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Since I work for a county organization in a highly Republican area, my most passionate political discussions tend to be with like-minded coworkers. Though I rarely let a chance go by without some comment, I tend to be diplomatic and emphasize the hole we're in, rather than who put us there.

I let people draw their own conclusions.

A friend of mine has been genuinely conflicted over her choices this Presidential campaign season. She liked Clinton, especially since she is our NY State Senator and has done good things for the area.

But Barack Obama... she said, "There's something about him I just can't feel comfortable with."

(It would not be diplomatic at this point to discuss any racial issues. I don't think she is racist, at all. But we're one of those areas where the African American segment is like 1%.) I explained why I liked Obama, and suggested she see what he says on his website, especially listening to his speeches.

But it wasn't what Obama did that let her make up her mind. It's what McCain did.

To the Flipmobile!

I've actually heard people saying of Obama, "I don't know if he has the experience. I don't know if he has the right policies. I don't know."

What they are saying is, I don't know him.

I do my best.

McCain is a name they have been hearing for decades. And, in the past, he always said things they liked, too! So it must be quite the mental shift for them to consider an unknown candidate with some unconscious baggage attached.

Especially since I almost always hear the reflexive, "I honor McCain's service, of course."

But the other day my friend, fretting about bills, facing a surgery on her husband, with three girls to raise and try to get through college, told me that she saw an interview with John McCain.

"He was so out of it! I didn't hear any real plans, just this vagueness, like he really doesn't know what to do!"

"I don't think he does," I said, nodding in agreement.

"He reminds me of my mother, when we had to start reminding her about her pills. She's wonderful, but she couldn't be in charge of things like she used to."

"Yup, I know what you mean."

"I couldn't get any sense he knew what he was talking about. I can't do it. I can't vote for John McCain."

"I know. We only have two choices. And it's really important this year."

We made a lunch date to discuss the matter further. I'm just going to keep the conversation on that track, sharing what I've learned from going online. She's not new to the Internet, just new to finding out political information that way.

I'm here to help.

Just last night, another friend; no cable, no newspaper, someone who relies on his friends for political information, came for a visit and asked, "So what's new?"

We told him about the "Nation of Whiners" comment.

"This is McCain's economic advisor?"

"His head economic advisor," my spouse emphasized.

"Well, damn! I can't vote for him now!"

That's two.

Originally posted to WereBear on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar! (23+ / 0-)

    Pootie fan?

    Then you owe it to yourself to check out my cat blog!

    The Way of Cats

    My friends are not wingnuts. (Thankfully.) But some of them are apprehensive. My native spouse, who went away and returned, points out that his grandparents never even saw an African American except on TV.

    They were Sanford and Son fans.

    WereBear
    We are not rational beings. We are rationalization beings.
    the way of cats

    by WereBear on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:14:40 AM PDT

  •  Just one thing . (4+ / 0-)

    When you take your ballot behind the curtain , no one sees how you vote . A luxury we can still afford .

  •  Wow, you are a great listener. I need to sit on (4+ / 0-)

    your couch sometimes.

  •  Thanks for this diary, (6+ / 0-)

    and for your very tactful political missionary work, werebear.

    I could have been a soldier... I had got part of it learned; I knew more about retreating than the man that invented retreating. --Mark Twain

    by NogodsnomastersMary on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:15:51 AM PDT

  •  When I look as John McCain, (5+ / 0-)

    I try to think of him as one of my uncles at a family reunion. I'd enjoy his old storie and anecdotes, and we'd have a good laugh together as we sipped our sweet (ice) tea. Then, we'd both circulate to catch up with other people. But President?

    Even if it weren't for the policy differences, I can't see him in the White House.

    I was a Republican until they lost their minds, The word 'conservative' means 'discriminatory,' ... It's a form of political discrimination. --- Charles Barkley

    by Kimball Cross on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:18:19 AM PDT

  •  When talking with my Republican friends, (10+ / 0-)

    I'm very sympathetic this year.  Many can't bring themselves to vote McCain and won't vote Obama period (racism is very much a factor here).

    I remind them that they have Barr to fall back on.  They're not happy, but glad to be reminded there's an option other than McCain.

    •  i have a hard... (4+ / 0-)

      time being sympathetic with people who helped put us in the position we're in. did they not know what they were voting in with bush? are they largely well off with stock portfolios that this regime would bolster? what possible excuse for their participation in the destruction of america and fellow americans do they have? i have very few republican friends and thats fine with me.
      tung sol

      ps crashing this in not a condemnation of you, but please understand i have very little sympathy for what i feel are collaborators, either active or passive.

      'cause you're the green manalishi with the two prong crown--Peter Green, Green Manalishi

      by tung sol on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:35:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, most of my GOPals aren't very (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, murrayewv, daulton, tung sol, SciVo

        well off at all.  Carpenter, barber, truck driver, dentist.  They're Republicans out of habit and indoctrination, not because they've got gazillions they don't want taxed.

        •  understood... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Crashing Vor, myrealname

          and i realize that there are many people who are registered republican that are in the same boat as many of us are. it just bewilders me that anyone could even fathom voting for a republican after these last seven and a half years. just as i have a hard time understanding how blacks or gays could be republican. as someone who quit smoking (a really bad habit) lets just hope they can kick the repub habit.
          tung sol

          'cause you're the green manalishi with the two prong crown--Peter Green, Green Manalishi

          by tung sol on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 07:11:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Is your business bettor off than it was 8 yrs ago (7+ / 0-)

          Try asking them that.

          And maybe use the doctor analogy. If you found a doctor that told you that you should it's fine to drink, smoke, not exercise, eat anything--in short, live an unregulated life--would you go to him?

          That's Dr. GOP, and the health of the economy shows the effects.

          Now we have the produce industry, etc., BEGGING for regulation (and the country's biggest meat packer went backrupt), but the GOP has killed the regulation budget.

          "No rules for business" is NOT working. The GOP, like Communism, is a failed experiment.

          •  That's a great analogy! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wee Mama, daulton, SciVo

            And something I think people could understand.

            WereBear
            We are not rational beings. We are rationalization beings.
            the way of cats

            by WereBear on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 07:41:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I like the [laissez-faire = communism] (0+ / 0-)

            Like communism, laissez-faire has an elegance of theory that suckers a lot of smart people. Like communism, it's been proven time and again that laissez-faire screws over >90% of the population here in the real world, where the human condition is what it is, not what we'd like to imagine. Like communism, the die-hard true believers will claim that it's never been tried properly, totally missing the point that there's a reason for that: it's so completely incompatible with human nature that it simply can't be done.

            I also believe we must impeach Antonin Scalia for protection from his inhumanity.

            by SciVo on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 08:54:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  When my brother was voting for Bush (7+ / 0-)

        the first time, I begged him and my nephew to reconsider. I pointed out all the "stuff" about Bush, but my bro is an Evangelical (convert from Judaism), and he believed Bush was guided by Christ. Even in 2004, my bro was still willing to believe in Bush, though, he wasn't entirely happy with him.

        A few weeks ago, my bro told me I was right, he wished he'd listened to me. He will not vote for McCain or the Republicans, he feels like he's been "had", been lied to and cheated. He wanted Hillary, but he'll vote for the Democrat, no matter who it is.

        I think there's a lot more people out there that feel like him.

        "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

        by MillieNeon on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 07:17:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That's right. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, Gary Norton, manucpa, ETF

    did they not know what they were voting in with bush?

    I don't think a lot of them did. You have to remember, Bush lies all the time. In 2000, they were lies the people wanted to hear. In 2004, they were still scared.

    I had an immediate visceral dislike before he even opened his mouth and sealed the deal.

    But a lot of people were fooled.

    But, I don't think lots are, any more.

    WereBear
    We are not rational beings. We are rationalization beings.
    the way of cats

    by WereBear on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:38:25 AM PDT

  •  Nation of whiners (6+ / 0-)

    Keep telling people this.

    McCain's top economic advisor calls America a nation of whiners.  Tell Seniors that McCain called Social Security a disgrace.  McCain's top surrogate is Sean Hannity, a vile bigot who defends Ann Coulter's when she said that her only regret about Timothy McVeigh is that he didn't blow up the NY Times Building.

    I shall not rest until right wing conservatives are 4th party gadflies limited to offering minor corrections on legislation once or twice a year.

    by davefromqueens on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:47:34 AM PDT

  •  It's good to remember (6+ / 0-)

    how many times McCain is asked a questions and replies that he'll have to answer later. There are people setting his policy and he has to check what it is. He's no president and I don't want whomever is telling him what to say to be in the White House.

    "The guy has no core. He likes to call his campaign the 'straight talk express.' We call it the 'forked tongue express.'" - Bob Haney (GOP)

    by DiegoUK on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 06:47:46 AM PDT

  •  Next door neighbor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daulton, myrealname, manucpa

    Almost 50. Lives alone (other than her 2 cats) since her daughter and granddaughter moved out. Works in the meat department of a supermarket. Has had a lot of money problems even in better times, but never complains. She has family that helps her out - father helps with "handyman" tasks while tuning into NASCAR races, the family always vacations at Disney once or twice a year and the brother-in-law always pays. Very religious and whatever happens, she seems to accept it as God's plan.

    Has always been a Republican but started to become disenchanted with Bush in 2004 - but not enough to vote for Kerry (she bought into the whole Swift Boat thing). She thinks government spends too much money and they should be much more careful about spending like she has to be.

    Hates unions, almost irrationally. I think that is from the influence of her father who used to own a business but I'm not really sure.

    Also is the type who is easily terrified at the prospect of a terror attack, or at least she was back in 2004.

    And gays, she says, make her nervous.

    She doesn't like McCain, never did, and less so now. And she thinks Obama is very smart, but thinks he's too liberal. So she's on the fence. Her parents are for McCain, but not enthusiastically so. Her daughter is voting for Obama, but she also voted for Kerry last time out.

    I can't wait to "happen to mention" to her the Phil Gramm remarks about "mental recession" and "nation of whiners".

    John McCain - Like W. Only Older.

    Funny McCain Pics archive updated regularly

    by InsultComicDog on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 07:00:49 AM PDT

  •  Interesting exchange yesterday w/die hard... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InsultComicDog, myrealname, manucpa

    republican in Edgefield, SC. The guy has a woodworking business along the main drag in Edgefield, located in western SC about 30 miles from the GA border. He started the political talk and quickly learned my husband and I were on the opposite side politically.  First he tried to peddle that Barack attended a muslim school; I pointed out it was not a religious school. Then he asked if we listened to talk radio, he didn't have a clue who Thom Hartmann or Rachel Maddow were. My husband then asked him if he listened to Fox News, of course, his answer was yes. He could tell by our reaction we didn't think much of their news; he challenged us to tell him when Fox News lies. When we gave instances of lying about Barack's religion and the "terrorist fist bump," he conveniently didn't recall those.  Three women also shopping at his outdoor woodworking stand listened intently, but didn't offer any opinions. As we were leaving, he did admit he thought Bush was a terrible president.  We didn't change his attitude, but may have given the 3 women some things to think about.

  •  Name one issue McCain has NOT flipped on. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teharper428, myrealname, princss6

    That's the comeback question for McCain supporters.

  •  I had a conversation with an (0+ / 0-)

    acquaintance of ours that we see seldom.  We never have discussed politics before but Obama's name came up.  He had all the concern troll lines - "I worry that he doesn't have enough experience."  I compared the way Obama ran his campaign to Clinton and McCain (this was during the primaries.)  Then he was "concerned" because >90% of African Americans supported Obama.  I pointed out that Clinton had the majority of AA voters at the beginning of the campaign and she lost them.  He conceded my points but, after talking to him again recently, I suspect he really is a Republican and knows to avoid discussing politics with me - basically he knows what he knows and facts be damned.  I'll see him at least once more before he goes to Arizona for the winter and see if I can get another conversation started.

  •  *Sigh* What a clean, clear picture this diary... (0+ / 0-)

    ...paints of compassionate rationality.

    Isn't it a good feeling when you see the paper in the morning, it says 'Axe Slayer Kills 19' and you say, "They can't pin that one on me!" - Jean Shepherd

    by razajac on Sat Jul 12, 2008 at 05:16:08 PM PDT

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