Do They Think We Have Amnesia?

Apparently the Republicans are rallying behind the argument that Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty failed, so it’s time to give them a turn at running the government.


WASHINGTON — Senator Marco Rubio says the American dream has become “unattainable.” Senator Mike Lee says reforming government benefits programs should be the country’s “first priority.” And Representative Paul D. Ryan says the government safety net has “failed miserably.”

Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty, the message from Republicans in Congress is that the government has foundered in its efforts to address the problem.

“While we have programs in place that help deal with the pain of poverty, they don’t deal with the structural problems,” Mr. Rubio of Florida said in an interview.

And who caused those “structural problems,” toots? Answer me that! Whose economic/governing philosophy has dominated Washington and federal policy since, oh, about 1980 or so (and arguably earlier)?

Mindful of polls that show many Americans see them as detached from or indifferent to the hardships faced by the people most affected by the recession and slow recovery, Republicans have begun to speak publicly on the issue of poverty and to propose their own, more market-based solutions.

In other words, the same crap that got us into this mess.

But at the same time that the party is shifting its focus to poverty, many Republicans are pushing for deep cuts to food assistance programs and unemployment insurance, while 11 million Americans are jobless and poverty rates remain elevated in the wake of the recession.

One way to reduce poverty is to starve the impoverished, I give you that. It worked pretty well in Ireland awhile back.


But you know the Republican establishment is nervous when they bring in the empathy coaches.

House Republican leaders sent a memo this week to the entire GOP conference with talking points designed to help rank-and-file Republicans show compassion for the unemployed and explain the Republican position on unemployment benefits. In the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post, House Republicans are urged to be empathetic toward the unemployed and understand how unemployment is a “personal crisis” for individuals and families. The memo also asks Republicans to reiterate that the House will give “proper consideration” to an extension of long-term insurance as long as Democrats are willing to support spending or regulatory reforms.

Of course,

Last year they tried to empathy coach Republican politicians about women, and I can’t see that it helped. But why are they so worried now? Joan Walsh writes,

Maybe because of polls like the one just completed by Hart Research (on behalf of the National Employment Law Project). Surveying likely 2014 midterm voters the pollsters found they overwhelmingly supported extended benefits 55 to 34 percent. Significantly, key Republican groups like seniors and white non-college educated voters were among the most supportive; white women, a swing group that leaned to the GOP in 2012, support maintaining the benefits 53-33 percent.

And by some non-coincidence, many Washington politicians who are most adamantly against extending benefits are from states with the highest number of jobless constituents. Funny how that works, huh?

Unfortunately for them, Paul Ryan spilled the beans last month when he declared he wanted to end jobless benefits so that people would be compelled to go out and find a job. But the average American is at least a few shades brighter than Ryan — hell, there could be varieties of dieffenbachia that are brighter than Ryan — and understand that it’s a bit tricky to go out and get a job when there are no bleeping jobs to get.

18 thoughts on “Do They Think We Have Amnesia?

  1. Delusional.
    That’s what they are!
    In their mind’s, we unemployed – especially minorities – are popping bon-bon’s in our faces, and downing them by sipping champagne, and buying malt liquor, Alaskan crab-legs, and T-bones!

    The reality, as me and my Mom can tell you – with our monthly $16 SNAP allowance (for the TWO of us), and her being on SS Survivor’s Benefits, and my limited “Temporary Assistance (which amounts to about $ 360 a month, for me) – is that we can barley make it to the end of any month, without dipping into her rapidly depleting saving’s accounts.
    Being poor, sucks!
    Being in the government, especially in this Recession/Depression, and as wealthy as they are, makes them lose perspective – if they ever had it in the first place!

  2. You underestimate Paul Ryan. It’s not about whether he’s smart or not. It’s about how well he can con people, both the ordinary voters and the Democrats. He did a great job with Sen Patty Murray on the budget “compromise” – they became best buds after that one. That’s his real use and it has nothing to do with brains.

    Ryan has demonstrated time and again that he’s an extremely skilled and slippery liar, gifted at conning the masses and the Democrats, and as such, he’s of enormous utility to the Republicans.

  3. The important statistic to remember is that there was NO deficit when George W. Bush became President–NO DEFICIT! There was a surplus! That is what Americans need to be reminded of over and over and over and over and over and over. Additionally, it took the Republicans only EIGHT short years to turn the surplus into the deficit, which has SHRUNK since Obama has been President. These are two TRUTHS

  4. Oops . . . hit a wrong button. To finish, these are two truths that need to be pounded into every American’s head until election day 2014. Then, you start pounding on these two truths again until the Presidential election in 2016.

  5. “Maybe because of polls like the one just completed by Hart Research (on behalf of the National Employment Law Project). Surveying likely 2014 midterm voters the pollsters found they overwhelmingly supported extended benefits 55 to 34 percent. Significantly, key Republican groups like seniors and white non-college educated voters were among the most supportive; white women, a swing group that leaned to the GOP in 2012, support maintaining the benefits 53-33 percent.”

    This just blows my mind, that white women as a key swing group leaned republican in 2012! After all they did, and are still doing to women.

    So, its not that they think we have amnesia, they KNOW many of us are just plain stupid.

  6. Gulag, republicans aren’t delusional; they don’t believe that crap themselves. That’s the con they use to sell it to the rubes. All of the long term unemployed are not democrats, and those that aren’t will STILL vote for these clowns.

    Bottom line for the GOP, tell whatever lie needs to be told, the stupider the better, to gain support for the real goal of siphoning more money from social safety net programs, to funnel to the top. They only hate “redistribution of wealth” when its heading downward, instead of upward. Every dollar they can cut from SNAP, etc., means more dollars they can commit to “defense contracts,” “tax cuts” and other one percenter welfare schemes.

  7. I said it last month and I’ll say it again: Is it too much to ask for one of Our Media Stars who make $5 million or so a year covering politics to ask one of these Republicans “So, have the President and the rest of the Democrats done a lousy job of creating jobs, or are there plenty of jobs out there and people are too lazy and dependent to get one? Because both thing cannot be true.”

    Yes, evidently it is too much to ask.

  8. They don’t care what we think…If you’ve got no money, you’ve got no voice. And the Repugs just see you as a freeloader that’s sucking the life out of America.

  9. I have no sympathy or love for GOP policies that blame the poor and would deprive them of the minimal assistance that keeps them from being homeless and starving. This kabuki dance is all about giving them cover in the upcoming elections when it’s obvious the democrats are planning to pile on for the GOP being heartless and lackeys for the rich. Which they are guilty of.

    But let’s look at the policies supported by BOTH parties that have contributed – I’m thinking ‘free trade’ agreements. These have been a windfall for multinational corporations who want a guarantee that there will not be trade sanctions resulting from exporting jobs to 3rd world countries. The suggestion that these countries guarantee that they won’t tax US goods is a fraud. WTF are these countries ‘importing’ from the US? Almost nothing.

    Democrats in Washington are in favor of assistance to the needy. Which is not enough. They are going to have to buck the tide. The bipartisan history within the beltway has sacrificed industry (and jobs) in favor of Wall Street Profits. It’s time to bring back living-wage jobs to the US and to hell with worrying about the feelings of billionaires.

  10. The arrogance and phoniness of right wing Republicans just keeps getting worse. I’m saddened by the word games and nonsense over the War on Poverty. The truth is that the war on poverty died a long time ago. If it wasn’t dead by the time Reagan became president 33 years ago, then he put the final stake in with his many budget cuts.

    Too many Republican politicians don’t care about the poor.

    For a long time now, their next target has been the middle class. Nothing more, nothing less.

  11. csm,
    “Gulag, republicans aren’t delusional; they don’t believe that crap themselves.”

    Yes, and I forgot that for a few minutes.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    The ones in political office or in the MSM at any level, are the grifters – the ones who vote for them, are the griftee’s.

  12. I used to see a sign painted on the side of a building in Brooklyn (when riding on the BQE):


  13. PurpleGirl ..Not all of them are con men. The majority of conservatives are common drones. Functionaries who aren’t smart enough to realize what they are doing.

  14. Purple Girl – thank you so much for that tip! I plan to copy the idea and make a poster out of it.

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