I volunteered last night not for OFA but for our local non-commercial jazz radio station down at Cal State Long Beach. They are having their annual summer pledge drive to raise funds to keep the station on the air. Anyhow, I was sitting at a long table of volunteers each of us with headsets on taking pledge phone calls when I hear to my far left, this very very loud male voice say, “OH! I See you have an Obama button on. Do you think he’s going to win? I don’t think so at all. My father and I voted for him in 2008 but we won’t be this time because he just hasn’t accomplished anything, and there’s all this fighting going on in the House and the Senate. He just can’t get anything done and I can’t vote for him again.”
Since I didn’t have any Obama gear on myself, I turned to my left and looked down the length of the table to see who this man (DOOFUS) was talking to. Apparently a woman with an Obama 2012 button on had started her shift and was sat right next to him so he could train her on how to answer the phones for the pledge drive. Even though I was on phone calls myself, I could still hear him in the background, loudly and ignorantly pontificating repeatedly that besides getting OBL and health care, our Pres hasn’t accomplished anything and the Congress was preventing him from getting what he wanted to get done and he just wouldn’t get vote for him.
I couldn’t hear what she was saying back to him because she was speaking to him in a very calm, low, steady voice, but I heard him say (loudly, naturally) once to her, “Lilly Ledbetter Act? what’s that ? Is that the health care law?” I KID YOU NOT.
By this point, needless to say, my blood pressure was on the rise. In addition to having to hear this ignorance, the fact that he was saying it at such top volume was making it difficult for those of us at the table to hear our own phone calls. He wasn’t belligerent, just LOUDLY OPINIONATED and IGNORANT as some loud opinionated folks tend to be. Unfortunately, because I was sitting 5 chairs away I couldn’t reach down the table and rip his larynx out. At one point as I was just finishing up a pledge call, he was saying AGAIN how PBO couldn’t get anything done because of Congress blocking him and that’s why he couldn’t vote for him again.
I’d had it. I said in a very loud voice (ok, I yelled) down the table, “NO SIR, THAT’S WHY HE NEEDS A SECOND TERM!” Things got quiet quick.
The woman with the Obama button turned and looked at me down the table, I gave her a thumbs up, she gave me a wink. The people in between us kind of smiled to themselves. My phone rang again just at that moment and I was back to taking pledge calls. Later when there were a lull in the phones and Mr. Loudmouth had apparently gotten up from his phone, I walked over to the Obama button woman and handed her a stack of Randi Rhodes’ “Obama’s Top 50 accomplishments” wallet cards (remember those? ).
I told her that whenever I encounter these uninformed folks I just drop one of these on them, shuts them up right quick. She thanked me, chuckled and told me that she was a Summer Fellow for OFA and that my outburst seemed to have subdued him a bit. BTW they are looking for volunteers in the South Bay offices, Long Beach and the Crenshaw office that just opened yesterday.
Also ran into Mr. Loudmouth in the lunch room later while I was getting something to eat. He was avoiding eye contact so I walked up to him and said, “look you appear to be an intelligent man, and I’m sorry for yelling but I simply cannot tolerate this kind of mis-information. If you don’t want to vote for the President fine, but at least get a better understanding of WHY you won’t vote for him by informing yourself with facts of what he actually has or has NOT done. And lay off the Fox News will you please? They are doing you a disservice.”
I handed him one of Randi’s wallet cards and walked away. Anyway, towards the end of my shift, several other volunteers came up to me and thanked me for speaking up and asked me for the wallet cards as well. I handed the rest of my entire stash out to them. Mr. Loudmouth actually pleasantly said good night to me when I left.
Did I convert him? Who knows? But, I just can’t have people talking shit about my President in my presence.
The moral of this story is:
1) Carry these cards around with you. You never know when they are going to come in handy. (See link above for Randi’s card, also see Tien Le’s ACA wallet card)
2) Get out and Volunteer, for crips sake! There are still people, even in this “blue safe state” that are STILL woefully uninformed. Have a good day everyone! Off to enjoy the Cali sunshine!
Washington Post: Facing withering criticism from across the political spectrum and abandoned by Senate allies, House Republicans bowed to political reality Thursday and agreed to a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.
The agreement represented a remarkable capitulation on the part of House Republicans, who had two days earlier rejected such a deal with Democrats as the kind of half-measure that their new majority was elected to thwart.
And it amounts to a Christmas gift for President Obama, who attempted to paint his Republican opponents as willing to raise taxes for millions of Americans. Such an image could have cost the party politically just as it is gearing up to try to take back the White House and the Senate in 2012.
Eugene Robinson: Finally. After a year of artful camouflage and concealment, Republicans let us glimpse the rift between establishment pragmatists and Tea Party ideologues. There may be hope for the republic after all.
…. There are only two possible reasons for House Republicans to behave the way they did. Maybe they are so blinded by ideology that they no longer care about the impact their actions might have on struggling American families. Or maybe their only guiding principle is that anything Obama supports, they oppose.
The week’s events offer a lesson for Obama, too. One reason for all the Republican angst was that public opinion has become more sensitive to issues of economic justice. This may be partly due to the Occupy protests. But I’m convinced that Obama’s fiery barnstorming in favor of his American Jobs Act has played a big role. People are hearing his message.
The president has been on the offensive. It’s no coincidence that, for the first time in quite a while, Republicans are backing up.
Steve Benen: …. the GOP leadership will, probably later today, bring the tweaked Senate agreement to the House floor, hoping to approve it by unanimous consent. If Republicans balk – and they might – Boehner will reconvene the House next week for an up-or-down vote. Since that vote would very likely pass the Senate bill, an objection today would only delay the inevitable, and extend this fiasco for a few more days.
…. perhaps one of the most striking realizations from this entire dispute is that Republicans gambled that Democrats would cave when the pressure was on – and Democrats didn’t. Arguably for the first time all year, Democrats from the White House to Capitol Hill knew they had the better hand, told Republicans that Dems wouldn’t fold this time, and sat back and watched and the GOP unraveled.
… After a year in which policymakers have moved from one hostage crisis to another, Democrats won a big one to close out the year, leaving Republicans looking awful and a weakened Speaker looking beaten.
For a party that earned a reputation for capitulating a little too often, it’ll start 2012 on the right foot.
Vice President Biden in the Des Moines Register: Mitt Romney recently laid out his plan for America. Reading about it, I thought of my dad. My dad was a hard worker. He took pride in what he did. And, like millions of Americans, that pride was put to the test when he found himself struggling to make ends meet.
When I was a child, he had to ask my grandfather to take care of my mom, my brother, sister and I while he moved away to find a better job in Wilmington, Del. My dad had a saying: “A job is about more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect.”….
Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): Last week, I mentioned the racism charges against Ron Paul, involving the newsletter he used to publish and some of the vile and witless statements therein….
….These are not your run-of-the-mill euphemisms. These are blatantly racist comments by, I would hope, nearly any measure. Jews and gays get their moment in the sun ….The “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism,” produced after the Los Angeles riots, offers many gems, including this advice: “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” …. It would seem, in the pages of something called the Ron Paul Political Report, that that “I” would represent, well, Ron Paul. But he denies authorship….
…. If he didn’t write those sentences, who did? Why not say? If he genuinely disagrees with the statements and truly disavows them, there could be no good reason not to name names.
… I humbly suggest that there are some matters on which there should not a statute of limitations …. Calling a group of people—identifiable only by their race “animals” belongs in that company. We lack proof that Paul did that, but at the very least we have proof that he has regarded this whole thing very casually….
Reuters: Israel’s defense minister extolled what he called Barack Obama’s resolve and risk-taking on Thursday, remarks likely to help the president’s re-election bid after the Pentagon beefed up warnings to Iran over its nuclear program.
….Citing Obama’s ideologically tinged 2009 speeches in Cairo and on the occasion of winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and this month’s U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Barak said: “Ultimately you cannot deny he has a certain degree of consistency.”
“You may not like what he does (but) you discern a man who is capable and ready to undertake the fiercest of political risks to his survival, in order to make good on what he believes in,” said Barak, who met Obama in Washington last week.
“We are asked, sometimes, whether Obama is really a soft appeaser. To that, I say: ‘Go ask Osama bin Laden.’”
Greg Sargent: The President is set to hold another event today urging the House GOP to support the Senate payroll tax extension compromise…. A White House official emails that Obama today “will be joined by Americans who would see their taxes go up if the House Republicans fail to act”.
Washington Post: House Republicans faced mounting pressure Wednesday from critics inside and outside Congress who worry that their standoff with President Obama over whether to extend a payroll tax cut could do lasting damage to the GOP.
… The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board captured the frustration among Republicans in the paper’s Wednesday editions, asking whether the GOP’s handling of the tax debate “might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.”
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the House GOP must get past the issue. “Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion? There’s no question,” he said Wednesday on CNBC. “Both Republicans and Democrats have agreed that this is going to happen, and probably the best thing to happen now is just to get it over with.”
Marketwatch: The number of Americans filing initial claims for regular state unemployment-insurance benefits fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000 in the week ended Dec. 17, reaching the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected that claims would rise to 375,000, while remaining at levels historically associated with an improving labor market.
The four-week average of initial claims – a smoother gauge than the weekly data – fell 8,000 to 380,250, the lowest level since June 2008.
Steve Benen: It’s generally wise to avoid sweeping conclusions about week-to-week changes in data like this, but when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.
Michael Tomasky: President Obama has had an awful year. But thanks to the politically asinine miscalculations of House Republicans, he’s ending 2011 with a bang.
For a bunch of people who don’t believe that Barack Obama celebrates Christmas, Republicans sure are going out of their way to make sure the president has a merry one. The short-sighted stupidity of the House Republicans is hardly to be believed. The presidential nomination contest is as unsettled as ever and still features a bunch of candidates who are about as appealing to most Americans as Aunt Gladys’s fruitcake.
…. It’s all a reminder that Obama won’t be running just against a Republican candidate. He’ll be running, as he has been, against a Republican Congress. And the public is finally getting the message that they are breathing a different kind of air from the rest of us.
Paul Krugman: David Roberts reports on the EPA’s decision, finally, to regulate mercury from coal plants … it will save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. This is actually a much bigger issue, when it comes to saving American lives, than terrorism.
…. The point that strikes me most, however, is that this shows that it matters who holds the White House. You can complain about Obama’s lack of a strong progressive agenda, which I sometimes do, or wonder what good it is to hold the White House when the other side blocks every attempt to do good through legislation. But mercury regulation would not have happened if John McCain were president.
Elections have consequences, and this is one delayed consequence of 2008 that will make a big difference.