, snapping pictures and taking video. A black woman, in a chef’s hat!
11:42 AM — Security finally frees the woman from the crazed mob.
11:43 AM — The only other reason anybody would have to come to the far end of this massive building is to get married — there’s a wedding two ballrooms up the hall.
11:53 AM — There’s no wireless. WTF? What are we supposed to do, print out our blog posts and mail them back to Washington?
11:54 AM — I’m forced to use old-fashioned “eavesdropping” in order to gain information. There’s a British guy phoning in a radio report a few feet away. He’s just saying what I already heard on the local news/talk station just before I dumped the filthy Beetle at valet: Mitt Romney had already won Nevada an hour after the quiet GOP caucus began at 9 a.m. That was based on entrance polls or something, but nobody really questions it. Mitt’s the only one who even bothered, and the British guy keeps repeating a factoid about Nevada’s 6% Mormon population. Of course, they’re all Harry Reid’s kids.
11:55 AM — A radio guy is talking to a gal from the New York Times. He went to a Vegas GOP caucus this morning, and Romney actually showed up. “He worked the crowd, served coffee and donuts,” the radio guy says.
11:56 AM — Now Romney’s already in South Carolina? What did he do, ride one of those Scientologist spaceships with the Mormon Jesus?
11:57 AM — We’re still stuck in this luxurious prison, with no Internet. I’m tempted to just leave, but I guess I should stick around and watch this dumb exercise in clique-based semi-democracy.
NOON — Hey, it’s starting! There are groups of people standing around. Some of them are shouting “O-BA-MA, O-BA-MA,” but they’re not pronouncing it right.
12:01 PM — And now, a “woohoooo” cheer. Someone is shouting that they need change.
12:02 PM — Nobody has any idea what the fuck they’re doing.
12:03 PM — Hey, more chef’s hats! I’m going to snap some more pictures and shoot some crappy video. Don’t steal my MacBook, NYT gal!
12:05 PM — Whoops, looks like the media sort of forgot the rules about staying back here in the corner. We have all just been herded back into the corner. You would need one of those three-foot-long Wildlife Photographer lenses to get any useful photographs from way back here.
12:06 PM — People are blowing whistles, perhaps as a sign of some sort? The chanting intensifies.
12:07 PM — This is by far the stupidest possible way to choose a candidate.
12:08 PM — Hey, maybe this hasn’t even started yet? I am so far away from whatever’s going on, all those cooks could be having sex with each other and I wouldn’t know. Waving some signs, doing some fuckin’ — it’s the Vegas way!
12:10 PM — Chantwise, Obama has won this Casino Caucus.
12:11 PM — There are more Obama signs being waved around, too.
12:12 PM — One lone, shrill female voice: HILL-A-REE, HILL-A-REE. Nobody joins in. But there is a smallish pack of Hillary sign-holders in the confused crowd.
12:13 PM — This is like some kind of retarded high-school sports game for people who have never seen any kind of sport being played.
12:13 PM — I actually got up at five in the morning and drove 250 miles across the Mojave Desert to sit on the floor in the corner of a goddamned ballroom the size of CostCo just so I can hear the muffled hollering of excitable busboys.
12:14 PM — OMG a reporter stole a Hillary sign and just sat it down on his backpack, which is sitting next to me.
12:15 PM — What kind of sociopath would steal his stolen Hillary sign? Your editor, that’s who.
12:16 PM — The louder these people scream — and it’s getting pretty loud now — the more these media people yawn. No wireless and no coffee. This is just like the Soviet fucking Union.
12:18 PM — We’re all waiting for a hot cocktail waitress to come in with her hot little outfit — and the Wynn cocktail waitresses are indeed fairly hot — but maybe the cocktail waitresses aren’t in the union? ORGANIZE, LADIES.
12:19 PM — So, in Iowa, is this what happens? A bunch of busboys hooting and hollering at each other?
12:20 PM — I’m going to make a bold proposal: No more of this. No more of the caucus thing. This does not help our dumb nation’s image abroad.
12:21 PM — Also, none of these people get to vote at all.
12:23 PM — Oh, shit. The guy at the podium just said, “Attention please, I’d like to get this caucus started.”
12:24 PM — I’m so hungry.
12:25 PM — Ha ha, we’re still waiting for people who are still outside registering to vote or whatever. THIS IS SO AWESOME.
12:26 PM — Hillary’s “observers” all look like Russian mafia.
12:27 PM — Tom Tancredo would love this: The whole thing’s being done in Spanish! (And English.)
12:33 PM — There are 335 people here to caucus or something! So you just divide that by five, and then you can be viable, with 79 people! See? Totally nonsensical!
12:47 PM — 185 CLINTON 181 OBAMA EDWARDS 8 UNCOMMITTED
12:56 PM — 189 CLINTON 187 OBAMA YOU FUCKING LOSE BARRY YOU ARE FINISHED.
12:56 PM — So, that’s done. Now maybe I can find some of that “wireless internet” one hears so much about these days.