Thursday, June 30, 2011

Qui Tacit Consentit

Republicans keep saying the same thing, over and over, until you hear it from enough people, often enough, and it becomes conventional wisdom. You hear it for long enough, it becomes dogma.

We cannot spend money we do not have.
We are wrecking our children's future.
We have to manage our government the way you manage your home budget.
We have to bring these unions under control. (They are undeserving, do not work, and are looking for a free hand out.)

The Democrats, rather than responding directly to these sophisms, ignore them as if they have no power to persuade and float benign, politically correct responses like, "We all have to pull together." Or, "We are for freedom and opportunity."  Or, "We have to take a balanced approach."

A balanced approach? What does that mean?

The man who is too timid to offend, I would submit, is too timid to lead.

Let's just say what we mean:

1/ We cannot spend money we do not have. True. Oh, so true. So let's get us some more money. Tax the rich. The tax cuts for the rich were supposed to be temporary, for the good, flush times. Now the rich, having feasted on that windfall are not content to say, "Thanks for all the good times." They want the good times made permanent. A permanent free pass for the rich. Need to balance the budget, ask the middle class for the cash. We got ours.

2/ "We," are wrecking our children's future. Not "we" rich boy, you.

3/ The home budget:  When your expenses out strip your income, you look for ways to increase your income. Yes, cut expenses, but get more money in. There's two side to a ledger sheet, You remember that, right? You are the part of big business. Ledger sheets? Remember?

4/ Oh, those unions.  Yep, unions probably do make things cost more. Union cops do aggravate us by doing things which look like they don't care about getting a job done, but they do care about how little they can do and get paid unreasonably high wages for it.

No more glaring example is the state trooper who insists he needs to be flashing lights and waving cars by construction sites at $75 an hour and getting his pension padded because he has worked at jobs like this. 

But, the fact is, most unions aren't like that. Most of the union jobs are and have been held by hard working people who built this country and built the strongest industrial base in the world.  What destroyed the unions and the companies which employed them was the absence of a national health care system, so the unions had to do that for the active workers and the retirees and then the unions took the blame because it was the health care benefits which really tipped the American auto industry over the brink.

Of course, the other half of the story was the failure of the auto executives to do an even halfway adequate job for all the money they were being paid.  American auto execs failed to put into place quality controls, failed to cultivate a market for the kinds of cars which made the Japanese and failed to compete with the Japanese who built their own factories by identifying what was best about the American system and eliminating what did not work.

So there you have it: Let's fail and blame somebody else, from government to private enterprise.

The road to failure. The path to perdition. The American Way.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finally The President Reacts

Today, finally, the President of the United States said something about the rich Republicans who have refused to talk about the deficit if the Democrats bring up taxing the very rich.

He remarked: the Republicans are fighting to keep deductions for corporate jets while asking middle class Americans to give up Medicare, and that's a difficult position to defend.

You think?

One of the psychological aspects of listening to a leader speak for us is the experience of hearing someone say something you have been thinking and you get a little rush of pleasure, endorphins get released in your brain .

It's an even bigger rush, if the leader says something better than you could have said it, or injects it with an emotional kick to which you can see others respond.

Churchill could do that, could say it better than you could, and with his understated rumble, he could inject a real kick into that idea of fighting them on the beaches, in fields and never surrendering. 

Lincoln, speaking in those complex clauses of the nineteenth century, could, with elevated phrasing make you understand you were involved in something really momentous here: we are engaged in a struggle to determine whether a nation conceived of the people, for the people and by the people shall perish from the earth. Simple, rhythmic, and full of gravitas. No fear of rhetoric soaring.

FDR could turn a phrase--the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.  Actually, that turned out not to be quite accurate, as it turned out we had a lot more to fear: Hitler, Emperor Tojo, Pearl Harbor, V-2 rockets. But FDR was talking about the economy, so he can be forgiven.

And Reagan--a one man disaster for the deficit and the economy--could still move people with a pithy phrase, and he could vilify with a smile. "The nine scariest words in the English language: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" Cute, effective, cutting. Wrong target. Wrong sentiment. But effective marketing of the big idea: Government, BAD.

Government is not, it turns out, the problem. It may not be the solution in every case, but Reagan tried to make it always the problem. And he had good writers to get him the marketing phrases, and he knew how to deliver a line.

President Obama has delivered a good speech now and then--at his first Democratic convention. The night he won the election, speaking  in that park in Chicago.  But since then, he has disappeared into the background.

But today, he came into focus again, and said what needed to be said.

Mitch McConnell and Orin Hatch came out, saying what we know Republicans swill ay: What we need is a constitutional amendment for balanced budgets.

Now there is a real timely, courageous idea.

Absolutely typical of these skunks who call themselves Republicans.

Fooling the People

If, as Lincoln once observed, you cannot fool all the people all the time, but you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, then the Republicans and those who travel with them should be doing pretty well right now.

Rush Limbaugh has picked up the Republican twitter phrase "Obama is sabotaging the economy"  and Newt Gingrich has picked up the idea speaking of the Obama Depression.

As if...

As if President Obama, who arrived in office with the economy hemorrhaging to death on his doorstep, the economy given him by the Republican party (both Republican President and the very same members of Congress, Boehner, McConnell and all those who sailed with them) as if President Obama created the huge economic mess.

Oh, how lovely and malleable memory is, especially for Republicans: They forget how they themselves howled about REGULATION killing the economy, REGULATION and it's evil twin, TAXES (on the rich.)   And so they repealed all those regulations (the G/S Act) which Democrats had put into place to keep banks from behaving irresponsibly , dating back to the Great Depression of the 1930's and so those Republican bankers ran wild and made terrible loans because the baby sitter had been thrown out of the house. And we got credit default swaps and mortgage backed securities and a banking sector gone wild and a crash, and it's all Obama's fault.

And Gingrich will tick off the sad shape of the economy, all gloom and doom, one in seven Americans now on food stamps--where does he get those numbers?--one of every four American homes now worth less than its mortgage. All Obama's fault.

And those tornadoes? Obama's fault.

But Newt knows just how to fix it:  Kill the "Death Tax," the Republican name for a tax on estates worth millions, which rich people hate because it means their kids will inherit only 5 million dollars and will start life only at second base instead of third base.   And reduce  the corporate tax rate, which is to say, increase corporate welfare for the rich.

And look at Obama determined to "Erect barriers that prevent us from taking advantage of our vast American natural resources. In the process, the price of a gallon of gas has gone up by nearly two dollars since he took office."

Oh, yes, that's right. America has vast oil resources. We are a veritable Saudi Arabia. If only Obama would just tap those oil fields.  Of course, President Obama, being an accommodating fellow, made the mistake of listening to those loud mouthed Republicans and just as always seems to happen when he listens to them, he frees up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico just days before the BP rig blows up and nearly destroys the Gulf Coast economy and ecosystem.

Fooled some of the people (President Obama and his mineral resource people) some of the time, the Republicans did.

But how about the rest of us fools?
 Are we ready to listen to the Radical Republicans. The voice of resentment and idiocy?

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Nation of Suckers

What is a sucker?  A dupe. A person deceived.

W.C. Fields said something to the effect it is immoral to fail to take a sucker's money.

Since even before Ronald Reagan, the rich have run this country, have owned it, but with Reagan and since him, the Republican party has been a master of suckering those they control.

How do you account for the men you find at any bar in any city, even in Boston, but certainly in New Hampshire, men who are electricians, pilots, landscapers, small business owners, employees of large corporations, plumbers, cops, firemen, who may work at country clubs but are not members, who may own homes and cars, but only in partnership with the bank, and all these men are Republicans, if not declared, in sympathy, and they quote millionaires like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, even if they do not know who they are quoting, in vitriolic diatribes against government, taxes and the injustice of their money being taken from them, money they've worked hard for, given to the undeserving poor?

They quote with great mirth a Southern politician who says his dog ought to be given welfare because he qualifies: he's black, he can't read and does no work.

Republicans have used the resentment of the hard working middle class to their own advantage. Somehow, these men do not resent the rich their money, or the control the rich have seized.

A sign in a gas station office, a mock up of a 1040 income tax form: in the column on the right "Total income," and the next line down, "Tax owed," which is the same as the line above it: Total income.

So, it's out there. The government takes our money. 

But here's my question:  These Joe Sixpacks in the bar, they know the Republicans passed tax cuts for the really rich. But they do not connect the free ride for those rich with the money they think the government takes from them. 

When you ask them, "Don't you think you have to pay more taxes because the rich are paying less?" they look at you with uncomprehending stares.

No, it's the government we don't like.

We're okay with rich people. We may be rich ourselves some day and then what? We'll have to pay those big taxes.

Of course, they are digging a ditch; they'll never get rich.

But they cannot see that. They are under mind control, which is even worse than being under economic control.

They are so bamboozled, they cannot even work up a decent resentment and aim it in the proper direction.  They direct their most vehement vitriol at those people who speak the truth, who try to awaken them to the reality of their condition.

Nobody wants to be told they have been had, have been played for fools, and in that sense have been stupid, gullible, and in some part, because of that, they have suffered because of their own obtuseness.

They liked the illusion, the same way boys who going marching off to war like the flying flags, the cheering crowds and the girls throwing flowers. It's only later, and far away, they discover the reality of what they've gotten themselves into.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Afghanistan Democrats Uh-oh

When I was in college, there was this President who was trying to kill me. Actually, several Presidents, but mostly one. He was a Democrat, and he did lots of good and important things for many people, for the country as a whole: He passed a health care program which took care of older people; he steered a Civil Rights bill right past all the opposition from Southerners in the Congress, which he could do because he was a Southerner himself. He tried to end poverty.

But it was sort of like living next to this really nice man who did all sorts of charitable things, who always brought over soup when you were sick, but then you realize, yes, but, he was an axe murderer. He had heads in his basement freezer.

He thought we ought to be killing Vietnamese because somehow, if we didn't,  the Communists would, and if that happened, he would be the first American President to lose a war and he could not live with that.

I know, I know: it doesn't make much sense now, but it made sense to half the country back then.

Then again, you can convince half of this  country Elvis Presley is alive and living on Pluto and Barack Obama was born on an airplane somewhere between Kenya and Indonesia. (Which may suggest there is something seriously wrong with our educational system; or maybe it's the gene pool. I don't know. But, really, have you ever watched Doctor Phil? Or Judge Judy? Or even, really, Oprah. But I digress.)

So now we have Afghanistan, which at first seemed to make some sense. We were told the plot to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center was hatched there and we were told more terrorists were in training with the same folks who brought you 911, right there, somewhere in Afghanistan. Of course, it turned out Islamic fundamentalists in that case were mostly Saudi, lived in an apartment in Germany and then in hotels in Florida and we did not declare war on Saudi Arabia, or send in special forces to take out Germany or invade Florida.

We just invade Afghanistan and Iraq, really, when you get right down to it, because it felt good at the time. 

Oh, there were the usual marketing lines: Better to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York. That was my favorite.

And it did stick in my craw that Osama Bin Laden, if he didn't actually have anything to do with 911, he tried to take credit for it and he was a major cheerleader, after the fact. He was unappetizing and the wicked witch is dead, so I'm happy.

Then again, Palestinians were cheering in the streets and we didn't send in Seal Team Six to take out all the Palestinians.

But up until President Obama got Osama, he was smart enough to say that wasn't his primary goal in Afghanistan, because it wasn't clear we were ever going to find that particular needle in the haystack.

But what he did say made about as little sense as what they used to say in Viet Nam. We were in Afghanistan to deny Al Qaeda training bases from which to launch the next attack.  We were after "sanctuaries."  Those apartments in Germany were training grounds and sanctuaries. The entire country of Somalia is a sanctuary for every lunatic who wants to call himself a Muslim. There are all those "Stan" countries and large swaths of Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma (or whatever they call themselves now), and probably also Arizona, South Carolina, Texas and Mississippi, in about that order, where there are very high levels of deranged people. And don't get me started on all those white supremacists living off the grid in Idaho and North Dakota. Yowza.

So now we once again have American boys (and now girls) tramping around a country in space suits, speaking English and trying to tell the locals how to live life. These kids have huge targets painted on their backs and their trucks and the locals have been having great sport blowing the kids up with roadside Improvised Explosive Devices.

But then again, these kids are all volunteers.

They are volunteers who are mostly in the "Join the Army if you fail," category, i.e., it was the best job they had any hope of getting. Yes, some were motivated by waving flags and something they call patriotism. (Not what Henry David Thoreau would call patriotism.) And one of them even gave up millions playing football in the NFL so he could go get shot by his own fellow Americans in Afghanistan, but he was the exception that proved the rule.

And we have American 19 year olds trying to vanquish the poppy fields, and trying to explain in English to the locals why this is a good thing. Good luck with that.

And we've got an American President who must not remember LBJ the way I do.

Our President really ought to read Empire of the Summer Moon, which is about how the US government tried to search out the Comanches who were terrorists of the Great Plains and never could really find them. So eventually, General Sheridan told General Sherman what they really had to do was kill all the buffalo, because once you killed all the buffalo, the Comanches were toast. These two generals had such good success with scorched earth in the Civil War, they were very high on the tactic. And it worked. But of course, it's hard doing scorched earth in the mountains of Afghanistan, when the locals know you are going to leave in the next few years. The Comanches knew we were going to stay, to move in and build strip malls. They eventually gave up and opened casinos.

I'll still vote for him, because look at what the Republicans are like, every last one of them.

The Democrat in the White House might be a closet axe murderer for all I know, but he is not, even if he is, nearly as scary as any of those Republicans.

If twelve angels blowing horns appeared in the skies over Washington tomorrow and the clouds parted and God said, "Raise taxes on millionaires," the Republicans would say He was misquoted.

Friday, June 24, 2011

That's How They Do

Did a quick survey this morning at work. I asked my 24 year old co worker if she had ever heard of Eric Cantor, John Kyle, Harry Reid  or John Boehner. No to each.

How about THE DEFICIT?  She asked what deficit I was talking about.

Now, you have to understand. This is a very smart young lady. She is funny. She has a very subversive sense of humor and she sees right to the core of everyone in the office; she sees their weaknesses and their strengths. If you met her on a train or at a bar, you'd know immediately she is a very perceptive, lively and intelligent person.  I've been trying to get her to listen to NPR in her car on the way to work, but she tried it and said she'd rather listen to music. All they ever talked about was things that happened in Europe and Africa or parts of the country she's never seen.

Whenever I travel, she asks me to get a ceramic bell at the airport gift shop from the city I visit. I've got her bells from Baltimore, Washington, DC, New Orleans, New York and Durham, North Carolina. 

Her husband, a quiet man who teaches at a local high school and writes for the local newspaper as a stringer was born in Vermont and holds two degrees from the University of New Hampshire. He has been out of Vermont/ New Hampshire only twice in his life, a two day trip to New Jersey and one trip to Wisconsin.

These are very bright people, who have a daughter with electric intelligence, who is one of those kids who you spot from across the room, and you pick her out from a crowd of kids because she is just so alert, bright and naturally draws the attention of adults and other kids.

What does all this have to do with Eric Cantor, Jim Kyle, Harry Reid and John Boehner and the deficit? 

These are New Hampshire voters.

They explain how Republicans can sell their goods.

When you look at it, you have to wonder how the argument about the deficit can be won by a party, group of people who say: 
       #1: We are facing a huge DEFICIT, which is the biggest danger to this country since the Civil War. It's a debt which our children and grandchildren will be unable to pay. It will make us all paupers. (Start the background music--I'd go for a Beetoven dirge, or maybe "Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left to Lose.") 
        #2 The DEFICIT is caused by spending on Medicare and Social Security. (Never mind the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, started by George Bush.)  And so, we have to kill those two money sucking programs. (And forget that history that the DEFICIT began when we fought those two wars and keep spending on them "off the books." And the DEFICIT began when the Republican party passed, over strenuous Democratic objections, huge tax cuts for the rich. Once the tax cuts hit, they turned a budget surplus into a huge deficit).  That's all history of how we got here. Now we are talking about what to do to save us from the sword hanging over our heads which will come crashing down destroy us.
         #3 Republicans try to simplify some admittedly abstruse economics by saying, think of the government budget like your own family budget, as you look at your bills at the kitchen table and see you are racking up credit card bills and mortgage payments and car payments and utility bills. What do you do? You have to CUT SPENDING! 

Now, when I think of this scenario, which is one I've experienced personally, I remember I did in fact prevail upon my wife to cut spending. But I also did something to increase income--I went out and got another job. So did she.

The government cannot get another job, but it can increase income, by cutting tax breaks for the rich, by cutting tax support for farmers to plant corn we don't need, by cutting corporate welfare, but the Republicans react with digust and walk away from negotiations, as if they are just outraged by Democrats demanding increases in government income.

Because as life threatening to the Republic as the DEFICIT is, this is not something that requires rich Republicans to give up their tax breaks.

So, here we have this life threatening illness, this thing which requires us to kill Medicare and Social Security and every government program you ever loved. But it is not such a problem as to require us to increase taxes on rich Republicans. That option is "OFF THE TABLE."

How can they possibly sell this?

They can sell that the my coworker, who is simply not listening.

Or they can sell it to Rush, Glenn, Sean and that moron on the Squawk Box whose name I don't even want to know, much less remember.

Michele and Kelly can sell these things, because they are so good looking and nice, they would never try to convince you to give up your health care so rich Republicans can keep getting richer.

I guess.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nice People

One thing people in New Hampshire seem to value is Nice. You hear that word all the time up here. So and so is nice, comes from a nice family and has a nice dog.

People in my town, Hampton, are especially nice to each other. Maybe it's because you see your neighbors, your fellow townspeople all the time, so if you cut them off on the road, or honk at them or snarl a lot, it becomes unpleasant because you are likely to run into that same person at the Hardware store or the bank or the Depot Square breakfast place or at Hagen's. 

Now we have elected two very nice people, a Congressman who can be nice and the ultimately sweet looking, nice lady Kelly Ayotte.

She is the mother of nice kids, the wife of a nice husband.

And she voted to kill the one program which provides medical care for every American citizen over the age of 65, so when they get sick, and they wind up in the hospital for their coronary bypass procedures and run up a bill of $120,000 in four days, they do not have to sell their house to pay for it, and they do not then have to move in with their kids.

Kelly wants to kill that program. Reform it is the nice way of putting it, but she voted to replace it with a coupon program, which is the same thing, kill it. Not nice to say you are killing. You are reforming. Or nicer yet, you are replacing it.  Let's all be nice.

Look at that face: Could this sweet,childlike face be attached to someone who is not nice?

Then again, she likes that Arizona Sheriff who marches prisoners down the street in their underwear. These prisoners, at least some of them, have not even been convicted of anything. Some were simply arrested. But there they are in their pink underwear in the hot Arizona sun being taunted by local Arizona citizens who have not yet been arrested. Ms. Ayotte had nothing but nice things to say about the Sheriff, when she showed up for an event honoring him.

I remember a scene from some movie about a concentration camp commandant, showing him petting his dog, showing him being really nice to his eight year old daughter. Kissing his wife good-bye when he went out the door to work in the morning. To work, to the concentration camp railroad platform, where he welcomed his new inmates.  To the gas chambers.

He was awfully nice, too.

On Knowing

History, of course, is one long argument.  I saw Steve Forbes on TV this morning and he was, as usual, very certain of everything he said. He said the Great Depression of the 1930's was caused by government regulation, and, of course, government regulation is always BAD. And that's what's keeping our economy from recovery. (Never mind those unregulated bankers and stockbrokers who were raping the system with their incompetence and arrogance and regulators did not keep them from driving the economy into a tree.) Steve Forbes KNOWS.

He knows because he has core ideology which is never wrong. In his religion, GOOD is unregulated business which makes everyone money and creates jobs and businessmen are GOOD and government types are cowardly salarymen trying to rein in the stallions. No matter what happens, what facts may be presented to the contrary, Steve knows what he knows. Same for Rush and Glenn and Sean. They all have that core belief which is unshakable.

They are, of course all Republicans and millionaires and what they really know is they want to keep all their money and they really don't care whether you are rich or poor, as long as they can get more of what they want. They are not good people.

Steve Forbes and Paul Ryan and the Republicans all talk about the horrors of government spending and they want to "Reform" Medicare and Social Security because these are government programs (which they will never need) and they limit freedom, because everyone must participate whether or not they like it.

What really kills the Republicans about Social Security and Medicare is these are very successful programs and everyone but the very rich love them.

The Republicans talk about Medicare Fraud, which they claim is epidemic.

That's a lie.

Let me tell you about Medicare Fraud. If a doctor sees 2 patients one morning, both are new patients and both have diabetes. One patient arrives wearing a mink coat, dripping in diamonds, with her chauffeur. The other is dressed in overalls, having taken the morning off from his job as a laborer. The doctor charges the rich lady $300 for her new consultation and he charges the laborer $50 for the consultation. He spends an hour with each, does pretty much the same thing for each. The Medicare police arrive the next day and tell the doctor he has committed Medicare Fraud.

"But why?"  the doctor asks. "I charged what the traffic could bear."

"No, you must charge every patient the same for the same service. If you were willing to accept $50 for the consultation, that is your true fee."

Now consider the radiologist who does a CT on a man's chest and then gives the man contrast and does some views to see what the chest looks like with the contrast. He has studied the same patient with the same CT machine, but he charges for two CT scans, one for the "Before contrast" the other for the "After contrast." 

Medicare Fraud?

No, perfectly legal.

But the first doctor makes the newspapers and the public does not understand.

Should we change the rules so rich people pay more for services under Medicare? Of course. But let's not think we KNOW there is Medicare fraud rampant out there or that the only way to change the system is to kill it.

That much we can all be confident, we KNOW.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Republicans Downsize the Electorate

One of the great mysteries of democracy as we know it in this country is how the party of the very rich, the same folks who shamelessly cut taxes for millionaires manage to sell the idea they are the workingman's friend.  Joe Six pack   will echo the lines from millionaire Rush Limbaugh about how the Democrats want to take his money and give it to a welfare Queen.

As H.L. Mencken noted, you will never grow broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.  But the aggregate of voters are not that stupid and Karl Rove and his colluding braintrust know eventually the Joe Six Pack will realize when Paul Ryan destroys Medicare and turns it into Coupon Care, Joe's parents will quickly be bankrupted by their health care costs and they will move in with him. So maybe, the great humble masses who do not make millions will become a problem for Republican candidates.

So what to do, Karl? How do you keep those masses from voting against you?

I got it! You turn away voters at the polls.

You pass a law to prevent VOTER FRAUD in New Hampshire to be sure all those citizens who have neglected to register at Town Hall prior to the election (most of whom are probably working stiffs who cannot get to Town Hall during working hours and these are just the guys who do not make millions)--you make sure they do not get to vote on election day.

Now we all know how big a problem VOTER FRAUD is in New Hampshire, where people mostly vote in small towns and they say hello to everyone who work at the polls, because people in small town New Hampshire tend to know each other--except on election day, when Republican poll tenders tend to look at their neighbors and suddenly see illegal immigrants, communists, terrorists, out of state agitators and psychopaths trying to get into that voting booth without a driver's license or a library card.

Now all we need is a good name for the law. Let's see: How about the VOTER FRAUD PREVENTION ACT.  Or, maybe, the DEFENSE OF VOTING INTEGRITY ACT. No, integrity has too many syllables. How about the SAVE OUR VOTE act? 

Really, the name is so important. That's the way to get to Joe Sixpack. He may not be interested in estate law, but if you make the estate tax THE DEATH TAX then you can protect a hundred million dollars of your estate for your Republican kids.

And if you can turn the Affordable Care Act into OBAMACARE, well that sounds just scary.

You've got to hand it to the Republicans. They are good at the name game. A rose may be a rose by any other name, but when the Republicans call it an INVASIVE SPECIES, it conjures up THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS  and Karl Rove could get it outlawed in the state of New Hampshire.

Actually, that's way happened to the King Crimson Maple, but that's another story.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Republican Road Rage

Someone tried to run my wife off Route 95 today because her car had an Obama bumper sticker. Actually, two Obama bumper stickers, one from 2008 and she's already got an Obama 2012. I don't know where she got that.

The driver and his passenger flashed her a finger, and she noted a sticker on the bumper which said, "How's that Obama thing working out for you?" Vermont plates, headed into Maine.

The two men in the car were big, fat guys, wedged into a small car, an Escort maybe, so they had to contort themselves to manage to get their hands up and express their antipathy.

Now here's the question: Does that ever happen to people with Palin bumper stickers? I mean, do Obama partisans go around giving Palin partisans the finger?

Maybe I'm biased--okay, I am definitely biased--but I think not.

If not, why not?

Because, I have to believe, the people who love Palin and Rush and Glenn and all those who travel with them are, in the main, resentful. They are angry.

I'm not sure they really know, specifically, who or what they are angry at. Well, maybe who: Obama. He's the boogey man.

But what? Well, they are angry about being decent, hard working, good, God fearing people, who just want to raise their kids right and kick back and drink beer and eat pizza on Friday nights, and Obama wants to take half (or more) of what they earn and give it to the undeserving, lazy, Welfare Queens and unmarried mothers and he wants to take away their guns, and he wants to make the country multilingual and he wants to send those black helicopters around to do who-knows-what.

So, they are justified in running women driving cars with Obama stickers right off the road.

What I'd like to meet, just once, is the New Hampshire Republican my Democratic neighbor was referring to when she said, "New Hampshire Republicans are different. They are not assholes." 

I was semi-shocked by that pungent word coming from a very prim and proper lady, but she was trying to make a point about New Hampshire exceptionalism. I think she was making a case for why national candidates should be vetted through the New Hampshire primary process. She was saying, "We are more reasonable and dispassionate, up here. We have a chance to assess the character of the men and women who want to live in the White House. We can do it at close quarters and look them in the eye."

We are, on both sides of the divide, pretty decent people here in New Hampshire.

But I'm not so sure this is still true, if it ever was.

I think of those guys driving down the road in New Hampshire running my wife off the road.

On the other hand, the car did have Vermont plates.

sticker ,