Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Two weeks before the election, I stood on a factory floor in Springfield, Ohio, and watched a woman my age crawl around the giant cab of a tractor-trailer. She moved with the grace of a human spider.

A 20-year veteran at the plant, she was responsible for double-checking other workers’ jobs as the truck made its way to the end of the production line. Her movements were seamless and seemingly effortless. The muscles in her arms flexed as she pulled herself from one spot to another, her legs darting left and right. When she caught a glimpse of my wide-eyed stare, she grinned and kept moving.

It was a crystalizing moment, standing less than two feet away from her as she worked. A core narrative of the presidential race had unfolded right in front of me.

That woman and I are the same age and call Ohio home, but we live miles-apart lives. As she clawed her way over the top of that cab, I was mindful of the toll that kind of work takes on a human body and of the clueless politicians who never give that a thought.

When suit-and-tie Republicans talk about things such as tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and raising the retirement age for Social Security, they make two big mistakes.

The first is thinking that workers such as that woman don’t matter.

The second is assuming that workers such as that woman don’t care.

I walked out of that factory and knew, then and there, that Mitt Romney would lose Ohio. He wasn’t even trying to understand the lives of people who depend on their bodies to make a living. Worse, he was counting on Ohio’s being a state full of workers too stupid to know when they’re being played for chumps.

Less than a week after my visit to that factory, as if confirming my hunch, Romney was back in Ohio claiming that Chrysler was going to move its Jeep production from Toledo to China. Even after Chrysler’s CEO insisted otherwise, the Romney campaign refused to pull misleading TV and radio ads designed to fuel Jeep workers’ greatest fears. Had Romney bothered to visit that Jeep plant, he would have discovered more than 700 tradespeople — including 300 electricians — working to get the plant ready for increased production.

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38 responses to “A Lesson From Ohio”

  1. nobsartist says:

    I guess the idea of allowing employers to keep the state income tax collected from employees didnt work the way they figured.

    • foolsdance says:

      Re: Nixon & JFK… did you read ‘About Them,’ and if so would you recommend it? I am an avid reader and it is my preferred source of knowledge (vastly so over the internet).

  2. foolsdance says:

    It is very telling of romney’s arrogance and utter lack of knowledge when it comes to every day Americans that he did not figure out that the plant bosses would be out there repeatedly reassuring the workers that his ads were pure fabrication. I am sure that as a ‘boss’ he would never even have thought twice about the value of letting your workforce know that you appreciate them and have their back.

  3. nobsartist says:

    I would like to point out the fact that republiCONs spent more on the failure of 10 or so idiots than President Obama and our government spent on Solyndra.

    • Tom_D44 says:

      Except…….That Romney spent millions from donated money, from people who willingly gave it to him for that use. And Obama, spent $500 million of taxpayers money, that we never had in the first place, and that was not intended for that use, and gave it to his bundlers by way of financing for that failed business. Are any of those executives in jail or being held accountable for returning that money? I think not.

      • nobsartist says:

        Except,,that I didnt hear you complaining when the AWOL coke head invaded 2 countries and created a 12 TRILLION deficient.

        you sound like a chump that voted for willard the rat.

        sore loser.

      • Jim Myers says:

        Replying to Tom_D44

        Even Mitt made the comment that “some” of Bain’s companies went bankrupt. He said that some businesses just cannot be saved. That is just a fact of life.

        President Obama has a much better track record of saving jobs than Mitt ever had as an owner of Bain, or as the Governor of Massachusetts.

        • Tom_D44 says:

          Jim, Obama has a better record of saving what jobs? Did he save any jobs at Solyndra? Did he create or save any jobs in the energy sector by shutting down the gulf, waging an environmental war on the coal industry and heavily investing in the unprepared solar industry resulting in multiple bankruptcies? I woudn’t call that a track record at all. He loaned millions to countries in south america and to mexico so that they could start up offshore drilling efforts off their shores – does that make sense to you? That’s creating American jobs. And his solution to the economy, in his own words not mine, is to hire more teachers? With what money? More money that he intends to print?

          And what happened at Solyndra was pure incompetence and paybacks to buddies.

          • northroader1775 says:

            How about THE ENTIRE AUTO INDUSTRY….and green energy is the future Tom so it is a good investment and will continue to be a good investment. If we are not leading in this new sector of the economy by 2025 we will be marginalized both politically and economically…we need to retrain coal miners and realign our engineering resources away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy if we don’t stop arguing and start innovating we are sunk.

            Global warming IS happening…sitting around with the Jesus freaks pretending that science is the problem is getting us nowhere. We have the tech and the industries to take advantage of a brand new emerging market that we can invent and control, but we are stuck in coal mines and on oil rigs desparately clinging to the status quo….sounds like a great way to end up drowning in a sloppy greasy wake of dumbass as the ship of innovation leaves for cleaner ports.

          • Tom_D44 says:

            You are exactly right North. I don’t think any American, republican, democrat or independent, would disagree that we should have a long term energy plan that includes moving towards clean energy as fast as possible. The problem is complacency, the status quo as you stated, lobbyists, political greed and the fact that the technology is not there yet.

            What we need is higher expectations of our leaders in the federal government starting at the top with Mr. transparency, transformation and accountability. When we had the chance to create immediate jobs with the stimulus money by investing in our own resources at home, we didn’t – Obama didn’t. In fact he made things worse by shutting down the gulf, stumping the keystone pipeline, and sending the EPA into the coal industry to regulate the existing power plant out of business. He gave into the lobbyists on the left thinking he was going to solve this problem with clean energy. The problem is that he is trying to solve a market problem with politics and politicians. The energy solution that is needed is many many years away – and probably doesn’t lie in windmill farms or solar fields. Most likely the answer is in hydrogen. Electric cars are not the answer as they still require electricity to charge and have dangerous disposal issues with the batteries they use. Wind and solar don’t create enough energy to replace our current sources. So here we are still stuck with coal, oil and natural gas, in these hardest of times, financially, with no alternative energy source developed and in place, and we go after the industries that are providing our inexpensive energy with the EPA to force them out of business? In what world does that make any sense at all.

            Common sense says we should immediately start to go after and obtain our own coal, oil and natural gas in order to stop sending our precious dollars to our enemies in the middle east who want to blow us up. That creates immediate jobs and keeps wealth here at home. It also reduces costs for energy which affects us all in the way of lower prices for everything we produce and consume. And while we do that, we should start working on the research and development of new alternative energy sources immediately. And the government’s role in that process should be through incentives and through leadership – that’s it. They don’t need to be playing venture capitalists because they suck at it.

            Instead what we do is play partisan politics, bickering with each other and playing favorites with the people’s money for votes. Then nothing happens and 4 years later, when it’s time to campaign again, we start the promises all over again. This has been happening for decades, through leadership from republicans and democrats and your buddy Obama is just as bad. What we need is to stop the money and corruption in Washington and kick out the bad apples – and to be honest we need to prosecute the ones who break the laws, democrats and republicans, and send them to jail. For as long as I have been alive, I see politicians playing games for personal financial gains and when they leave the mess they just disappear with their full pensions and healthcare benefits. I for one am sick of it.

          • mygalsal50 says:

            Maybe some of those coal companies should be out of business if they keep blowing up and killing miners.

          • Tom_D44 says:

            I can’t even believe how ignorant this comment is. Coal accounts for about 22% of our energy supply – and fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) provides close to 75% of our energy. And with no viable energy source even close to being able to pick up this burden how in the world can you make a statement like this? Please tell me that the Obama supporters are just a little more intelligent than this. If you eliminate fossil fuels everything in your life will become more expensive – extremely more expensive. We use this energy to produce our food, manufacture our products, ship them to our stores, light up our buildings, drive ourselves around in our cars, heat and cool our homes and buildings, refrigerate our food and almost everything you can think of. If energy costs go up even a little bit, the places it will hit your wallet is compounded by all of these things. Is this what you really wish for or would it be just a little more reasonable to think we could clean up our use of coal until the replacement source is developed and available for distribution?

          • Do you know investment in high tech industry is risky but results are fabulous. Do you just want to do Drill Baby Drill – Don’t want to look for alternate energy – If that’s your idea for future energy security then we are in big TROUBLE. Right now we can afford to research and find new alternate energy – If we suck up and stop trying developing alternate energy – other countries will take over and we will become third world country.

            Now about losing money – investments in High tech/innovation/alternate energy – there is no loss if we take from the country perspective. The engineers, scientists, product managers have learnt a lot from this failure. That knowledge will be useful for other alternate energy companies – it might also trigger new innovation by the engineers who left Solyndra.

            If we don’t understand that then we are in bigger problem.

      • northroader1775 says:

        Once more into the breech…Solyndra was a great company that got robbed by the chinese and we stood by while they did it…mostly so repubs would have a failure to point to. The tech was stolen…the chinese used our plans to build our product and then sell it back to us at a profit and we are soooo stupid that we buy from them just because they make it cheaper. we lost investment, jobs, rights, and credibility not because Solyndra was a bad idea but because we stood by and let theives take our future. AND BTW the stimulus package was totally meant for just exactly that, investing in our future, and of the companies that “OBAMA PICKED” (right like he sits there with a list) only 8% failed…BAIN 22% failed…how’s mitt’s claim of knowing how to grow business lookin to you now sporty.

        • Tom_D44 says:

          Northroad thats great. Solyndra got robbed. Unfortunately that is life my friend – and it’s not always fair. Corporate espionage is a bitch and companies need to do a better job of keeping their secrets, secret or that is the risk. Never-the-less, fair or unfair, stolen secrets or above board, China can and will build these products cheaper than we can. And people will always choose to save money when they can. And who can blame them when most of us are not exactly flush with cash and have to live by budgets? So rather than complain that life is unfair we need to find a way to compete in a world that includes countries like China.

          So what were we to do? Drop the hammer on one of our biggest creditors? Want them to call in their loan? Unfortunately it is a problem when our spending habits make us beholden to countries like China and we are held hostage to their money.

          Now when you say we stood by and watched it happen, you mean all of our politicians right? Because the republicans only had the house for 2 years of Obamas 1st term and the rest of the time we had a democratic senate, democratic house for 2 years and a democratic president and administration. So who sat by and let it happen just to have an excuse to bury Obama?

          Now as to the intention of the stimulus package, I for one believe that the government should be better stewards of our money. If they are going to be investing that magnitude of money into one company, and let’s not kid ourselves about how much money $500 million is to one company, then we should have a pretty good plan for how it is going to be used, what the payback and terms are, and who is accountable for it, if it doesn’t work out. Just like if you were to get the money from a bank. And if a private lender was found to be irresponsible with that much money then whoever was in charge of that project would have been fired. With the government, however, ineptness gets you promoted.

          • Tom_44 – You need help of Govt for the big investments. If it were tiny investments than people can do in their garages.

            Also, as we go in future – the big bets are going to be more important.

            People talk about small businesses – I mean real small businesses. I am myself a small Computer business owner. We cannot afford to do any significant research as we cannot afford it. I know small businesses around they are either services business to large corporations or retail business to consumers.

            So to remain competitive we will have to do similar investments. Many will not work out but some will work out and pay for others. Also remember, even in the failed high tech./innovation businesses – learning by scientists, engineers, product managers is immense. Do n’t underestimate those. It is a real world experience and much more than university education – that is needed to prepare the workforce

      • Tom_D44 – The people who gave money to Romney where look for breaks – they were looking for breaks from government which would be much bigger than they gave otherwise why would they give it? – They are called special interest group!!!

        Why Romney was pitching against Health Insurance? – Health Insurance industry has something to it

        Why Romney was pitching for Coal? Did you read the news about Murray Coal company -effect to environment

        Why Romney was pitching for oil and stop alternate energy – to continue to get $4B tax breaks?

        That is much worst than funding for Solyndra – there engineers, scientists etc are trained in solare alternate energy

        • Tom_D44 says:

          Are you kidding me? Of course donors look for breaks. How do you think Obama got elected? Money from unions, environmentalists, and other special lobbying groups, who all got favors paid back. Some of the higher ups in the Solyndra deal were bundlers for the Obama campaign. They raised oodles of money to get him elected and then all of a sudden they got this nice little bonus of $500 million from the stimulus package.

          And where did you get the notion that Romney wanted to stop alternative energy? He never said that anywhere. Are you just making this stuff up?

          And if you are happy that after spending $500 million, we have a few smart engineers – just think about that for a minute. Your comment is absurd. $500 million dollars is a HUGE amount of money. And the last time I checked you could get some pretty smart people educated for a lot less than that. But even if you did subscribe to that philosophy that we have some experienced and educated engineers from the fiasco. What makes you think that those individuals are loyal in any way to this country, and not to themselves first? How do you think corporate secrets get around anyway? They go with employees who move on to other companies with the specific knowledge they have obtained. What makes you so sure that these super smart engineers woudn’t take a high paying job from a Chinese solar panel compay and leave the US altogether?

  4. turtlewoman1039 says:

    I find it interesting that robme’s campaign made so much of the lie about Jeep leaving for China, yet Bain had a PROFITABLE company in Iowa (Illinois?), Sensata, sold to the Chinese. The 1700 US employees trained their replacements and then watched the factory dismantled for shipment.

    • nobsartist says:

      willard the rat did not sell the company to the chinese. he moved it over there and is now a partner with the chinese.

      the chumps that drank the willard the rat kool-aid are too stupid to understand.

    • edmund m says:

      It is called sublimation, you accuse the other of what you are doing, in an argument. He put those ads up to distract from what he himself had done.

  5. Almost a year and half before the campaign even started I was in my Dr’s office, some how we got on the issues of health care (I had just lost my health insurance and Obama care was in its early stage of being developed). My Doctor said to me the problem with the Republicans is that they think everyone is stupid except them, so they take a group of people pry on their weakness and try to light a fire under them not with facts but with spewing hate. McCain might have lost to Obama because of Bush, but Romney lost to Obama because of Romney and Rover.

  6. commserver says:

    Mitt and his cohorts were out of touch with the real people. That showed.

    Mitt appealed to those who didn’t like Obama in the 1st place or those who didn’t really have any convictions and were easily led astray by the sweet talk of Mitt who changed his spiel according to the audience. Unfortunately, it just showed that he was just saying what he thought the audience wanted to hear.

    In the case of Ohio, it was obvious that Mitt miscalculated the voters. Ohio has many jobs that are related to the auto industry and it was Mitt that said that the auto industry shouldn’t be bailed out. He then tried to wiggle his way out of that and twisted words. The people remembered who was their benefactor. It certainly wasn’t Mitt.

    It is ironic that Ohio was the state that clinched the victory for Obama.

  7. Clarniluan says:

    Fabulous article and great surprise to discover on page 2 the identity of the author. I made get-out-the-vote calls from NY to Ohio to encourage people to also vote for Sherrod Brown. I am thrillled to know Mr. Brown is married to someone of this calibre and look forward to checking out her other writing.

    One of the points of the article, that of people who use their bodies as tools for their livelihood, is so important – a healthcare issue in the making with an economic consequence. Indeed, all healthcare issues, including reproductive choices, have economic consequences – they are literally hand-in-glove and that was another R/R mistake, to think people were so stupid as to not recognize that fact. Thank you Ms. Schultz.

  8. emadis41 says:

    Obama offered hope for the working class; Romney offered doom and gloom unless we give him and the 1% more tax breaks and more ways to fleece our great country.

  9. Kansan says:

    This makes me even prouder that I contributed a few bucks to the Brown campaign (at the initial urging of Representative-elect Grayson) and continued to do so, though I couldn’t possibly stem the tide of Kochbucks.

  10. RR3 says:

    Ladies and gentleman of the jury….please we beg of you….let’s ignore Willard Mitt Romney for ever…he had his 15 minutes of fame…(it only took him 6 years and hundreds of millions of dollars to buy them)….now is time to come together and work to help everyone, middle class, unions, teachers, and so many others President Obama and the United States of America …..We the people, for the people and by the people

  11. edmund m says:

    I also am in Ohio. I was amazed at the lie after lie that the Romney and other republican campaigns aired over and over. Even after news outlets of all kinds proved it wrong. The Fascist (Bringing Corporations & Government as one) element of that party thought that Goebbles quote “Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.”, failed them. Perhaps the consciousness/spirituality of America has reached a tipping point? Awakened eyes are seldom put back to sleep. We have already seen behind the curtain.

  12. Ron Silver says:

    The GOP has always used scare tactics and relied upon a stupid population which is why they continued their lies. I’m glad there enough smart people.

  13. patuxant says:

    The GOP needs to understand that they cannot lie and defraud the American people with their pie in the sky stories about capitalism. Their version of capitalism has been totally compromised by those blackhearts who have used this economic theory to buttress the way to wealth and that it is available for “every hardworking individual”. It isn’t and not only do these billionaires attempt to gain power through their wealth, they have shown how oblivious they are to the vast majority of the American public. Most people are not looking for freebies as alot of the t-baggers and writers on this site like to believe. What they aren’t willing to compromise is their freedoms which the GOP has shown in the election cycle, that while they want less govt, they want more invasion into the rights and liberties of the American people.

  14. I am a Wisconsinite who had watch Senator Brown in action on the Senate floor, so when the plea came to help out his campaign I always gave what I could, usually abot $3.00 or $4.00. Since I am disabled on on a tight budget I couldn’t give much, but I donnate to Obama’s & Tammy Baldwin’s campaigns. All I can say We WON!

  15. cookieusa says:

    Thank you for this insightful column, I spent a couple of weeks in Ohio this summer. And yes the saturation of ads was more that obnoxious. I also think the attempts at voter suppression by the Republican governor and Sec’y of State, only strengthened Ohioans’ resolve to vote and to vote for Obama and Sherrod Browm. The honest people of Ohio can most certainly see through “rich guy” condescension. Kathleen

  16. jstsyn says:

    I hope Obama realizes that many of us can’t make it to higher ages to retire. Many of us, like the woman in the article, actually use our bodies to do our work and believe me when I say they wear out fast. My entire spine put me out of work long ago. The safety nets are critical.

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