In Indiana, Ripples of Discontent With Obama

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September 29, 2011 by   2 Comments

Since her husband lost his job at the RV factory, Lorena Rodriguez has been holding tag sales on the dry lawn outside their modest ranch house on the edge of town.

The Los Angeles Times reported that as she hawked her four children’s outgrown clothing and bicycles on a recent Friday afternoon, Rodriguez said the family had to turn to food stamps briefly to get by. And even though her husband, Daniel, recently found work, they still struggle to pay the bills.

“It’s still pretty tough,” said the 28-year-old.

All this has deeply colored her opinion of President Obama, whom she supported in 2008.

“He promised so many things. He hasn’t done anything,” said Rodriguez, an independent voter who said she would not side with Obama in 2012. “We had thought he would really help us, but we haven’t seen much from him.”

Among the states that supported Obama in 2008, Indiana was one of the least likely — he was the first Democratic nominee to win the state in 44 years, defeating Republican John McCain by less than 1 percentage point. Strategists in both parties say Indiana is the state he is least likely to hold on to in 2012, largely because of shifts in sentiment by working-class voters like Rodriguez.

Dissatisfaction among those voters, most notably women, could also hamper Obama’s efforts in other vital states in the Midwest. Polling in recent months shows that working-class Americans — already skeptical of the president — have grown increasingly hostile to him, and enthusiasm among women is also waning.

Obama lavished unprecedented attention on Indiana during the 2008 campaign, visiting the state dozens of times and spending millions. He aired ads in Illinois — unnecessarily, because he knew he would romp in his home state — so those next door in northwest Indiana would see his message.

The courtship did not stop once the president took office — he has visited six times in less than three years. Obama’s first trip as president outside the Washington area was to Elkhart, to pitch the economic stimulus. The area is Republican-leaning, but 1,700 people packed a high school gym to hear the president speak.

At the time, Elkhart County had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, at almost 20%. Now that percentage has been cut in half because the RV industry has begun to rebound, but some say the city’s spirit remains broken.

“It’s [gotten] a little better, but not very fast,” said Dave Slayton, 57, a bartender at the Lakeshore Grill who supported Obama in 2008 and plans to do so again. “There’s a lot less crying” at the bar.

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2 Responses to “In Indiana, Ripples of Discontent With Obama”

  1. Carlo Frazzano on September 29th, 2011 1:39 pm

    It is grossly unfair to position President Obama for blame for the collapse of the American economy.

    While the reasons are manifold the beginnings of our economic decline commenced about 30 years ago under Ronald Reagan when the USA became the greatest debtor nation in history. Except for President Clinton, each successive President including the Bushes, added to the carnage. G. W. Bush added more deficits to the nation than all 42 Presidents before him combined.

    President Obama walked into a collapsed economy saturated with personal and governmental debt accumulated over decades. It is going to take several years to dig out but in the interim we must take steps to penalize China for dumping goods here in the US below their costs which they can do as their exporters receive subsidies from the Government. We have lost 8 million jobs since the collapse in 2008 with about 2.5,000,000 from Chinese violations of WTO regulations and agreements re subsidies.

    In conclusion, since 1980, inflation in the US has amounted to 150% with real wages increasing only 11%. Now you can clearly see why Americans have become so saddled with personal debt to cover the shortfall from stagnated wages and rising cost of living. What is left to spend ?


    Carlo G. Frazzano

  2. Wrayj on September 29th, 2011 3:59 pm

    There is much dissatisfaction with President Obama, however, too many forget that the president has no real power to change things. The congress decides on the changes, however, the president does have veto power. Statistics speak for themselves, the middle class in America is erroding and everyone is looking for someone to blame. The wealthy become more wealthy during difficult economic times. They purchase land and other resources that will eventually net them big profits. Hopefully America will wake up to the fact that the middle class is being given crumbs to appease them and lead them into a false sense of security that they are really living the American Dream. It’s over, the wealthy are beating us into submission on all fronts and wealthy politicians are leading the charge. Our economy didn’t magically have the bottom fall out in the 24 hour period between the Bush and Obama adminstrations, it was ready to crash prior to President Obama taking office. Then 10 year war in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost us billions and will continue to cost billiions to take care of the veterans who served in the war. Whether you are a democrat or republican if you are middle class you are living in a bubble that is going to burst.