On the morning of February 17th,I was standing in line getting coffee at the little cafeteria at my day gig. Behind me were two guys that had obviously been in heated discussion for some time. I don’t know either of them. I can’t vouch for the conversation being word for word, but here it is from my memory:
So, let me understand this. Obama’s going to Denver, today… several days after the bill he was so much in a hurry to sign that none of Congress could actually take the time to read it, was placed on his desk. Why did he wait all that time after the vote? So he could vacation?
Well, no, so he could fly out to Denver, I guess.
So that he could sign it in a plant that makes Solar panels. He wants to be seen as a ‘green’ president.
But what does it take to make this happen? How’s he getting there?
Well, he’s got to fly Air Force One out to Denver.
Doesn’t that mean he’s flying at least four planes? Air Force One, plus the military escort, PLUS a second plane for a decoy, and likely more escorts for the decoy?
I guess so, why?
How much fuel does that take?
Oh, I heard around 20,000 gallons.
For Air Force One.
Not for the others.
And if you count the other planes, it comes close on 50,000 gallons of fuel, anyway.
(Suspiciously) Sounds about right.
So, in one day, he’s going to use up more fuel than the average American uses in 20 years?
This is green?
There was a silence at that point that defies description. You could almost feel them ‘looking daggers’ at each other. I didn’t dare turnaround for fear of starting something. Certainly, I could have added to the conversation. I rather get the feeling, however, that I wouldn’t be making any friends, either way. Besides, the guy in bold was doing just fine, thank you. I got my cuppa, and I split. Once I got out of there, I had a grim but satisfied smile on my face for the rest of the day.
I should say up front I’m not sure on the fuel figures, though in my quick and dirty investigation of fuel consumption for Air Force One itself, the estimates don’t seem far out of line, at first glance. The consensus seems to be the thing burns on its own, 6000 gallons per hour. On that basis, the figures discussed in the conversation I overheard would seem to be quite a bit low, if anything.
I should also say I don’t know their politics, and frankly I don’t care. I will say, though, that both of them sounded a bit better informed on such matters than Joe Sixpack generally is. In retrospect, I wish I’d had time to get to know them; they would have made good source material for future columns.
Perhaps it is my cynical side speaking, but I’m amazed that the conversation even took place. Look, I admit it; there’s a part of me convinced that the American public as a whole tends to ignore the implications of political happenings. There’s certainly enough on the recent record to support that cynicism.
This conversation, though, is encouraging because it shows me things moving in the opposite direction. Given that, I begin to wonder if this is the only place that the optics of this thing are raising questions about Obama. It seems to me the American public knows when it’s being showboated, and history shows us that eventually that perception turns to overt mistrust. I certainly heard mistrust building in the one gent’s voice, and an increasing inability, or perhaps unwillingness to defend Obama from the other.
I suspect that the conversation wouldn’t be taking place without all the other issues that currently surround Obama and his people, issues that of themselves cast questions on this administration, and the Democrats in general. The American voter, without saying as much, has been made sensitive to the idea that there are some serious questions surrounding Obama, and the Democrats. If the conversation I overheard is of any indication, those questions are starting to be asked in a fashion they’ve seldom been asked before, particularly this early on in a presidency, and by a wider swath of people and political branding than has been seen in a generation or more. These people are PISSED, and they’re starting to show it.
The cause of these questions being asked so seriously is perhaps, reflective of some concern about Obama’s first consequential act as President being the spending of more money than has ever been spent at one time previously. Those questions get amplified still further when it started leaking out most of the bill isn’t stimulation, but rather takes on the appearance of political payoffs to groups that helped Barack Obama get elected.
The very place he chose for the signing to take place is perhaps a good indication of the political payoff mentality. Denver, after all, being the place of the convention, and all that suggests. The connection if one spends any time thinking about it, doesn’t look all that good.
That the President’s push for a ‘bipartisan’ image isn’t going over all that well, either, also isn’t helping. As an example, Judd Gregg’s withdrawal at Commerce didn’t help that effort. Then again, Obama shot himself in the foot when he unconstitutionally pulled the Census away from the Commerce Department, which would have, minus that action from Obama, been run by a Republican… even a moderate one… had Gregg stayed on, didn’t help the optics, either.
Add to all this the pile of angry reactions I posted in the Ramble last night:
There was a near riot at the Chicago Board of Trade  today. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. (BBCT Billy) . The lynch mobs are already  forming; Atlas is shrugging . Even High School kids know we’re being lied to.
In looking at all of this, I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t at or beyond a tipping point against Obama and the Democrats… even from people who supported their election. The amazing part is, whereas it took Bill Clinton quite literally years to get to this point, we’re only 30 days into the Obama presidency. We still have 1470 days, more or less, to go. Frankly, it’s becoming a question of him lasting quite that long.
And what of the mid-terms?