RJC in Santa Monica–John Ratzenberger

At the annual Republican Jewish Coalition Summer Bash in Santa Monica, California, I had the pleasure of listening to and meeting actor John Ratzenberger.

Mr. Ratzenberger is best known to America as oddball postal worker Cliff Clavin from the legendary television show Cheers.

On the 200th episode of Cheers, Ratzenberger described Cliff Clavin to John McLaughlin.

Cliff Clavin, according to Cliff Clavin, is the wingnut that holds western civilization together. To me Cliff Clavin is just a winged nut.

Mr. Ratzenberger has left the bar where everybody knew his name, and left the postal service as well. Yet his acting career is busir than ever, even though his face is not onscreen as much. He has a voice role in virtually every Pixar animation movie that comes out.

Mr. Ratzenberger kept a low profile politically, preferring not to spar with well known liberals Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson. Yet the atmosphere behind the scenes of Cheers was friendly.

In recent years, with his paycheck secure, Mr. Ratzenberger is speaking out more about his politics. While he leans right of center, he has one issue that he feels people of all political persuasions can unite around. Mr. Ratzenberger is passionate about manufacturing.

Manufacturing? Yes, manufacturing. He runs the Nuts and Bolts Foundation. He is no wingnut. He is a serious man who wants us to all care about wingnuts. With that, I present the remarks of John Ratzenberger.

I became an actor because actors dont have to lift heavy cement bags.

I was a carpenter in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bridgeport is a town where you drive through it real fast, and you cover your head during the day.

I told my daughter when she was growing up that if a boy gets inappropriate, say stop! three times. If you say stop, stop, stop, and he does not stop, you punch him in the nose. Two weeks later at school, a boy was snapping her bra. She just hit him. She did not even say stop. She just knocked him out.

We need to say to Iran, stop, stop, stop. If they dont, then we bloody their nose economically.

Europe enjoys freedom because the United States is a strong nation.

In Amsterdam the police are smoking pot. The army is useless.

The basis of our strength in America is not our actors, our media, or our athletes. Our strength comes from the guy who gets up early in the morning and puts a nut and a bolt together.

Farmers are people who have to get up early and figure stuff out before the cows get out or the wolves get in.

In the 1980s, we canceled vocational training in the schools. We were told it was now the information age. We were going to be a service economy.

For our society to succeed, it must make stuff, and it must sell stuff.

Our kids are food processors playing video games. That is not a training ground for carpenters and plumbers.

The question is, why would anybody want to be a plumber?

Most people see the surgeon as better than the plumber. Well when the surgeon goes to wash his hands, either there is a working faucet with working hot water, or there is no surgery.

We have lost our common sense. How can we maintain a military when we cant make our own armamanet?

China is making the circuit boards for our submarines.

We dont connect the nuts and bolts for our own Jeeps and Humvees. If this keeps up, in six to ten years we will be facing an industrial tsunami.

Somebody had to build the wall before telling Michelangelo to get to work.

I began the Nuts and Bolts Foundation. We train welders, and teach people other valuable trades.

I went to a school and asked how many of the students wanted to be auto mechanics. One student raised his hand. The rest laughed at him because they were going to be doctors and lawyers. I pointed out to them that while they would be paying off student loans, he would be making more money than any of them because he would be fixing their cars.

This is an issue that Democrats used to own. Yet Tip ONeill is no longer Speaker. People could picture Tip ONeill getting out a hammer and fixing his house. Can anybody picture Nancy Pelosi doing that? Republicans can and should pick up on this issue.
Manufacturing has always been part the American DNA. We are people who roll up our sleeves and say, get out of our way, well fix it.

We must foster manufacturing. This is a national security issue.

The media can do their part. They should stop portraying television plumbers as buffoons. Enough with the jokes about the butt crack hanging out. People with trades are vitally important, and they should be portrayed with respect. Kids will not go into these professions if they are constantly portrayed in the media as being uncool and beneath people.

I remember being in Little League. Back when I played, not everybody won just for showing up. If you stunk, you went home. At eight years old you learned how to handle an emotional crisis, not at age thirty.

I love this country desperately. Enough is enough. Pick up a tool box, and lets get to work. We can fix our kids, and fix this country.

John Ratzenberger received a rousing reception, and deservedly so.

I am not saying that the media will be able to launch an hour long television drama around people who manufacture ball bearings, but we have a glut of layers and a shortage of quality carpenters and plumbers.

I remember meeting a Jewish girl at a party who told me she was an electrician. I was stunned, because I had never encountered that before. That should not be.

We ridicule those we need, and glorify those we do not need, with the possible exception of doctors.

I encourage people to learn more about the Nuts and Bolts Foundation. I also implore schools to bring back vocational training.

I am an adult who cannot fix a sink, install piping, or do anything electrical. My auto mechanic makes a fortune on me because I have no idea how to change my oil.

I hope that the next generation learns valuable skills. Time is running out.

The liberals can sing If I had a hammer, while cheerfully hammering away. The conservatives can get aggressive and pound those nails.

We have our differences, but on this issue, together, we can be number one again. John Ratzenberger is ready. Unlike Cliff Clavin, he is no winged nut. He is one of the wingnuts holding America together. Lets help him.


One Response to “RJC in Santa Monica–John Ratzenberger”

  1. “Free Trade” killed American manufacturing. If you are a proponent of “Free Trade,” then you have no one to blame for the death of American manufacturing but yourself. Not the unions, not “Liberals,” but yourself. And Ratzenberger brings up Tip O’Neil? Really? Tip “Reagans Lap Dog” O’Neil? People like Tip O’Neil are WHY we have no manufacturing in American anymore. If he wants to bring back manufacturing, then he should be railing against the sleazy whoring of America that is “Free Trade.” That, or he should shut up.


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