A conversation with my friend Keith

Part of being a librarian is that you talk. You talk a lot. Much like bartenders and taxi cab drivers, people unburden themselves to you. You become part priest, part counselor, part sounding board.

One of my patrons is a very good man named Keith. I met him years ago when he would come in every weekend and ask how President Obama was doing in the Gallup polling. For several weeks I would perform this task, trying to figure out if he was happy or saddened by his sub-50% numbers. I don’t quite remember how we outed each other, but we discovered that we were kindred souls in our admiration for this president, and have been fast friends since.

He came into the library this week, and as usual, he sat down at the reference desk and we began our kaffeeklatsch, sans the coffee. Our conversations range widely, but politics are always the center of them.

Of course, we were over the moon over the wonderful week we and the President had with ACA and marriage equality. And then the conversation turned to that buffoon, Donald Trump.

“I can’t believe that Trump is doing so well in the polls,” he said.

“I can. He’s the only GOP candidate who’s not hiding his racism. He’s speaking to the GOP program.”

“Oh, now, you don’t really believe that GOP leaders are racist, do you?”

“Of course I do. Look at their utterances.”

“But the intelligentsia is horrified at what Trump is doing.”

“Look Keith, here’s the thing: in their heart of hearts, the ‘smart people’ might be aghast at the naked racism of the base. But, since Nixon, they made the calculation that kowtowing to that racism was the only way they could even hope to stand against the Democrats. And now, after 50 years, they have nothing else. No Republican can win a primary without pandering to that racism. And Democrats won’t let the survivor run away from what he had to do to secure the nomination.”

“They created a monster which is eating them.”

“And I feel no sympathy for them.”

I feel no sympathy for them.

As a believer in the better angels of our nature, I’m sure there are at least a few among the GOP leadership who do look aghast upon Trump’s unabashed racism. Rick fucking Perry said that Trump’s views on immigrants don’t reflect the GOP. And when I read that quote, I wanted to laugh sardonically. Trump’s views may not reflect those of the few remaining sane Republicans. But they do reflect those of the base, of the brownshirts who turn out to vote in primaries and caucuses. And woe betide any GOP hopeful who crosses those SA goons.

“Sane” Republicans may exist,  but they’re as influential as Hobbits. They’ve faded away as the gods of old. They no longer influence the party. Trump is surging because he speaks to that base, that rabid, intolerant, racist, absolutely inhumane and fucked up base.

Keith, for giggles, listens to right wing radio, to see what the enemy is thinking. He was listening to both Sean Hannity and Michael Medved, and both gentlemen were trying to fight back against Trump’s nativism. However, their callers were having none of it, all of them praising the Orange Combover for “telling it like it is.” That’s the GOP voter. That’s the voter which the “intelligentsia” groomed. Much like the German reactionaries in the Weimar Republic with the Nazis, the power brokers of the GOP thought they could control the lumpen proletariat, using their votes to ride to power and then do what they wanted. But the proles developed their own culture, and felt their power. Every election cycle has made them more emboldened, especially as Barack Obama formed a coalition which made them irrelevant in presidential politics. That powerlessness, that inability to oust the Usurper made them extract more pounds of flesh from their “leaders”. Speaker John Boehner just recently made noises about brining his teabagger backbenchers into line; he had to abandon such efforts, as he didn’t have the support. The Beast slouches towards Bethlehem, and it’s fucking hungry.

Over 60% of poll respondents approve of the ACA ruling. 59% approve of the gay marriage ruling. The “smart” people think this means both issues are off the 2016 agenda. Of course they’re not. Because to win the nomination, Republicans will have to vow to overturn both decisions. And the Democratic nominee won’t let the survivor of the GOP Hunger Games tack back, ignoring all the fuckery to which he had to swear featly to win the poisoned chalice.

In other essays I’ve said that Barack Obama’s true secret agenda was to neuter this iteration of the GOP as a political force. This June has seen the groundwork bear fruit. As a realist, I’m not completely sanguine. But I don’t see a way that the GOP squares this circle. It rode the tiger to some victories. Now the tiger is hungry.

114 Responses to “A conversation with my friend Keith”

  1. 1 desertflower
    July 3, 2015 at 11:21 am

    🙂 🙂

    • July 3, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Congrats df!! 🙂

      “‘Much like the German reactionaries in the Weimar Republic with the Nazis, the power brokers of the GOP thought they could control the lumpen proletariat ….”


      Well done, LL, as always.

  2. July 3, 2015 at 11:25 am

    “….. since Nixon, they made the calculation that kowtowing to that racism was the only way they could even hope to stand against the Democrats. And now, after 50 years, they have nothing else. No Republican can win a primary without pandering to that racism.’

    Take a bow LL, you summed them up supremely. Thank you so much for this.

  3. July 3, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Good analysis. Of course President Obama pursued marriage equality and the ACA because they were good and just policies, but he also realized that their success would marginalize the bigoted GOP.

  4. 6 amk for obama
    July 3, 2015 at 11:29 am


  5. 7 forus50
    July 3, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Brilliant! Thanks LL and Happy 4th to everyone!!

  6. 8 amk for obama
    July 3, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Rick fucking Perry??? you mean the ”niggerhead” Rick fucking Perry??? You mean “Let’s disenfranchise blacks” Rick fucking Perry???

    too lil, too late, you lil prick.

    • 9 desertflower
      July 3, 2015 at 11:42 am

      His new glasses made him smarter. Too little, too late. Besides, he really doesn’t feel it in his heart of hearts…so it will always come off as the lie it is.

      • 10 amk for obama
        July 3, 2015 at 11:44 am

        fucking electoral gimmick.

        No, I won’t give the punk the effing ‘benefit of doubt’.

  7. 11 desertflower
    July 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

    As I listened to the President yesterday in WI, I could absolutely tell that he was not only telling everyone about the true and real successes that have happened over the last 6 1/2 years, but also wrapping his arms around Americans and telling all of us that we are much better together. Americans know this. He was inclusive and he makes sense to most people…it was apparent on the faces yesterday and everywhere he speaks to others. I see some “full circle moments” coming from now until election time…if people are paying attention at all, they see barren ugly wasteland in Republican land…and growth and positivity in ours. Which to choose?

    I mentioned the other day that I went out to dinner/drinks with some OFA volunteers that always kept in touch….one of the people brought her husband, who happened to be a Republican(who still voted for PBO) I said that if I were a Republican, I would be livid at all the people that took over this party and made it into an ever more nativist, hateful, intolerant party. He agreed with me 100%. It will keep coming back to them, biting them in the ass, over and over again. They made this. They condone this behavior every day. Wonder why they didn’t think that “You reap what you sow” applied to them? For me, I’m smiling…maybe now they can clean house and regroup. They are just too nasty and divisive for a lot of people to ignore.

  8. 16 desertflower
    July 3, 2015 at 11:50 am


    Just in time for the Fourth of July — when millions of people across the country will visit America’s national parks and other public lands — the Koch brothers are rolling out their latest campaign against these treasured places: pushing for no more national parks.
    In an op-ed published in Tuesday’s New York Times, Reed Watson, the executive director at the Koch-backed Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), along with a research associate at the Center, call for no more national parks, citing the backlog in maintenance for existing parks.


  9. 17 yardarm756
    July 3, 2015 at 11:53 am


    You can retire to Phoenix , Arizona where…

    1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away from your house because you found shade.

    2. You’ve experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.

    3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.

    4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.

    5. You know that “dry heat” is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.

    6. The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??


    You can retire to California where…

    1. You make over $450,000 a year and you still can’t afford to buy a house.

    2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.

    3. You know how to eat an artichoke.

    4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.

    5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.

    6. The 4 seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.


    You can retire to New York City where…

    1. You say “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan ….

    2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.

    3. You think Central Park is “nature.”

    4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.

    5. You’ve worn out a car horn. (IF you have a car).

    6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.


    You can retire to Minnesota where…

    1. You only have three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup.

    2. Halloween costumes have to fit over parkas.

    3. You have seventeen recipes for casserole.

    4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.

    5. The four seasons are: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road repair.

    6. The highest level of criticism is “He is different, she is different or, it was different!”

    7. You end sentences with the word “then”: “I’ll see you all tomorrow, then!”


    You can retire to The Deep South where…

    1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.

    2. “Y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is plural.

    3. “He needed killin” is a valid defense.

    4. Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Joe Bob, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.

    5. Everywhere is either: “in yonder,” “over yonder” or “out yonder”.


    You can retire to Colorado where…

    1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.

    2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home, so he stops at the day care center.

    3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.

    4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.


    You can retire to the Nebraska where…

    1. You’ve never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.

    2. Your idea of a traffic jam is three cars waiting to pass a tractor.

    3. You have had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” on the same day.

    4. You end sentences with a preposition: “Where’s my coat at?”


    FINALLY, you can retire to Florida where…

    1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.

    2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind — even houses and cars.

    3. Everyone can recommend an excellent cardiologist, dermatologist, proctologist, podiatrist, or orthopedist.

    4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.

    5. Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

    • 18 kid kanga
      July 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Can vouch on the MN retirement plan! “Got big plans for da 4th then?” haha

    • 20 desertflower
      July 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Hilarious! I know some of these to be true:)

    • 21 jacquelineoboomer
      July 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      When I officially retired I lived in Florida, but I was only 52, so I missed enjoying #1 and wasn’t a part of #5 (too tall).

      But if I move back there, see everybody for the Early Bird Special at 3:15 !!! (Every time I’d visit my aunt and uncle in Florida, that was dinnertime out!)

    • 22 a4alice
      July 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      yah then. Minnesota’s mostly true ya know 😉 thx YA for the chuckle 😀

    • 23 Vicki
      July 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Brilliant—so funny—thank you Yardarm

      And, speaking of brilliant—Liberal Librarian nails the issues once again. I agree with one premise entirely. The one that says PBO is putting the final touches on the cooked goose that is the GOP.
      PBO is having a great time these days, isn’t he?

  10. 25 Don
    July 3, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Another great read, LL, I truly marvel at your ability to carry on a civil conversation with someone that’s not wholly convinced of the GOP’s blatant racism, I, on the other hand have not evolved to that extent.

  11. July 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Congrats, DF! Another gem, LL….thanks for sharing.

    Malia was working with Steven Spielberg & Halley Berry on CBS’s ‘Extant’ last summer and seems to interning w/ Lena Dunham this year:

  12. July 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Morning, everyone. Thanks for posting, Chips.

    I actually wrote this piece b/c of what bella said about Lindsey Graham’s comments about Uncle Joe. I was going to tell her about Keith in the reply, then thought, “Hey, this is an essay”. So you can thank her for this piece.

  13. July 3, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    If they never made Jaws…

  14. July 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    From the top lobbyist in Hollywood to possibly this new gig

    ..doubt Senate would confirm anyone, but interesting choice nonetheless…

  15. 34 amk for obama
    July 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    woot, woot.

    Solar Impulse plane lands in Hawaii.

    Solar Impulse, the aeroplane that is powered only by the sun, has landed in Hawaii after making a historic 8,000km flight across the Pacific from Japan.

    Pilot Andre Borschberg brought the vehicle gently down onto the runway at Kalaeloa Airport just before 06:00 local time (16:00 GMT; 17:00 BST).

    The distance covered and the time spent in the air – 118 hours – are records for manned, solar-powered flight.

    The duration is also an absolute record for a solo, un-refuelled journey.


    Well done, guyz. It’s a BFD.

    • July 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Exceptional achievements!!!

      • 36 amk for obama
        July 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        The Solar Impulse plane is not intended to be a vision of the future of aviation. Rather, it is supposed to be a demonstration of the current capabilities of solar power in general.

        Yup, it was all about endurance and reliability. Hats off to the team.

        • July 3, 2015 at 12:34 pm

          Yes, amk, they are an amazing team, but, as you note, what is most exceptional is the fact that all the requisite systems, including the solar components, functioned robustly in meeting a very vigorous challenge. Solar Impulse is today’s technology.

          As do others, I envision remote flight control of hybrid solar/fuel cargo planes as a realizable objective in the not distant future. Absent a human pilot, no pressurization would be required for almost all types of cargo, thus significantly reducing the weight of the plane and the power requirements.

  16. July 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm

  17. 46 Linda
    July 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    First direct flight to Cuba on Jet Blue about to take off from JFK.

    • 47 Don
      July 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      I was born and raised in Miami so I know first-hand what this means, and I would have never thought that this would be possible.

      • July 3, 2015 at 12:27 pm

        Mother of LL just asked me “Are you going to Cuba? You won’t have to spend money on a hotel since you can stay with family.”

        • 49 desertflower
          July 3, 2015 at 12:33 pm

          🙂 🙂

        • 50 globalcitizenlinda
          July 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

          so she is slowly coming around?

          Here is my thought as an immigrant : as you grow older, you tend to miss your place of birth even more than you have done as you made your new home;

          Based on my personal experience, I suspect that if you said you will go to Cuba, your dear mother will offer to go with you.

          Officially, she may give the reason for accompanying you as to “show you the family”.

          But in reality, she may secretly long to visit her former home one more time and share with you your roots.

          So, if I was advising you, I would humbly suggest that you say yes so that you can travel together when she is still able to.

        • July 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

          I’m feeling sorta choked up right now. What a week, indeed.

  18. 53 arapaho415
    July 3, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    GM LL, thanks for sharing your conversation with Keith — glad he turned out to be an Obot!

    “Orange combover” is an iconic nickname. For giggles, here’s an oldie but goodie (from 2 years ago):

    And for icing on the cake as we make preparations for USA BD:

    Happy 4th, TODville.

  19. 57 jacquelineoboomer
    July 3, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Brilliant header, LL. Now to read it.

    • 58 jacquelineoboomer
      July 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      I read it – brilliant! Thanks, sir. Keep ’em coming – appreciate the perspectives of “average guys walking into libraries for their liberal counseling sessions.”

  20. 59 amk for obama
    July 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Ok, I don’t get the clowns top 2nd & 3rd from the left and top 2nd the from right. Who are these fuckers?

  21. 64 desertflower
    July 3, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    YOU JUST CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!! That repair guy for my washing machine just called me. Said I should have 3 boxes that have been delivered to my house for the repair to happen today. I have 2 boxes. Guess what? I NEED TO WAIT UNTIL I GET THIS PART AND CALL TO SCHEDULE ANOTHER APPT!!! That will be 3 times, 99ts:) I’m going to blow a gasket now!

  22. July 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    LOVE this essay, LL. This is IT in a nutshell.

    And the long arc of Barack Obama’s presidency is casting its formidable bid for justice.

    Thank you.

  23. July 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Beauty break!!

  24. 74 amk for obama
    July 3, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    the eagle has landed.

    gunnite folks.

  25. 79 magapie
    July 3, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    RUN SARAH, RUN!! PLEEEEASE! (It’s just too much comic lunacy and train-wreckiness to pass up!!)

  26. July 3, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA……see this post from the last thread: http://theobamadiary.com/2015/07/03/rise-and-shine-1060/#comment-1356398

    Bibi, along with GOP nutjobs, all have selective memory when it comes to President Obama…smh

    • July 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      I thiknk we should sand with the world and condemn Israel for their actions in GAZA

    • 82 FoxfireTX
      July 3, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      This is sooooo irritating! First, Israel SHOULD be condemned for its actions in Gaza. As PBO likes to say, “it’s the right thing to do.” Second, there is ZERO appreciation from Bibi for the US standing with Israel. Later today, he’ll be back to bashing our president for the Iran deal. Ungrateful SOB.

  27. 83 hopefruit2
    July 3, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks LL for this wonderful essay – so many truths spoken in it.

  28. 84 JER
    July 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm

  29. July 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    WOW, history in the making.

    • 86 Don
      July 3, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Good for JetBlue for being a part of history, oh and for having the sense to position itself to catch the shit-load of money that’s about to flow from Cuba.

  30. 87 Don
    July 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I bet if he wanted to President Obama could charge and receive a million dollars per speech once he’s out of the WhiteHouse.

  31. 88 desertflower
    July 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    A BFD. Thanks, President, Obama!!

  32. July 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    The #NothingMoreAmericanThan is trending and quite a few of the tweets share a common theme ….

  33. 95 hopefruit2
    July 3, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Fingers crossed…

    • 96 desertflower
      July 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      I am hopeful…this is the issue that will occupy my thoughts this weekend until we hear more:)

  34. July 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    A really wonderful story. This event is on July 9th

  35. 99 desertflower
    July 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you for your diligence, Secret Service and all the others that protect this President every day. People are willfully ignorant.


  36. 102 Don
    July 3, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Serena has going to have to dig deep to pull this match out.

  37. July 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Wow LL,
    This piece is a tour de force. You said it like it is. My worry though, is over the Obama-style copycat ground game organization that the Kochs are feverishly building. They are building a massive database, providing Latinos with driver education programs and other enticements. What are Democrats doing?

    • 104 Don
      July 3, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Well Bernie Sanders wants to take back the Whitehouse according to him, whatever that means.

      • 105 0388jojothecat
        July 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        Not a way to get the AA vote….. May be the progressive libertarian indepent white guy vote. If he says he will pardon Snowjob he will lose me completely. He will never be President with that type of divisiveness.

      • 106 99ts
        July 3, 2015 at 7:33 pm

        Did he REALLY say that? Just lost himself lots of support – looking for the Southern White vote

        • 107 idon
          July 3, 2015 at 10:41 pm

          Does anyone think that Bernie is a tool of KKKoch-funded GOPers? Bernie’s surge reminds me of performance art. HIs rabid supporters over at DU remind me of people who migrated over from FreeRepublic.Something is off.

          • 108 99ts
            July 4, 2015 at 7:05 am

            I think it was BJ – but somewhere I read how the media is loving that Bernie on the left and Trump on the right look to be winning support. Makes for good news to have two extremists around – neither of whom will be there at the end.

      July 3, 2015 at 2:47 pm


  38. July 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm

  39. July 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    this was on point, LL

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