Monday, November 14, 2011

I Am Scouted (sort of)

So, about a week ago I got a call out of the blue asking if I'd be interested in dropping by a local Starbucks on Saturday and finding out more about the president's new jobs bill. I haven't been paying much attention to the latest round of debacle in DC, having largely tuned out after the disaster of the 'debt ceiling' fight --which in turn followed on the tax-cut-extention disaster, which in turn succeeded the train-wreck that was the health-care debate. After all that battering, I've scaled back on what political news I read in recent months, mostly following the bemused follies of the Republican candidates and wondering which one will be running as Third Party against Romney come the fall. Checking the calendar to find we weren't already scheduled for something else we needed to be doing at that time, I said sure.

Turns out "yes" isn't good enough; these people are persistent. They called again to confirm, and then yet again, but this third time they no longer presented it as a one-on-one presentation or information dissemination but mentioned that it was being run by the Obama re-election committee. Okay; I'd been a big supporter of the president during his run for office, and despite my deep disillusionment since at his repudiating most of the things he ran on I was curious to see what this latest proposal that wasn't going to get enacted was all about.

So, we showed up, got ourselves some tea (chai), and had a long talk with a v. nice guy who identified himself as the state director of the re-election campaign -- partly about specifics of the bill (insofar as the information sheet and little pamphlet he gave us laid them out) and partly about what the president shd or cd do to gain support. I'm afraid that while some of the bill's provisions sound good in the abstract (others, like cutting back on collecting Social Security, don't; that's just guaranteeing bigger trouble down the line), he wasn't able to convince us that it was anything but moot: Obama's assumption is that this time the other side will see reason, and compromise, and raise taxes. Why on earth shd they start acting responsibly now, when simply sabotaging the national government has worked so well for them for three years now? It was interesting to hear that he's about to resort to the 'executive orders' route of governing by fiat, which seems v. unlike his everybody-must-agree-upon-this style, but even that won't solve the major problems, all of which require funding and thus congressional support.

In the end, we were asked if we'd be interested in doing any volunteer work with the campaign. So we might end up stuffing envelopes at some point, or I may wander around the neighborhood knocking on doors; get-out-the-vote stuff (though neither of us is interested in making phone calls, having been on the receiving end of too many ourselves). Maybe at some point my enthusiasm will be rekindled, but at this point I really doubt it. Too many broken promises, too many surrenders without a fight. We'll see.

--John R.

current Kindle-book: 1956 (re. Eisenhower and the Suez Crisis)