Susan Milligan is visiting six Election 2012 battleground states to talk with 50-plus voters for a report that will be published in the September issue of the AARP Bulletin. She posted this from Henderson, Nevada.
People are in a pretty good mood at Sun City Anthem, which describes itself as an "age-qualified community with an ideal climate and stellar location in Henderson, Nevada." There are golf courses, thousands of single-story, energy-efficient homes, and enough activities to keep even the most energetic and athletic of the community's residents busy. And the Las Vegas Strip is just a few miles away, in case all the amenities and activities - from bocce ball to a TV station that Sun City Anthem can call its very own - aren't enough in the way of entertainment.
But ask people here about politicians in Washington, and a little latent crankiness comes out.
"I want to ask Obama, 'Why didn't you hit the ground running?' '' says Michael Mooneyham, 59, as he shoots some pool with friends in the community center. And why, he wonders, with so many people out of work or without health care, did the banks get bailed out? "Let's bail out the people . . . do a one-time bailout for the people of the United States,'' he says, going so far as to suggest that he'll come to Washington to address members of Congress en masse. Mooneyham's friends chuckle - they're used to his regular doses of comic relief - but they, too, are a bit frustrated.
A recurring theme: Why can't lawmakers on Capitol Hill stop fighting and just work together on the economy? And why, some suggest at the same time, can't President Obama be just a little tougher on a Congress that seems determined to thwart him?
Take Charles Salter, 67, who voted for Obama in 2008. Now he's not so sure about Obama, complaining that he doesn't fight back enough. "He does not understand the schoolyard mentality,'' Salter says.
Some Nevadans, like so many Americans, say they're just tired of all the bickering. "I'm sick of these politicians,'' says Janet Gloyd, 64, a self-employed insurance agent in Las Vegas. "It's all about, 'what they can't do' or 'what they didn't do' or 'the terrible thing they did,' or 'the promises you made that you can't keep.' "
Then a pause. "I'm so much more of a positive person,'' Gloyd says.
Would that politicians were, too. - Susan Milligan