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Memo to red & blue political hacks: This is reason why you can’t govern
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Strikers outside Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.

I do not drink coffee.

Dreyer’s coffee ice cream, though, is a different story.

But if a Dreyer’s worker was on strike for more money and told the world I was paying $5 for 1.5 quarts of not-so-good ice cream from their employer I might think twice about continuing my weekly indulgence.

Even though I like the taste, I don’t really like the idea that someone who makes a living producing ice cream I buy talks like I’m a sucker for buying it.

Now consider a quote from a Wall Street Journal story.

It appeared in the Nov. 17 edition.

The story was about Starbucks baristas — a fancy name for those that pour coffee following a formula they are given — striking on the company’s annual “Red Cup Day” for the second consecutive year.

They are striking for a union contract.

They want more consistent hours and higher pay.

The story said how one protester shouted out “Grinch” as a customer crossed a picket line to get his coffee fix at a Starbucks in Manhattan.

The gem line, though, came from a 22 year-old named Mary Baca.

She told the reporter the strike was a bid to convince customers to back the workers that serve them daily.

Then she delivered the quote:

“We love our customers and hope they respect us. At the end of day they’re paying $7 for not so-good coffee.”


Did she realize what she said.

It sounds like she believes the customers are saps for forking over $7 for coffee.

Coffee, that she says, is not that good.

And she wants more money so the sheep she serves can pay even more for a “not-so-good coffee.”

Respect is a two-way street.

She wants respect from customers yet at the same time clearly implies she thinks they are idiots for parting with $7 for the apparent swill she serves up every day as a “coffee professional” while at the same time demanding to be called a barista.

It is arguably the best way to describe what party animals constantly do when trying to convince people to vote for them.

They tell  people how bad things are to get voters on their side.

Then, after they are elected, they shift gears.

Years ago, the Roseville Union High School District teachers’ union leader kept making public statements of how bad an education students got from the district’s high schools because teachers were paid less than some nearby districts.

It was during a period they were trying to build public support during contract negotiations.

About a month or so after the district and union settled, the same union leader talked up how good Roseville Union High School District teachers were.

When asked why he changed his tune, his reply was that it was just labor bargaining rhetoric and that no one took it seriously.

Only one problem with that.

Some did take what he said seriously.

It helped de-enforce the perception some had that education dollars were being squandered on inferior teaching.

And it got at least one person to say they no longer supported the schools because of what was essentially an education professional talking out of both sides of their mouth.

They made it clear in a letter to The Press-Tribune that included both quotes.

Politicians that default to party hacks at election time are their own worst enemy.

They always say whoever is in power is responsible for all perceived ills — the economy, war, the  erosion of standards, and acne.

Then when they are elected and things don’t change they can be expected to embrace two concepts.

First and foremost, they are at a loss to understand when everyone  does not think everything is now peachy keen.

They then proceed to their default line of saying how bad others would govern if people turned them out of office.

The assumption, of course, is that people are naive enough — and many are — to believe the changing of the guard actually changed things when underlying problems and issues are the same.

It is why the level of cynicism even by historic American standards of exchanges in the public square appears so acute today.

You spend enough time trying to persuade people the lazy way through reckless rhetoric instead of measured reasoning, the cup of governance people are served tastes like warmed over coffee at the bottom of the pot that has been sitting for a week.

Even if that cup of governance is actually fairly good, it has been forever tainted by endless cycles of poisonous campaign posturing.

All of a sudden you’ve got people convinced Starbucks coffee is no better than 1960s era instant coffee.

But instead of paying a dime a cup you’re forking over $7 a cup.

And on top of that the workers want you to pay more for that not-so-good cup of coffee so they can make more.

The same analogy can be used for paying taxes.

Today’s political playbook’s basic rule is to say how crappy things are going when the other guy is in office.

That means your taxes are being blown on swill government, if you will.

Two years later, those that drove home that underlying message can’t understand why they find themselves bobbing in political quicksand.

Nor do they understand why people are so resistant to more taxes.

After all, as pundits that back them point out, you can’t turn the ship of state on a dime.

Yes, people have unreasonable expectations.

They want more government largeness but don’t want to pay for it.

But that viewpoint is re-enforced by campaigns based on focus groups and polling that deliberately plays to the lowest common denominator.

Voters are like a Starbucks customer that stops and analyzes what Mary Baca the barista said.

You are basically getting not-so-good government at cost that is inflated beyond its actual value.

But side with them and fork over more money, that government magically overnight will become incredible.

It is why politicians can’t succeed at governing effectively anymore after they are elected.


 This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at