I’m guessing there are far more people on food stamps, and at risk of going on food stamps, than there are rich Republicans. There are almost certainly more unemployed folks than there are wealthy Republicans, and there are more unemployed folks collecting unemployment than there are wealthy Republicans. Matter of fact, I suspect there are considerably more broke and unemployed Republicans than there are wealthy Republicans. All of which begs the question; why would the Republicans buy into a campaign strategy guaranteed to distance themselves even from a sizable number of their own party? And why would those less fortunate members of the Republican Party stand idly by as they repeatedly hear themselves demonized by the candidates who are supposed to have their best interests at heart? I know some Republicans who fall into that camp, and I have never been able to figure that out. I mean, if these guys are your friends, who the hell are your enemies?
But according to the Republican strategy playbook, racism and classism are good for business. Blaming the unemployed, the broke, the poor for all their misfortunes and urging them to rise up from that couch and make something of themselves is apparently what they believe will chart their course back to full control of Congress as well as to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This explains why Newt Gingrich thinks it a good idea to label the nation’s first African American commander-in-chief as the “food stamp president”, and also why he has decided it couldn’t hurt to lecture African Americans on why jobs are better than welfare. It would explain why he briefly courted the idea of joining together with The Donald to promote the idea of some perverse special edition of “The Apprentice” where the two of them would assume the role of the Great White Savior Santa Claus and lift a handful of self-selected ‘deserving’ black kids from the ghetto and give them the chance to be just like The Donald. As if this were something to aspire to. It also goes a long way toward explaining Rick Santorum’s (now disputed) statement caught on tape where he said that he didn’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other peoples’ money. Meaning, of course, welfare. Even though there are far more white folks on welfare than black.
As for Ron Paul, well, I’m not quite sure what explains that. When you start making statements implying that black criminals are all super fast, or that “I think we can assume that 95 percent of the black men in that city [Washington] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal” then it’s safe to say that racism to you isn’t a strategy it’s just a part of who you are as an ignorant human being.
But getting back to Gingrich and his fondness for referring to President Obama as the Food Stamp President, it’s kind of interesting when you examine the actual facts of the food stamp program. As a matter of fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently released a detailed report spelling out how the food stamps are what is keeping an increasing number of Americans from sinking below the waves.
From the Off the Charts blog, part of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
In 2011, SNAP helped almost 45 million low-income Americans to afford a nutritionally adequate diet in a typical month. Nearly 75 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. While SNAP’s fundamental purpose is to help low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities afford an adequate diet and avoid hardship, it promotes other goals as well, such as reducing poverty, supporting and encouraging work, protecting the overall economy from risk, and promoting healthy eating.
SNAP caseloads have risen significantly since late 2007, as the recession and lagging recovery battered the economic circumstances of millions of Americans and dramatically increased the number of low-income households who qualify and apply for help from the program. Yet, despite the rapid caseload growth, SNAP payment accuracy has continued to improve, reaching all-time highs. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that SNAP spending will fall as a share of the economy in coming years as the economy recovers and temporary benefit expansions that Congress enacted in 2009 expire.
My guess is not all these folks out there treading water are diehard Democrats. There are no doubt Republicans among them, and there are also those who are not now, or may never have been, thrilled with Obama. But they have ears to hear, and they have the ability to vote, which just might be yet another reason why the Republicans are working so hard at vote suppression.