I am here to tell you that one of the best things I ever did for my marriage was to suck it up and agree to start paying for a cleaning service. Arguments over chores? Vastly reduced. The money involved? A lot less than you'd think. Does it add up over time. Oh, yes. Is it worth it? See: probable marriage saver. So, YEAH.
Yet I'm not here to talk about household finances and drama of Christmas Past.
I'm here to talk about a look into a kind of voter Republicans don't reach and VERY much do not like Democrats ever reaching: Disaffected white blue-collar NON-voters...
...and turning them into voters.
Because these are the voters who, per Republican mythology, will never ever, EVER vote for some big government big spending big banner liberal.
And yet a wave of said never-ever non-voters perked up when Barack Obama came onto the national stage, sized up his merits versus those of John McCain...
...and later those of Mitt Romney....
....and for voted not just the first but the second times in their lives for the current, elected and RE-elected President of the United States.
I'm going to break faith with my tradition of exhaustive diaries because I'd rather solicit stories from reach and every one of you who, for reasons of work, region, social networks and whatnot, have contact with people who aren't that political. Who aren't active voters. Who, once you get to know them will share their views.
My tale below the break and yeah it's shorter than usual diary length but long anyway haha.
In my case, the source is a woman who owns the cleaning service coming by today and opening up - a lot - because the shutdown concerns her.
That's when I learned she comes from staunch Republican and APPALACHIAN stock. Not your usual and customary Team Obama farm team. Ditto her husband, this my original reference to 'people' in the plural. They're high school graduates who come from backgrounds where that's a notch up from a host of older relatives (female ones in particular) who never bothered with all that. Reading between the lines, let's just say abstinence was not practiced back in the old days and it's a data point in the World Bank's view that the best contraception is girls finishing their education.
Now we get through the small talk about a custody battle involving her daughter and then on to the more sensitive topic of politics. Yes, I am so glossing over that part of the tale but it showcases how GUARDED people have become about their politics in the modern day. I was told how she had to remove her Obama sticker because she lost business over it. How one wealthy customer didn't dismiss her out of hand but forced her to park on the street (she had parked for years in the driveway up to this point) because of said sticker. She felt it was ridiculous but in time resigned to the reality of life that she would start to have trouble making ends meet if she did not accommodate the wishes of people who, in other side anecdotes, revealed themselves to be rich sh--ts who had a pathological hatred of the poor, any contact with the poor, and any attempt public or private, to ameliorate their suffering.
Suffice to say she had no truck with Republicans, but knew to keep quiet in their place. I suspect this provided the GOPer customers above with a delicious power trip. In fact, it was only when the husband (who had a lawn service and also shared this client) hurt his back on the job and asked them for help with medical bills that first he and then his wife was dismissed from service at what I will mockingly call 'the manor'.
This is the kind of interaction that people remember. So next time you hear a Republican gripe about being made to do the right thing...remind them that we live in a world where rather than own up and do the right thing, sometimes even extremely well off Republicans require a nudge with force of law behind it.
So, my friend the cleaning lady - literally - brings up how one day she saw Senator Obama on Oprah, and listened to him talk, and something clicked. And then she registered to vote. And so did her husband. And they made their grown up son register to vote. And then in 2008 they all voted for the first time: as Democrats.
Then they did it again in 2012.
Now, here's the thing. She's became disillusioned again. Her reasons for voting - and how she sorts out who is qualified are not - are things Republicans specifically target: the appearance of strength and perceived ability to move his agenda. Now, she doesn't buy for a moment Obama is some sort of crook and called FoxNews "the Republicans' network, everyone I know knows that!" However, she's miffed that Obama, having won a second term and therefore free of any consideration of re-election, has so far let Republicans continue to block him.
Let that sink in...and I promise this ends well but hear me out...she's pissed that Obama's letting Republicans get the best of him in his second term. "Why did I vote if he can't get stuff done? That's part of being a leader!"
Now for the good part, the really good part:
She's pleased with Obama right now. She says "He's finally standing up to the Republicans. They shut the government down and he's not taking it sitting down. It's a late start from where I'm sitting but finally he's doing what he should have done all along!"
Let this be the takeaway: The Republicans lost the race to activate working class whites - and by that I include blue collar business owners like my friend today who per Republicans are on the hook the most for Obamacare.
And that's the other thing Republicans have gone after: confusing the value of the program. She doesn't know what to think of it. She's miffed about the mandate but retired a bit after I mention that it's that or everyone who's uninsured goes to the ER and the doctors and hospitals and taxpayers like you get stiffed.
That made clear sense to her. She isn't the type to suddenly pivot her judgments and won't just because of my words - I could tell she was just laying back to get to a happier next spot in conversation. But she'll think about it later on her own time.
And that's the thing: The Republicans had a strong and effective message: Obama weak, not getting things done, the one thing he HAS done is confusing and weird and might be worse than doing nothing at all.
Then they up and tried to shut down America with that message as a foundation.
And suddenly all those once-disaffected, then activated-by-Obama, then disaffected-again-by-GOP spin voters are pivoting yet again.
They're seeing Obama strong again. They're seeing him getting stuff done and winning this staring contest. They like what they see and they're revisiting that, you know, if Obama's strong and getting stuff done, what else are Republicans lying about?
I'll go take me a look at that there Obamacare and maybe order me a plan.
I think that's what my friend's going to do. I think that's what a lot of people just like her are going to do.
And by that I mean a host of white working-class blue-collar Southerners.
And if they're revisiting their disaffection about the past few years... who isn't?
Because these folks are supposed to be TEA PARTIERS.
Oops... perhaps not so many are as is advertised.
And that's why cleaning day is a window on why Republicans are so terrified of President Barack HUSSEIN by grace of God Obama.