The powers that be in the Republican Party sent the people of Florida a gift, a gift of Mitt. They promised that Mitt was the most electable, the most sober, the most sane, the most moral, the best candidate they could field in the presidential election.
Mitt was certainly the best-wrapped. By outward appearances he looked like the neatest, cleanest, and richest gift that anyone had seen.
Besides, the alternatives were too horrible to contemplate. Republican grandees declared that Newt Gingrich walked on the dark side. Accept the gift of Newt, they said, and you will see the party go down to ignominious defeat in November.
With the Gingrich campaign imploding in the Sunshine State, this viewpoint gained credibility.
So, Florida Republicans accepted the gift, the gift of Mitt. They gave him an overwhelming victory in their presidential primary last night.
A chorus of cheers arose from Republicanville. The people had chosen the right candidate. The presidency was within their grasp.
So, finally they decided that it was safe to open the package. They wanted to enjoy what they had just received.
And guess what popped out: an unconcerned, uncaring, callous, indifferent plutocrat.
Last night, while being interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on CNN, Mitt Romney said this: “I’m not concerned with the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”
When O’Brien reminded him that the very poor are also struggling today, Romney put his other foot in his mouth: “The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor….And there’s no question it’s not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. . . My focus is on middle income Americans ... we have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. but we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.”
Let’s see… in Romneytown we can ignore the very poor. I don’t know about you, but to my mind food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers do not constitute even a cheap imitation of the American dream.
Besides, it wasn’t too long ago that we ended welfare because we, as a nation, decided that welfare programs tended to make people dependent on welfare. They undermined initiative and responsibility and the work ethic.
No one can or should live on food stamps alone. What happens if they want to buy clothing for their children, go out to a movie, or take a trip on the subway.
We do have a social safety net, but it is bad news when a presidential candidate fails to understand that we are one nation and that our leaders ought rightly to be concerned with the fate of the least privileged among us.
Erick Erickson, for one, has chastised Romney for playing into a caricature about conservatives.
In a strange way Romney is also thinking like a liberal. Even though liberals pay significant lip service to the plight of the very poor it sometimes happens that they would rather fix the safety net than open job opportunities for them.
In inner city New York, where unemployment has reached calamitous levels, the City Council routinely refuses to allow WalMart to open stores.
The reason: WalMart is not unionized. And WalMart offers a lot of minimum wage jobs.
The same City Council nixed a plan to develop the Kingsbridge Armory, project that would have created many, many jobs for poor New Yorkers. The reason: the developers refused to adopt a wage scale dictated by the City Council and the labor unions.
When the very poor people of New York’s inner city are deprived of opportunities to have jobs, they are helped by the social safety net. Fixing the safety net while not caring whether or not these people work is the unstated policy of modern liberals.