President Obama visited Chandler, Arizona recently in order to give a speech at the $5 billion Intel Fab 42 plant under construction there. I live a short distance from Intel—co-founded, as we are incessantly told, by Andy Grove, an immigrant from Hungary—so I decided to go to see if there were any visible demonstrations either for or against Obama.
I have a personal interest in seeing how the public would react to Obama’s Intel visit. I'm an engineer with many qualifications for working there. My test engineer background and semiconductor design experience should be in high demand—if Obama is right that there is a shortage of high tech workers.
But that hasn't been my experience. Except for a couple of short-term contracting jobs, I have found it nearly impossible to get interviewed at Intel. That company is far more interested in hiring cheap foreign workers than hiring local talent. (See this page to see how Intel gets away with hiring foreign workers even when qualified Americans are available).
When Intel first moved into Chandler, it promised, as part of a package of concessions from both the city and state, to emphasize hiring local people. Intel received its tax and environmental concessions—but never delivered on hiring local people.
My mission was to go to the Obama event to see if anyone was angry.
The first thing I saw as I approached the Intel plant complex [pictures, video] was a huge banner sign voicing support for—the DREAM Act! Admittedly, there were barely enough people to hold the banner up.
Most of the rest of the Obama supporters were carrying anti-Sheriff Joe Arpaio signs, or signs asking Obama to increase taxes on rich corporations like Intel. Plus there were noticeable numbers of lefties unhappy with Obama's war policies and a contingent of "Occupy" protestors.
Most of the the Open Border amnesty protesters were of Mexican descent. But a few were young, white, liberal college kids.
It didn’t seem the whites were mingling with the Mexicans, perhaps because their issues weren't the same. Indeed, Obama supporters were generally all segregated into different groups, which is kind of ironic since they were all supposed to be liberals. Of course none of the young whites seemed to have a clue that the DREAM Act is anathema to their career futures.
For the most part, the Obama supporters seemed to be giving him weak approval conditioned on Obama's ability to fulfill their agenda items. There weren't the usual groupies who love Obama just because of his race.
The second group on the opposite corner: a sizeable crowd of anti-Obama protestors.
This anti-Obama crowd was much more numerous than the group of supporters. Which is a real turnaround: in the past, when Obama appeared in Arizona, his supporters vastly outnumbered his detractors. Hmmm.
The majority of the anti-Obama crowds were Tea Party supporters who didn't want Obama to raise taxes on anyone—apparently including Intel, although it receives very generous tax breaks for operating in Arizona. I hadn’t seen so many Tea Party people in years. There was also a scattering of people who were there to support Sheriff Joe.
But one thing was notably absent from the anti-Obama crowd: the immigration issue [slide show]. There were a few protestors who wanted to stop illegal immigration, but their numbers were relatively small. My "Abolish H-1B" sign was the only one that tackled legal immigration. Which was particularly odd, considering that Intel imports enormous numbers of foreign workers—and that the Indian population growth in Chandler is provoking many conversations among neighbors.
I stood on the street and paraded around so that everyone could see my "Abolish H-1B" sign. I received a few quizzical stares, but nobody seemed interested in what my sign meant, or why I was there. There were plenty of TV news and newspaper reporters looking around, but they ignored me.
The only attention I got was from a 13-year old boy who took the trouble to ask me what H-1B is. As I was explaining it to him, his mother chimed in that her husband has said he is one of the only whites that still has a job at Intel. She was very concerned about the demographic shift that has occurred at Intel. But she didn't seem to understand that H-1B was one of the major culprits.
Obama's motorcade sped by very quickly as they entered the main entrance to Intel. Obama was not visible because he was hidden behind the dark windows on the presidential limousine. If he had a moment to notice anything, it would have been the large DREAM Act sign.
Two young black boys and their mother somehow wandered into our crowd. The boys, who were the only blacks I saw on either side of the aisle, said they came there to support Obama because he was the first black president.
Obama's speech [video] was shallow and devoid of content. He avoided talking about jobs, except when he was praising how many jobs Intel produces in the U.S. (No mention of who gets them).
Close to the end of the speech, Obama gave American kids a tongue-in-cheek warning that they need to be able to do math before they work at Intel. The transcript reveals one of the dumber jokes Obama used in his speech:
And we need to invest in education. [Applause.] We want tomorrow’s workers — we want Arizona’s workers — to have the skills they need for the jobs like the ones that will be opening up here. And I have to tell you, I’ve been to these plants at Intel — young people, you’d better have done some math before you get in here. [Laughter.) You can’t just kind of wander in and you didn’t do some math in school. (Laughter.)
Remarks by the President at Intel Ocotillo Campus, Chandler, Arizona, January 25, 2012
Obama's joke is significant because it shows the disdain he has for Americans who get their education in the U.S. Obama seems convinced that young Americans just don't have what it takes to compete in the global economy.
Attending the Intel demonstration t makes it obvious that Obama has lost a lot of popularity. Even the lefties seem to be unhappy with him, on a variety of issues—including the fact that despite all the rhetoric, Obama still hasn't produced amnesty or stopped U.S. involvement in “nation-building” wars.
But still, Obama's misguided policies on immigration didn't seem to be a concern for his opponents at the Intel demonstrations, despite Obama's support for amnesty, attacks on the State of Arizona for its fight to enforce immigration policy, and his unwavering support of H-1B and green cards for foreign students.
Arizonans, whether liberal or conservative, still don't seem to connect Obama's immigration policies to the employment problem.
Conservatives, such as the Tea Party activists, seem every bit as clueless as the Open-Border lefties about the impact immigration has on their careers and livelihoods.
Both sides are oblivious to the fact that Intel imports large numbers of H-1B visa holders to take jobs that Americans are qualified to do.
And neither side seems to understand that Obama wants more visas to bring more foreign workers into the U.S.
The pessimistic interpretation: Americans are invincibly ignorant. The optimistic interpretation: they have not yet begun to fight—and still Obama is fatally unpopular.
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