“Howze your boy doin’?”


A couple of national surveys in the past week have caused me to think back to a conversation in Minneapolis in mid-December, 2009.

I had gone to the premiere business club in Minneapolis to hear a panel discussion on Minnesota politics. It was a breakfast meeting, and I sat down. Presently, someone joined me. The name sounded familiar, and we compared notes. We had had some contacts 25 years earlier on a particular issue.

We talked on this-and-that as new acquaintances do. At some point we tip-toed into politics. My breakfast companion said he’d voted for Barack Obama in 2008. He also recounted an apparently recent business meeting where somebody he knew well, a mover-and-shaker in the business community, had come up and said, “Howze your boy doin’?”, a direct reference to now-President Obama.

We went on to other things, but the one thing I have never forgotten about that breakfast conversation was the “boy” reference to Obama. I’m left to fill in all the blanks. “Boy” is not a compliment to African-Americans.

This past week came two national surveys which were rather startling in their dissonance. In one, over 70 percent of the American people surveyed laid responsibility for the dismal state of our country on Republican policies particularly in the eight years of the Bush administration. But another survey, one taken since the 1940s, said that if given the choice, over half of the respondents would vote for a generic “Republican” in November, and only slightly over 40 percent for a generic “Democrat.” This was a greater gap between the parties than there has ever been.

The two surveys, side-by-side, make absolutely no sense: a collective death-wish perhaps? But in this case, the figures don’t lie.

How can all of this insanity be?

It is, likely, a combination of many circumstances. Some percentage, probably distressingly large, just don’t want a “boy” in the White House.

The Democrats, charged with the responsibility of cleaning up the abundant messes left behind in the wake of the years preceding 2009 are left with very disagreeable work…and the minority Republicans are doing an excellent job of obstructing every attempt at progress, and the resulting inadequate progress will, paradoxically, be politically useful against the very people who have been the leaders in even limited initiatives for change.

Business, naturally closer to Republicans, might be doing less than it could to increase employment: cruelly, hardship among the rabble is to its advantage in the short term. (Other reports indicate business is awash in available money which it has so far been reluctant to use for assorted reasons.)

Then there are those on the left who are angry because Obama and the Democrats have taken too moderate a course.

Of course, every one has their own pet issue which is NON-NEGOTIABLE.

We all want what we want, apparently. The common good be damned.

Last Thursday I was out at the Minnesota State Fair, just walking around, and happened by the booth of the Independence Party. I happened to notice the party’s slogan: “Real solutions. No special interests,” and that slogan intrigued me.

Minnesota State Fair booth September 2, 1010

Rather than having “no special interests,” the Independence Party, the party of Jesse Ventura, is totally comprised of people with their own special interests. It is more special interest laden by far, than the traditional parties. It’s members don’t want to be constrained by other people’s priorities.

Maybe the American people at the national and local levels will wave their magic wands in November, and vote back in the very crew that they know almost destroyed them in the eight years prior to current Obama/Democrat administration. They will all do this self-righteously.

I’d only suggest that they all be very, very careful what they hope for…