Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Gift of Mitt

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.

Uh, oh!

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.


Sixth Sigma Sez said...

I don't think a lot of poor people care about the American dream. Those who do care will finish high school, get married, THEN have their baby. Those who don't will quit school and live irresponsible lives consisting of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, and, oh, yes, food stamps.

Hugh said...

Not much American dreamin' going on in Detroit. Gotta go outside the city limits for that.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

How about giving some of these people a chance at an entry-level job at WalMart. Maybe that will help them to behave more responsibly...

Ralph said...

The poor as a class will always be with us. However, the point lost is that many poor don't stay poor forever. I would guess that most migrate out of poverty if they maintain some semblance of moral sensibility like don't become a drug addict, an illiterate teenage mom, etc. I was very poor at one time, yet was able to finish school and get a job and move up the ladder. Will never be rich, but am rich with a home, a steady job, and a great family. I am living the American dream, though at one time was as poor as a church mouse.

Hugh said...

Whereas Walmart would love to build a store in inner city New York, there is no such impulse to build a Walmart in inner city Detroit. In fact, I don't think there are any Walmart stores within the Detroit city limits.

CatherineM said...

As far as Walmart, they were just as stupid in Chicago and now people take the bus to the burbs for the jobs and the deals. Stupid (but at least they are taking mass transit = green!)

I was sorry he put his foot in his mouth like this, but I don't think he meant the way it came off. But like the "I like to fire people," it's an instant commercial.