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Obama in the Heartland: 'Don't Worry, We'll Be Flyover Country Again Soon Enough'

[Reprinted from QuincyNews.org.]

Welcome back to the Midwest, Mr. President.  We’ve not seen you in the tri-states since you were trying to outdistance Mrs. Clinton’s pantsuits on the trail to the White House. We welcome you back to the heart of America.

I’m glad to see you broke away from your middle class vacation long enough to see how the other half lives … or is trying to live.

Mr. President, this isn’t the change we heard you promise to usher in nearly two years ago.  Some of us have changed jobs more than once; others of us changed from being gainfully employed to unwillingly unemployed thanks to the economic implosion over which you served as commander in chief.

I’m so glad you’ve focused that laser beam intensity of yours on the economy and ways to help businesses of all sizes create jobs.  Why, just this year you’ve passed … uhm … you’ve passed … well … you’ve passed … a lot of time on a horrible health care bill.  But, in the pipeline, you’ve got … a bill about climate change. OK. Well, let’s look at what’s being talked about on the long-term horizon, and that would be … immigration reform and a possible path to citizenship for illegals.

Mr. President, I respectfully ask … what the heck are you thinking? Do you have your head in the sand or in a place that up ‘til now I really thought was physically impossible?

It’s not just tea party members … it’s not just Republicans … it’s not just the American public as a whole that’s asking you this question, Mr. President. Even your own party’s members are begging you to stop focusing on party-killing issues like health care and climate change; from state senators like Missouri’s Wes Shoemyer on up to congressional leaders, they are begging you to focus instead on jobs.  They’ll do anything they can to get you to stop talking endlessly about the unpopular health care baggage you’ve saddled them with and the potential of an unpopular climate change bill or a misguided immigration reform measure.  The jobless rate in the tri-state area did decline last month, true. However, applauding where it’s at would be akin to cheering if gas dropped to $6.50 per gallon after it reached a high of $6.51.

You call this success? You call this turning in the right direction? Nearly two years in, and you’re cheering your efforts while we’re still in double-digit unemployment. Talk to anyone of the 150 people who attended last week’s job fair here or the 1500 people who applied for 100 jobs at Menards here in Quincy earlier this year, and they’ll tell you the sky isn’t falling; it fell months ago. You and your allies in D.C. have been fiddling around on health care while the country’s economy burned. We’re still seeing double the unemployment rates we saw before you came into office.

Our schools can’t even pay their bills, nor can they afford to keep vital services and teaching positions for next year. Who knows when their budgets will turn to black again? While you’re in town, why don’t you stop and talk with some of the teachers — or the parents of some of the students, particularly the special needs students — who will be affected by these problems?  I’m sure they’d like a word with you.

Your stimulus has yet to stimulate anything other than several million tea party members. Congratulations on bringing them out of relative slumber, by the way.

On a related topic, I’m sure at some point over the next few days you’ll publicly pat yourself on the back for your hard, hard work on health care. Don’t forget to personally thank Congressman Phil Hare for his support. Give him a shout out from your podium. He’s firmly in your corner. In case you missed it, he got your talking points memo on health care loud and clear. Earlier this month, he told us he doesn’t worry about the Constitution when it comes to stuff like your health care proposal. He just blindly supports your proposals without looking at stuff like the Constitution or the opinions of his constituents. When you see him at your visits to the region this week, you might want to personally express your gratitude to him for single-handedly awaking tea partiers in the region and getting them involved in the process of both defeating your policies and his reelection bid. Give him the ol’ Chicago-style political handshake that lets him know how much he’s helped your cause.

From the looks of your schedule, you’re going to have a busy couple of days and will visit a lot of different spots while you’re here. Probably not a bad idea. If you’re on the run, it’ll be harder to serve you that subpoena for the Blagojevich trial, right? Ah, but I digress.

Let me share with you one more point before I go. You’ve nearly been in office two years now. Man up, Mr. President.  No longer can you claim this is “something I inherited” and “something we’re trying to fix.” No more of this “we were dealt a bad hand” stuff, Mr. President. Suck it up and take responsibility. Remember, at least for some time this week you’re visiting the land of Harry Truman. The buck stops here, Mr. President. Read this clearly:  It doesn’t matter what hand you were “dealt.” It’s your hand now. When poker players  lose, the dealer doesn’t pay the price. This is all yours. If you don’t like it, take your chips and go home.

I’m never against elected officials coming to the tri-states to really hear what the heart and soul of America is thinking. It’s when they come to simply get photo ops, gather cheap political currency, and have no plans of listening whatsoever that it infuriates me. If you’re coming to really find out what ideas we have to fix your mess, that’s great. Enjoy your stay. If you’re coming to just use us as props in campaign photos, please stay in the plane.

[Reprinted from QuincyNews.org.]