Thursday, July 15, 2010

Death Pennies!

The first picture of this slideshow up on the Strib right now is hilarious. Tom Emmer seems to really fear pennies. So much so that not only does he cower from them in fear, he is also forced to flee the building in their presence. Well, and in the presence of a bunch of pissed off servers.

You know, when I first heard about the damage control Emmer is doing, I wanted to give him some props for holding his Town Hall meeting to address the recent hullabaloo over his comments on tip credits, in which he stated:

"You hear a story today where you have servers, people who are working here. They've been provided a job. Because they are able to collect not only a minimum wage--which we all want to make sure people have good living wages--but they are by law required to receive a certain wage. Well guess what? With the tips that they get to take home, there are some that are earning over $100,000 a year -- more than the very people that are providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their family's future. Something has to be done about that."

As this was a completely clueless and kind of a dick thing to say, I thought it was admirable for him to face off with the people that would be most affected by a plan like this. Not that I'm pretending it's anything other then good PR to address this, but these days you usually can't get politicians to do that (but they'll post on Facebook!). He even kicked it off by busing tables for a day! How can you dislike such a humble jokester? And it would have worked well for him, I think, had he done it correctly. He could of easily said, "Hey, guys, I'm sorry, I was wrong, I understand now, and here's a better idea of mine that could work for you" (Emmer later stated that he supports making tips tax-free up to a certain amount). This was a critique of a populist nature, so for him to humble himself to the common folk and admit his folly would have boosted his credibility to them.

So yes, it could have worked for him. But instead, it appears he assumed those common folks he pissed off were morons, and decided the best way to handle this situation would be to treat them as such:

"I don't want to see your wages go down. Let's not talk any longer about what the media has reported as 'Emmer said he wants to cut your wage.' No, I don't. I said it again, I want to raise your wage."

I dunno Tom, I think when you are talking up the virtues of those that "are providing the jobs" and painting them as the victims of imaginary fat-cat servers that are "earning over $100,000 a year" because "they are by law required to receive a certain wage", I'd take that as an reasonable indicator that you might not be on the side of raising the wages of servers.

It didn't get any better from there:

Emmer spent the better part of the hour largely blaming the media for stoking anger of thousands of servers statewide.When asked Wednesday to define "tip credit," Emmer declined to do so, offering no more details on his wage proposals.

"I came here to listen," he said.

Man, people are so annoying when they ask you to be upfront about what your policies are in regards to their own livelihood, are they not?

"I am absolutely horrified by the statements I have seen you make," said Ann Potter, 30, a server in downtown Minneapolis. "We work so hard. Most of us don't have any health insurance or benefits or any financial cushion."

When she finished, Emmer laughed: "I am going to mark her down as undecided."

Ha! This chick is concerned about the low quality of life for servers. That's funny. Instead of addressing that, I'm making a joke. I'm sure my humor will charm her and make her forget that she can't afford to go to the doctor.

Yeesh, for someone that claims to be on the side of the people, he strikes me as an out-of-touch asshole. This poor fool is never going to be able to eat in a restaurant again. I'm not sure what he was expecting to happen with this strategy. State a straight-up lie and attribute it to someone else, then lie about what you said, then blame the media for covering it, then refuse to address the issue people showed up question you on, and then joke when pressed on people's hardships. The only thing I can figure is that yes, he really thinks these people are stupid and he could just act cute and all would be forgiven and forgotten.

Which strikes me as pretty predictable these days with this pseudo-populist conservative movement. I'm still amazed that time and time again, we see right-wingers praised as tireless fighters for the little guy when in reality they treat them with nothing but contempt, while liberals are all elitists because Obama got spicy mustard on his hamburger once.

But, I'm predicting now that we won't really hear about that angle, because it doesn't fit into our current narrative in regards to politics. Instead, I think the big story and discussion from this will be how one of those angry, violent liberals totally tried to attack Tom Emmer with pennies or something.

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