I am not a tourist.
February 18, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe

In Orange Country, California for a few days. What tourist spots would be appropriate for a "right winger" tour?

I'm from SF, so I'm looking to check out sights that help explain the heavily conservative bent in Orange Country relative to the rest of LA. This idea was prompted by planning to see the Nixon Museum in Yorba Linda. What other conservative shrines exist in O.C. that are of sociological interest? Any "only in Orange County" type sights or events would be appreciated.
posted by benzenedream to Travel & Transportation around Orange, CA (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Drive by all the walled mansions?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:49 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rick Warren's saddle back church.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:52 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Trinity Broadcasting Network headquarters in Costa Mesa, definitely!
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:52 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral, famous worldwide amongst architecture students as a comprehensive example of bad architecture.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:53 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's an hour and a half (depends on traffic) away, but you may enjoy the Reagan Library up in Simi Valley, despite the fact that Reagan never lived there. Santa Barbara was too expensive for a library, as I understand it.
posted by artlung at 11:01 AM on February 18, 2011


I hit up a friend who lives behind the Orange Curtain. They said:

"They need to hit up RJ's Cafe; it's birther Orly Taitz's hangout and the owner is lock, stock and two smoking shortform bc's in her camp. 25001 Dana Point Harbor Dr. #120, in Dana Point.

Don't forget to drive around Floral Park in north Santa Ana, which is a place so conservative and xenophobic that they have a private Halloween party for the children of FP a few days before the holiday and then turn off the lights on the 31st.

They can hike along the path along the west edge of Coto de Caza and gaze upon the tighest-locked, most secure place in Orange County.

While they're in Floral Park they can go have lunch at the Santora, home of Santa Ana Mayor-Por-Vida Miguel 'Papi' Pulido's desperate attempt to gentrify the place.

San Clemente is a weird mix of surfers and Marines that's quite Republican, and of course there's the Naval base in Seal Beach."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


You might also want to check out Little Saigon (maybe in the same trip as the Crystal Cathedral); as an item of sociological interest with crazy right wing leanings, it's not as obvious as the historic and tacky churches or the Nixon Presidential Library, but it is the oldest and largest Little Saigon in the country, and because it was originally settled by tons of anti-communist soldiers, it's got a strongly right wing bent. There are also regular scandals directed at business people and the like for not being sufficiently anti-communist; there were near riots outside of a video store in 1999 that displayed the current Vietnamese flag, and various local Vietnamese newspapers regularly get protested for seemingly minor offenses (i.e. for printing a photo of an art project that featured a footbath painted in the colors of the old South Vietnamese flag). There's a pretty decent overview in this Orange County Register article; come for the anti-communist protestors, stay for the pho.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not in OC, but the Reagan Library is about (only!) 85 miles away. Just south of Orange County is Camp Pendleton, which (if I recall correctly) has two museums. While not "right wing" per se, what conservative doesn't approve of the United States Marine Corps?
posted by Hylas at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2011


They can hike along the path along the west edge of Coto de Caza and gaze upon the tighest-locked, most secure place in Orange County.

This is also where the subjects of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County" live.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2011


Speaking of the Housewives, my informant says:

"Oh! They could eat at Javier's-- like El Torito, but with silicone. It's where the Real Housewives go. Bring money."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:11 AM on February 18, 2011


Oh, and you could stop by Dana "I hope it's your family members that die" Rohrabacher's (R-CA) office in Huntington Beach.
posted by Hylas at 11:14 AM on February 18, 2011


I should add to my above recommendation of the Trinity Broadcasting Network's headquarters that tourists are welcome; in addition to behinds the scenes tours, you can also visit the "Virtual Reality Theater" and a recreation of the Via Dolorosa. You're also welcome to spend your money in the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Gift Shop.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:20 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Definitely try for the Reagan Library if you have time, but for the love all that you find holy avoid the 101. You're heading south so you should hit the 118 first. Use that. Trust me on this.

I'm from Simi, so I've been in that place more times than anyone should've been. The placement of the library was about more than cost, as Reagan actually filmed a significant number of his films at the on-scene locations in the surrounding countryside.
posted by truex at 11:21 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm from SF, so I'm looking to check out sights that help explain the heavily conservative bent in Orange Country relative to the rest of LA.

The funny little secret about the OC is that there are two of them -- north and south.

North OC is not even half as conservative as south. The north half is heavily, heavily dominated by Hispanic and Asian minorities. Unfortunately, they don't vote and are less affluent, which means the conservative south dominates the county-wide conversation.

So, drive down the 55, which is the best demarcation line between north and south. Working-class Anaheim and Santa Ana on one side. Affluent Irvine and Newport Beach on the other. Costa Mesa divided right in half, with eye-popping differences in housing prices depending on which side of the freeway you're falling. You'll end your trip at the ocean cities of Newport and Huntington Beach, which are politically conservative, but culturally the most "progressive" in the county outside of Laguna Beach (which happens to be Newport's next-door neighbor to the south, and the most lefty city in the county, which you wouldn't have guessed from its PR image).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2011


Cabazon Dinosaurs for a Young-earth creationist kitchfest.
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2011


Actually, the immigrant populations in OC are, from my experience, pretty darned conservative (by SoCal standards,) too.

It'd be worthwhile to hang out in some of the more walkable downtowns (Fullerton, for instance.) Lots of "family friendly, old fashioned values" stuff contributes to the conservative vibe. And, there's UC Irvine and Chapman University.

But: a lot of the conservativism of Orange County comes down to people either a) comparing it to West Hollywood/Burbank/South Pasadena/etc. and saying it's really conservative or b) people choosing to live there because they want to be in a more conservative place than Eagle Rock/Glendale/etc. and thus making it more conservative by definition. Self-fulfilling prophecy, basically: ten to twenty percent more Republican, ten to twenty percent more religiously observant, and you have yourself an apparent sociological island. It's not that much more conservative than central California or San Diego, and it's pretty liberal by midwestern/southern standards. Having lived in LA and Orange County and a lot of other places far, far away from there, I really think it's mostly hype.

(Which is to say: I approve of gaping-stare-at-the-Crystal-Cathedral anyway. Especially since you're so close to Disneyland you might as well drop $80 a person into the Mouse's pockets while you're there.)
posted by SMPA at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2011


Actually, the immigrant populations in OC are, from my experience, pretty darned conservative (by SoCal standards,) too.

Use Santa Ana as a for-example. It's the biggest city in the county, it's minority white (42 percent), Democrats outnumber Republicans, and went for Obama over McCain, 65%-32%.

I grew up in the OC. Every time someone said it was hyper-conservative, I was like, "Really? I see how'd you think that, but ... really? Well, yeah, I guess so ... Nixon birthplace and all. But have you been down to Laguna? And you know two of the four guys from Rage Against the Machine were from Irvine, right?"

There's contradictions, like anyplace.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:20 PM on February 18, 2011


"looking to check out sights that help explain the heavily conservative bent in Orange Country relative to the rest of LA"

Go to Newport Beach. Get onto the peninsula and drive though Lido Island and down Balboa Boulevard to the southern tip. It'll take ten minutes.

The sheer staggering amount of money tied up in huge boats and expensive houses might help answer your question.

That being said, as Cool Papa Bell pointed out, OC's reputation is not really in line with the truth. After ogling the spectacles of Newport Beach, stop and park at Newport Pier (we used to call it McFadden, whatever) In any case, park near 22nd street and Oceanfront. There is a beer joint called Blackie's By The Sea. Have a beer in there, and you'll wash away the oily feeling you get from driving around the rest of Newport.

OC is just (mostly) massive suburban sprawl seeded by White Flight in the 60s and 70s. Hence the reputation. Drive 241 in the hills east of the metroburbs, and it's quite nice.
posted by Xoebe at 12:57 PM on February 18, 2011


i actually think that the crystal cathderal is quite lovely, and the last impt johnson.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:30 PM on February 19, 2011


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