Straws in the wind at the convenience store: "Welcome to America"
There's a chain convenience store near my house, and until I implemented the dreaded lifestyle change and started eating a lot more vegetables and fruit, I used to buy cookies there -- let's say, Pecan Sandies, just to disguise my identity slightly -- all the time. (I know, expensive, but we don't have a lot of stores in town.) So much so that the counter kids and I used to joke about it all the time. "Your Pecan Sandies are in!"
Well, in the last six months or so, the chain got sold to a bigger chain, and the new corporation started making a lot of inventory changes, rearranging the displays, downsizing the packaging, bringing in new people, and all that. And the Pecan Sandies dwindled in their packaging and then disappeared from the shelves entirely.
So, last night, I had the following conversation:
LAMBERT: No pecan sandies. It's like they're taking away everything I want.
COUNTER KID: Welcome to America.
And the counter kid was not a college kid or an irony-drenched hipster, but a gangly, unfashionably stubbled, slow-moving twenty-something from up in the County; this wasn't his throwaway job; this was his job*. Thin, in his ill-fitting, coarsely-stitched red corporate golf shirt. And, needless to say [or not?], we'd never discussed politics.
So Bob Herbert is right:
There is a widespread feeling that only the rich and well-placed can count on Washington’s help, and that toxic sentiment is spreading like the oil stain in the gulf, with ominous implications for President Obama and his party. It’s in this atmosphere that support for the president and his agenda is sinking like a stone.
Employment is the No. 1 issue for most ordinary Americans. Their anxiety on this front only grows as they watch teachers, firefighters and police officers lining up to walk the unemployment plank as state and local governments wrestle with horrendous budget deficits. ...
By nearly 2 to 1, respondents to the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll believed the United States is on the wrong track. ... Fifty-four percent of respondents believed he does not have a clear plan for creating jobs. ...
It’s not too late for the president to turn things around, but there is no indication that he has any plan or strategy** for doing it. And the political environment right now, with confidence in the administration waning and budgetary fears unnecessarily heightened by the deficit hawks, is not good.
It would take an extraordinary exercise in leadership ...
Not to mention a D party that was electorally responsive, and a Versailles that did anything other than noisily service the banksters and rentiers.
.... to rally the country behind a full-bore jobs-creation campaign — nothing short of large-scale nation-building on the home front. Maybe that’s impossible in the current environment. But that’s what the country needs.
NOTE * Making him lucky, right? But perhaps he doesn't see it that way.
NOTE ** Sure there is. The "indication" of the plan or strategy is what he is actually doing -- normalizing a permanent underclass of "differently jobbed."
NOTE Via Susie, who remarks:
Bob Herbert, unlike most pundits, understands that policies don’t count unless they improve people’s lives in a way they can see.
Concrete material benefits. Yep.