Inauguration of the President

Denver Dems celebrate Obama’s inauguration from afar
The Colorado Statesman

Denver Democrats cheered President Barack Obama’s second inauguration at a bash thrown locally on Monday night at an East Denver restaurant. The inaugural gala, sponsored by the Democrats of House Districts 6 and 8, featured replays of the day’s highlights in the swank surroundings at the Cork House Broker Restaurant, familiar to neighborhood denizens as the longtime home of the venerable Tante Louise.

“If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be standing in front of you,” proclaimed state Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, surveying the crowd of nearly 100 elated Democrats. “If it weren’t for you, that man up there,” she said, pointing to a tuxedoed Obama on the overhead TV screen, “wouldn’t be that man up there. You’re the reason Democrats get elected.”

Rena Fowler and state Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, enjoy the festivities at an inaugural party on Jan. 21 at the Cork House restaurant in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

Democrats at the party included the county party’s treasurer, Ed Hall, who is the only announced candidate for county chair at next month’s reorganization. Vice chair Susan Rogers — wielding two drinks at one point, she cracked that she wanted to be known as the “chair of vice” — plans to run for another term in that position.

And as the multiple TVs displayed events at the Commander in Chief’s Ball, political consultant Gena Ozols pointed to a screen when the Obamas began their first dance. Nodding to First Lady Michelle Obama, she smiled. “How long until the whole nation gets bangs?”

Linda Drake and Denver Department of Environmental Health manager Doug Linkhart talk politics at an inaugural gala sponsored by House District 6 and 8 Democrats on Jan. 21 in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

But there was also plenty of buzz about the unabashedly liberal inauguration speech Obama had delivered earlier that day.

“It’s sort of like he was saying to me, we’re going to try to get everybody together, but I’m also going to show I’m a leader and get things done that need to get done,” said a smiling Lew Gaiter, Jr., who emphasized that he’s the second Lew Gaiter, to avoid confusion with his son, the third, a Larimer County commissioner and a Republican.

Aaron Goldhamer and Awilda Marquez are among those celebrating President Barack Obama’s second inauguration at a party thrown by House District 6 and 8 Democrats on Jan. 21 at the Cork House restaurant in Denver.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“This time, they can’t say we’re going to make you a one-term president. That’s over. The greatest thing to me is to see this country, what it’s developing into, because otherwise he never would’ve been reelected,” he said.
Gaiter, who was a delegate to last summer’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., said that the results of last year’s intense campaigning were just sinking in.

“Today, with the inauguration, it feels like it’s really real, like the country has really grabbed ahold of the direction it’s on,” he said.

Former state Rep. Miller Hudson, D-Denver, looms over Democratic legend Frank Sullivan
at an inaugural gala on Jan. 21.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

State Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, watched Obama’s inaugural speech at the Martin Luther King parade earlier and said it made her feel “encouraged and optimistic about the future of the country.”

Denver County Democratic Party vice chair Susan Rogers and state Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, raise a toast to President Barack Obama’s inauguration to a second term at a party thrown by Denver Democrats.
Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

She said she was thrilled that her son, Chris, who worked on the Obama campaign last year, was in Washington to attend the inauguration and a party the next night for campaign staffers. And despite what some called the solidly progressive tone of the president’s speech, she said she holds out hope that recent partisan gridlock might dissipate, at least a little, in a second Obama administration.

“I think the Republicans do realize they have to do some things, because the people want them to and the people elected them to do some things, and they elected Obama,” McCann said. “I’m hopeful we will see some cooperation, but we’ll wait and see.”

Court called Obama’s inaugural address “absolutely inspiring” and added that it was “absolutely fabulous” to hear the president mention the gay-rights landmark Stonewall in the same breath as civil rights touchstone Selma and Seneca Falls, considered a birthplace of the modern women’s rights movement.

“To me, it’s the affirmation of what we all have been working for,” she said. “That President Obama is going into a second term, and that he had the luxury in his speech today to lay out a progressive agenda, was wonderful.”

She added that she had recently read a novel that underscored the perpetual nature of some of the political battles currently under way. She said she brought Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel — the second book in a projected trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and the court of King Henry VIII — to the Capitol to show others that today’s partisan bickering isn’t anything new.

“There’s a discussion that Cromwell’s having with somebody — and this is in 1535 — he’s saying that we need to do some improvement to our roads and bridges. And if we could tax the rich just a little bit more, we could get the funds and put these guys to work instead of having them be ne’er-do-wells and highway robbers, or whatever they called them in 1535. And as I’m reading that, I’m thinking, the more things change, the more they stay the same,” Court said with a chuckle.

“So the issues that Obama is talking about, the specifics, may be new to this era, but the over-arching reality is that as long as we have a civil society, we need to have the taxes and the fees to create the revenue to pay for the services. Basically, what Obama was talking about was having a government that functions properly in a civil society.”

While the details may change, Court added, Obama had made a case that government has an indisputable purpose. “I like what Barney Frank said, that government is what we call what we all do together,” she said.

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com