It’s always hard

I was a county delegate to the state Democratic convention, so I went to a convention center in Columbus yesterday and spent the day with Ohio Democrats. Right there next to us at the convention center was a Longaberger basket company training or meeting of some kind.

The CEO of Longaberger is co-chair of “Ohio Women for Mitt”:

Heading up the list are four Republicans: Jane Portman (wife of Senator Rob Portman), Karen Kasich (wife of Governor John Kasich), Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor and Longaberger Company CEO Tami Longaberger.

Longaberger is a multi-level marketer. As Anne Laurie has mentioned, Romney has many donors and supporters in the multi-level marketing community.

I wandered over there and took this photo of the Longaberger pyramid chart in case you’re not familiar with MLM:

I was wearing my “credentials”, with OHIO DEMS 2012 printed in giant letters, but everyone in Longabergerland were grinning ear to ear and making welcoming noises when they saw me approach, maybe hoping to sign me up as a Longaberger distributor. I would insist on starting at Executive Director Central, though, rather than at the bottom of the pyramid, with the recruits. After all, Mitt Romney started right at the top at Bain. Why not me? If starting at the top is good enough for Bain, it should be good enough for Longaberger.

This my fourth Dem convention. I went to two state conventions prior to this one and one national convention and I think I finally figured out the real value of these things. It occurs to me that the people who need these gatherings the most are the Democrats who are in “red” areas, where we are a political minority.

There is really nothing like sitting in a huge room full of like-minded people if you are politically aware or locally active in Democratic or liberal politics and live day-to-day surrounded by Republicans and Tea Party members and conservatives. When I wander around and talk to people, the delegates who come from rural and Republican counties just talk and talk and talk. It’s as if they’ve been censoring themselves for the whole year, and have to tell me EACH and EVERY slight and outrage and infuriating thing that has happened since the last time I saw them.

This occurred to me only because three of us went to eat lunch outside and this young woman who was attending another convention (Pampered Chef) approached us and asked “are you ALL Democrats?” We ‘fessed up, came clean, guilty as charged, and she said she lived in a suburb of Cincinnati and was surrounded by Republicans, and she talked and talked and talked, so this isn’t even limited to activist Democrats. In the most Republican places there are all these liberals and Democrats roaming around, just silently fuming.

I’ll write about the serious things I learned later, Doctors for America, which you will love, and Lilly Ledbetter, who was there, but for now I’ll just introduce you to Ruby:

Ruby is 90 years old and she’s been politically active for 60 years. She lives in Carroll County although she’s originally from Kentucky. Carroll County didn’t do too poorly for Obama in ’08, although McCain carried the county.

I asked her if she thought it was going to be hard to get Obama re-elected, and she said: “oh, honey, it’s always hard.”

I found a Romney office (somewhat) near me, although I haven’t been out to see it yet:

The Romney campaign opened an office in Bowling Green Tuesday morning.
The “Victory Center of Northwest Ohio” is located on South Main Street. It is a place where volunteers can come together to help campaign, make phone calls, prepare for door-to-door walks and distribute yard signs.

32 replies
  1. 1
    Kay says:


    No, I’m not.
    My (good) friend Michele, who came to caucus for me, told me “someone else should probably get a turn” and she has a damn good point there.
    She’s firm, but fair :)

  2. 2
    lamh35 says:

    Lord Kay. I never thought I’d be happy living in Texas, but the last 11 days (gonna be 14 by Wednesday) I’ve been in Ohio, if I see another political ad I may literally shoot myself in the head. And I’ll be honest too, that kinda includes the Obama ads and I love the Obama ads, but the sheer amount of ads that are being shown is sooo much I don’t know how ya’ll can take it.

    I guess it helps that you stay active in Dem politics, but jeez.

    I will say though, that my mom and my sister who both are Obama supporter, but do not follow the campaigns like I do the commercial they actually remember enough to comment on is the “Firms” ad by Obama (that is the one with Romney singing “America the Beautiful”…right?)

  3. 3
    Arclite says:

    Great post. I live in Hawaii and find myself a bit disconnected bc things are pretty liberal here. I just vote and can count on a majority of dems getting elected and doing fairly progressive things. This makes me appreciate what i have.

  4. 4
    Kay says:


    It is. I watched some of the Olympics with my son last night and it was a bit much. Just crazy, how much money they’re spending. We were looking for dressage until he told me “stop it, you don’t even like dressage, you don’t even know what dressage IS, you just want to make fun of Mitt Romney” :)

    True. He’s a truth-teller.

  5. 5
    JoyfulA says:

    I’m surprised Longaberger and Pampered Chef are still around and having conventions because I see their products given away these days.

    And yes, all the people I know involved in multilevel marketing are Republicans, as well as all the people at the top of such companies.

  6. 6

    This is the first time in a long time I’m not attending the State Convention. I didn’t get to attend much of anything in the line of trainings or such because to committments to keeping various things organized, moving, or in some kind of political order – but then I’d probably already done most of them.

    You’re right about those from red districts, and it counts for energizing at that local level.

    Financial constraints along with some other things have precluded my involvement at State level.

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    “It’s always hard.”

    This. Ruby is wise. And she actually pinpoints exactly what is wrong and weird about Rmoney. Nothing has ever been hard for him. Nothing. Never had to struggle for anything in life and so he can’t understand those who have and he can’t stick to it when the going gets rough (see MA governorship).

    And it’s not always being a Dem in a red place that makes connecting with the likeminded so satisfying. There are tons of Dems in my county, probably a majority. But they are the kind of Dems that think Jason Altmeyer is a great Dem. I treasure every moment when I am among my tribe in the Democratic tent, the pragmatic liberals. We gush all over each other and recount all the horrible moments that make us despair, regardless of who provides those moments, GOPers or Firebaggers alike. We are few but we, thankfully, are the most politically active around here. I swear, without this small group of people who see things the way I do, I’d have slit my wrists years ago.

  8. 8
    aimai says:

    Kay I totally love you. If I could meet any Balloon Juicer it would be you.


  9. 9
    suzanne says:

    I just don’t get MLM. Except for Gold Canyon Candles, all the products suck.

    Here in Arizona, I haven’t seen many political ads yet. This place is a pit. However, I did totally go to Whole Foods and buy some arugula last night, and wistfully reminded on how THAT was considered classist just four years ago. But the dude with the dancing horse and the car elevator is SO TOTES a man of the people!

  10. 10
    birthmarker says:

    Your post is so true, as one who lives in the deep red can attest.

    Someone posted a great FB post today about the meanness of some of the politics on FB. I won’t clip since I don’t know the poster, but I will say I am cleaning out my FB newsfeed based on reactions to the Chik Fil A controversy. If you posted something stupid, you are out The irony is that I’m pretty neutral on the subject of Chik Fil A. Some controversies you just have to let slide on by. The whole thing is being kept alive at this point by the evangelical Christians, if my FB feed is any indication. It’s like the hill they are all going to die on.

    (I know, I am just talking and talking…)

  11. 11
  12. 12

    @lamh35: Do take a look at North Drug Store for your mother, and see if she can qualify for the Hoxworth med store locally.

    Thanks Kay, as always.

  13. 13
    DFS says:

    It’s a running joke among Mormons and observers of the church that LDS folks are unusually susceptible to multi-level marketing schemes. I’ve never seen a clear explanation as to why.

    My personal theory is that people born and raised in the church tend to be unusually well-trained salespeople (as a result of their 18 months/two years of missionary work), while people who’ve converted tend to be born suckers (‘cos why else would you voluntarily join up). Thus you have an ecosystem where MLM can easily thrive.

  14. 14
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @suzanne: but thats just it. Cutco knives suck, unless putting knives in dishwasher is a musthave (china mart has such wares now anyway). No, the point is for acquaintances, family, neighbors to feel sorry for pathetic college student salesman and buy out of pity.

    Other mlms work by soaking the “distributor”, hence more apparent scam. Obviously products can be expired/shit.

    Fuller brushes were quality. Founder was black guy who figured whites were best market bc they had all the money. May have sold door to door because he feared getting fucked dealing with white-owned retailers. Also before the car there was more of a market to exploit door to door. We have internet now so any legit startup would be selling that way in the US today.

  15. 15
    piratedan says:

    @suzanne: down here we’re getting all of those Flake vs Cordon ads as the winger attempts to take down the established vet. Hell, Flake is even running ads having Jon Kyl (Mr. “not intended as a factual statement”) chirp up for the Flakester amongst the winger outrage directed at him. Signs abound for all of the local county commissioner and state rep positions too

  16. 16
    arguingwithsignposts says:


    It’s a running joke among Mormons and observers of the church that LDS folks are unusually susceptible to multi-level marketing schemes. I’ve never seen a clear explanation as to why.

    Because multi-level marketing is a secular form of patriarchal prosperity gospel religion. It’s why Mary Kay is so big. Believe in the big pink jesus paint and you’ll get a car.

  17. 17
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @efgoldman: This is a red region, Mittens was there months ago, and you thought the Lord himself was there, by the reaction. They would not vote for Obama even if was blonde blue-eyed named Barry O’Brien. This county produced John Ashbrook, one of the most RW congressmen in history. Yes my old hometown, the reliable place for people voting against their own best interests.( I must say though there is some pushback, but that region is limbaugh land through and through

  18. 18
    Palli says:

    Just want to make a comment about political ads- I hope the Obama campaign recognizes how many people don’t have cable or local telly. I want to see billboards… well written concise messages with clear images on billboards on highways, main streets, buslines and in neighborhoods.

  19. 19
    kay says:


    No, it’s fine to talk and talk. I’m not on FB. I had to block my friend Chip on email because he turned into a Biirther. I can’t handle FB.

    That’s how I think of it, too, “Chip turned into a birther” like “turned into walking dead”.

    I picture him stumbling along, one ankle bent, dragging one foot behind, wearing dirty, misshapen sneakers. He went crazy.

  20. 20
    kay says:


    Bush used billboards in western MI in ’04.

    I thought they were effective. Obviously not effective ENOUGH, but still.

  21. 21
    birthmarker says:

    @kay: Know the feeling…

  22. 22
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: We were in Newark Fall 2010 as part of our grand Hopewell Culture, Wright Brothers, Waco Airplane Factory, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum road trip. We passed by the Lonaberger building and went YIKES.

  23. 23
    Ohio Mom says:

    This month’s Harper’s cover story is on the MLM Mary Kay and it’s a heartbreaker — the distributors are constantly pressured to buy new inventory on credit. It piles up in their basements and garages and yes, they often end up giving it away — or throwing it out when they finally face the facts. A lot of debt is left in the wake.

    At least Tupperware is useful.

  24. 24
    Brutusettu says:

    South Main in BG! “Victory Center of Northwest Ohio” is located on road that goes straight onto Dixie Highway.

  25. 25
    Sal says:

    Have a lot of in-laws and related family in Newark. The story they tell (hard core Repubs all who will never vote Dem, much less for a black dude) is that Longaberger was a good place to work and really good community citizen while the dad (founder?) was running the place. After he died his kids took over and basically looted the place. Workers laid off, community support gone, etc. They were the biggest employer in the area, and thei layoffs and ripple effects devastated the area economically.

    The kids did build themselves pretty nice mansions, I’m told.

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    @Ohio Mom: Thanks. That is The Romney Story in a nutshell, methinks.

    Mary Kay made a ton of money… with an underhanded pyramid scheme! So can I!

  27. 27

    I just got home from Obama HQ here in Stark County (Canton) and we are going great guns with a great group of volunteers and working hard for all the candidates here. Glad you are carrying on the good fight, too.

    Jobs are the biggest issue here and has been for far too long. Lots of families are really hurting.

    Keep up the good fight!

  28. 28
    caroln de lurking says:

    I just happened to be in Defiance last weekend and saw a house plastered with Obama and other assorted democrats. Did my heart good, especially after listening to local hate talk radio. They really are from another dimension, a bad one.

  29. 29
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    So the Logaberger Basket lady is a big Romney supporter.Well, it figures because Longaberger baskets are a lot like Romney. You don’t get a lot for the money, they are totally useless, mostly decorative and the company makes the big profits while little people do the real work.

  30. 30
    Nutella says:

    Shouldn’t that be “VICTORY! Center of Northwest Ohio”?

  31. 31

    I was wearing my “credentials”, with OHIO DEMS 2012 printed in giant letters, but everyone in Longabergerland were grinning ear to ear and making welcoming noises when they saw me approach, maybe hoping to sign me up as a Longaberger distributor.

    “There’s no morality in business; just a ledger. Keep it in the black. Show a profit. Never mind your soul, never mind the landscape, never mind the other guy…” -George Carlin

  32. 32

    Frankly they are getting tougher to find. Several of the cities around Vegas have outlawed short term rentals in residential areas because the renters would party the whole time and disrupt the neighborhood. Also HOAs have banned short term rentals like that for the same reason. If you need a larger than standard hotel room you should check out timeshares in Vegas. They are renting their units like hotel rooms but are actually one, two and three bedroom apartments. You can get a real deal on them right now.

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