Monday, February 9, 2009

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, look who's here!

Today was an exciting day in our area, as President Obama made the scene in Elkhart, Indiana!

Elkhart is a little east of us, as you can see on the map below. (The red X is approximately where Nutwood is.) Air Force One landed at South Bend Regional Airport and the motorcade made its way over to Elkhart. (Cousin Shane flew back from New York today--I just heard from him, and although he didn't experience any delays, he said that some things were changed a bit to accommodate the President's visit.) As I recently mentioned, Elkhart County is hurting in a bad way, with 15.3% unemployment. The President was introduced by an out-of-work Elkhart resident, an RV worker, who is worried what he'll do when his unemployment benefits run out. President Obama spoke for about 20 minutes, then took questions from the audience in a town hall-style format for 35-40 minutes, followed by lots of handshaking on his way out.

He was accompanied on this trip by several Indiana and Michigan politicians, including Senator Evan Bayh, Congressman Joe Donnelly (our congressman), and Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan. A surprising absence was Senator Richard Lugar, who was apparently invited on the trip but declined. Senator Lugar worked closely with then-Senator Obama on some things, and there has always seemed to be a mutual respect there, so I'm puzzled by his absence. Dan wondered if he was being pressured by the GOP. If so, that's a cryin' shame, because Sen. Lugar has always been a great legislator and an asset to Hoosiers. I'll be writing to Sen. Lugar in a moment and urging him to support the President on this.

Oddly enough, the President mentioned something in his speech that I just wrote about: while it's easy to talk numbers, 15% unemployment, 50,000 more jobs lost, etc., we have to remember that there's a person behind every number. That was my philosophy when working in the lab...never forget that those numbers are real people. I think it applies here, too, and I thought it was pretty cool to hear him say that.

I thought he did a great job, and was very well-received. The calls were not prescreened, so he was going in blind, and had to answer a question about some of his Cabinet selections and their tax problems. The crowd kind of started booing her, but the President was like, "It's all right, it's all's a legitimate question," and went on to reiterate that he made a mistake, and that he is committed to changing the culture of Washington. The woman also inexplicably made the comment that she thinks he should "have a beer with Sean Hannity." What kind of bonehead comment was that? He handled it well...said he didn't know Mr. Hannity had requested to have a beer with him...that Mr. Hannity has made no bones about not being a big fan of his...but he's always good for a beer.

I just enjoyed the hell out of watching this today. It took me back to the heady days of the primaries, and then the Presidential campaign. He's so damn good at this. I thought one of the most powerful things he said was that hey, people in Elkhart want to work--nobody's asking for a handout! He got a big cheer for that one, and he's right. Not just in Elkhart, but across the country. Have you seen the pictures of the lines in Atlanta and Chicago for job calls? People want to work. We need to do something to provide job opportunities for them, whether through job creation, job training, or education. That's why I support this, and why I think it needs to pass.

Off to write my Senator! And no matter how you feel about this or any other issue, I encourage you to write your Senator or Congressman. You might be surprised at how responsive they are, and I've been fortunate in that I've always gotten thoughtful responses to my letters. We have the power and right to be engaged in our legislative process, and I also believe it's a responsibility that we shouldn't take for granted. Happy politicking, y'all! And don't forget to watch the President's address tonight.


  1. Amen! People do want to work! I just pray that things start turning around soon. That's very exciting that President Obama was so close to you.

  2. I'm one not shy about writing my NJ pols when I have a strong opinion about something(which is often). I still say SOME people want to work( I've even had people thru blogging on AOL tell me, specifically, they did not want to work), but I do think Obama is trying. I don't agree with all the ways he is trying, but his term is very young & we need to give him a chance. ~Mary

  3. Oklahoma senators and congressmen tend to be over-the-top Conservative Republicans who are very good at responding via form letter. :-( I'm so glad to hear that President Obama was there and was honest and forthright with his answers.

  4. Plenty of people are asking for a handout, from people on the street to CEO's on their corporate jet. Most people *do* want to work, but we need to be careful about encouraging and rewarding the many who would rather sit at home and collect a federal check. In particular I'm thinking of one family member of mine who's skirted that little bit about 'working for a living' for six or seven years now. It's a nice gig if you can get it.

    Glad you got to see Obama as I know that made you happy.

  5. wow our jobless ex-mayor (you know, the one who just got out of the pokey) just spent 30 large to fly down to texas to look for work?

    shit, how many unemployed people could live on that 30 large for a year? i know i could, and most comfortably at that.



  6. Have you tried the new ice cream,
    "Barocky Road"? They tell me it
    is half vanilla, half chocolate,
    surrounded by a few fruits and a
    lot of nuts! Give it a try.
    (I usually do not forward political
    jokes, especially demeaning ones, but
    I think this one is politically correct.
    And kinda funny.

  7. It was amazing that the tickets were gone in an hour. It would be fun to see him live some day.

  8. a Republican senator here supported a bill that said if a person had caused bodily harm to a child under 3 they had to do at least 25 yr in prison for that crime. I personally know the child this bill was created because of. It is called Destiny's Law. Destiny was beaten and shaken by her moms boyfriend and is now blind, mute, and mentally retarded...before the attack, she was a normal 3 yr old. The POS who did this got only 7 yrs. This senator did his job this time and i respect that.

  9. DISCLAIMER........
    I did not mean to make fun of
    anyone's "rocky road" with my
    little ice cream joke. Everyone
    is worried and concerned over \
    the job crisis, and prays that
    the President can find solutions.
    but it is the American way to
    joke about serious subjects. I
    wish him well, and our gal Hilary,

  10. I have to say that I was impressed by him today, I'm still worried about passing any kind of stimulus packg, just not sure it's the right thing.... but I CAN see that he was sincere in what he believes will help, and I think he really does care.

    Your Congressman has the same name (or just about) as my dad... he was Joe Donley!

  11. Hi Beth,
    Sorry I missed his remarks ... sounds like he said all the right things. Personally, however, I still find this stimulus package confusing.

  12. I would like to shke his hand and wish him best luck. He certainly needs it. I have some high calibre customers who live in Chicago and they hate his guts. I felt rather hurt when they told me so as if they had spoken badly about a dear friend of mine! I do not understand why people canno just be happy supportive for their country!!! All the best, Beth. Ciao. Antonella

  13. I'm curious how Hannity used this clip. You know he would, if he could somehow edit out the booing.
    I did see a portion of Hannity last night in which he was suggesting Obama is using the politics of fear. This resulted in much cursing in our living room, so we changed the channel.
    GoBama, GoBama, GoBama!

  14. I do sincerely hope and pray that your lovely new president can contnue in the way he has started his presidency...he has a long hard road ahead and will need all our suport and prayers.
    Love sybil xx

  15. I thought he did great both at Elkhart and his speech.I think he is going to have to fight the republicans every step of the way, but he can do it. Lucy

  16. I was transfixed by his press conference last night. He was forceful but not nasty, patient with making explanations, and most of all, smart. This is a thinking man, something we've needed for a long time.

  17. I don't know why, but tears came to my eyes reading this ... good, hopeful tears.

    AKA and I were mashing up the presidents he brought to mind. FDR's confidence and Ike's realism. I am growning more and more certain that he is not only the best candidate, but the best person for the job at hand.

  18. I didn't see the speech or hear anything about it. I opted for Bret Michaels ROLB...that is my idea of a stimulus package!! LOL.

    I've pretty much stopped watching the national news or listening to anything so I am pretty much uninformed. If I've had a fraction of your enthusiasm & optimism I would be in good shape.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?