Political Wisdom From a Cab Driver

His accent was still thick despite having come to America from Haiti more than 20 years ago.

He had been back once since the quake. He wasn't impressed, though hardly surprised, at the lack of progress made by the relief agencies.

"The NGOs mean well but they all want their share of the glory. Maybe that's most important for them."

What about the UN, I asked?

"They should be pulling things together. But they're not."

We turned to domestic politics. It was going to be an hour-long ride to the Tampa Airport and I
often learn a lot from cabbies, particularly immigrants.

I wanted to know his view of health care.

He said he liked the Democratic program, though like every sane person, he hardly thought it perfect.

"The Democrats have to hit hard and be concrete," he said. "They have to be concrete and pound it, pound it, pound it. They didn't before. "

He moved on to the issues that he said concerned him and other voters like him.

"There are three things: Jobs, security and health. Everything else I can take care of myself. Obama can't deal with immigration or anything else but jobs. Or else he's going to be one term."

Blacks did not come out in the 2010 elections, he said, because they felt both parties were going to screw them. They are proud of Obama but they wanted more from him.

He was quiet for a moment, then said, "Poor people hurt themselves. They don't come out and vote. Nobody has to pay attention to them."

How can you change this? I asked.

"You've got to engage them early."


"Jobs, jobs."

The cabbie has three teenage daughters.