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    Perspectives from Elkhart: President Obama's Visit is a Dubious Honor

    Elkhart, Indiana, is a city of just over 50,000 people. Over its history, it's had a few key industries, but none so important as trailer and RV manufacturing that has been recently devastated by high gas prices and lack of credit for people still willing to buy. It's a city of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth types, most of whom vote Republican. It's middle America at its best and its worst. And it's not so very different from cities of its size all over the country. 

    Most significantly, at least as relates to the President's first town hall meeting, Elkhart has seen its unemployment rate rise from around 5% in December of 2007 to around 15% today. So, now the people of Elkhart now wonder: How many more jobs will be lost? How will they take care of their families? Will the economy improve? Can they make it until it does?

    I live about a half-hour from Elkhart, and my city's economic well being is entwined with that of Elkhart's and of every city and town in the surrounding area. Almost every day, I hear of someone else who has lost their job--a husband, a mother, a sister-in-law. People in my own family are struggling. Food banks are depleted and aid services have been cut.

    When I was knocking on doors for the President during the campaign and people asked me why I was supporting him, I would tell them that for too long, politicians in Washington have been fighting over stuff like flag burning and abortion, preferring gridlock to action, while those of us living in the middle of the country are languishing. Our schools are failing, our infrastructure is falling, and we're losing economic ground every day. I am voting for Barack Obama, I told them, because he envisions a government that puts aside the petty bickering and gamesmanship and works for the people. I am voting for Barack Obama because he knows what it's like to live the life that we are living. He understands the things that matter to us.

    Today, the President came to Elkhart because it boasts the highest unemployment rate in the country, triple what is was just a year ago. He came to Elkhart to make the point that outside of Washington, we are no longer simply languishing. We are in real trouble. And if the government does not help us, we may not weather the storm. 

    At this point, it looks like a recovery bill is going to make it to the President's desk, but it will be no thanks to the majority of Republicans who are still playing the same tired games, starting disingenious fights over tiny provisions in the bill in an attempt to turn public opinion to their side only so they can weaken the President and gain political leverage. 

    It would be nice to know that we had national leaders in both parties who cared more about the plight of average Americans than they did winning points. But at least we've got one. One who understands what is happening far away from Washington and is doing his damnedest to make it better. 



    I like this! Especially the last paragraph. When I was listening to our intelligent, clear-thinking and caring president speak on tv tonight it was just hitting me how grateful I am that we worked so hard during the campaign.  I was thinking about the euphoria of election night wearing off and realizing that this is the good part, this is the part we were working for...  In spite of how bad things are it is still refreshing to have this guy as president!

    Gosh darn it.  I heard the presser last night, not his talk, but reading your post this morning I started tearing up again. I am overcome with emotion at the idea of a President that operates from the basic premise that government is supposed to work for the people.  Not for the egos of congresspersons, not for the weathly top 10% or to mail out welfare checks to the bottom 10% - it works for the people and is responsible to the people.  Government people are not supposed to lie to the people, steal from the people, or ignore the people.  This concept has been long forgotten by the people at least since Lee Atwater racheted up the ugly talk in politics - and all three parties decided it was more fun to fling crap than work (that is the republicans, democrats and MSM).  Sitting here this morning I am so grateful I have been fortunate enough to live to see this because I am one of those people. 

    Thank you for posting Orlando.

    It is a stark contrast to the last eight years, that's for sure. And even Clinton, although I do think he cared about the American people on a much more real level than Bush, had a little too much fun playing the political games.

    My favorite moment of the press conference? When he used the word "bellicose." My cousin, with whom I was watching, imagined the look on Bush's face at home in Texas, trying to figure out what Obama was talking about.

    I had the same reaction when Obama said he hoped Iran would "reciprocate." And then, to my surprise, didn't look into the camera with a smirk, touchingly proud that he'd gotten all four syllables in the correct order.

    Nickolas at HuffPo did the math on the press conference answers:


    Oh, Orlando.  Last night before I fell asleep I thought about what you said about Bush and bellicose.  I had to laugh because I knew exactly how Bush would look like.  Then I had to stop laughing because I realized it is not a good thing for the american public to be so familar with the puzzled face of our president because     we    saw     it     sooooooooo     many         times.

    So, the new DMS is coming out, will they have Post-Bush-Trauma listed?  What will the symtoms be?  And will Genghis be able to bring us a visual on that?

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