Photo by Matt Stensland
Stuart Handloff and part-time Steamboat Springs resident Jody Robinson talk Saturday during a demonstration on the Routt County Courthouse lawn. Handloff organized the free cookie exchange to protest the agenda of Karl Rove and this weekend's conservative Freedom Conference.
Updated August 28, 2010 at 11:04 p.m.
Steamboat Springs There were few picket signs and no shouts of protest on the Routt County Courthouse lawn Saturday, but there was a lighthearted sense of resistance as about 30 people stopped by to trade baked goods and talk politics.
Local resident Stuart Handloff announced a few days ago that he would host a free cookie exchange on the lawn for an hour Saturday to protest the conservative agenda represented by The Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference and its keynote speaker, Republican strategist Karl Rove.
“I was surprised the Democratic Party wasn’t organizing something more substantial and thoughtful,” he said. “But this is what I can do.”
He said he chose a cookie exchange because it represented the opposite of “dirty tricks and deception” offered up by the conference’s agenda.
“To me, this is what this community is all about,” he said, “sharing and having fun in a way that’s supportive and caring.”
Among those who approached Handloff’s chair with a bag full of goodies was Duncan Otis, who said he disagrees with Rove’s positions on torture and individual rights.
“I’ve waited a long time for a way to express my contempt for this man, and this is it,” Otis said. “His influence and advice is enough to undermine my idea of what America is.”
As Handloff traded brownies and cookies with people, he said he was glad for the opportunity to express an alternative viewpoint.
“We’re certainly facing a lot of problems in our country, and I’m just not hearing solutions from the conservative elements,” he said.