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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Elephant in the room

A white supremacist gunman attacks a religious temple. Mitt Romney makes up a Barack Obama welfare policy. Who says America is post-racial?

The Boston Globe addresses that nasty little "secret" head-on as the campaign takes an even nastier turn, if such is possible, with Romney's twisting of Obama's efforts to accommodate GOP governors looking for flexibility in the work requirement contained in the 1996 welfare reform law.

GOP governors that included one Willard M. Romney.

The tepid recovery from the GOP's Great Recession has left a shortage of what Michael Dukakis once promised "good jobs at good wages." It has also left a lot of short tempers and long memories among working class white men without college degrees, a group hit hard by the recession.

The combination is combustible, as we saw over the weekend in Oak Creek, Wisc., a state that has been home to more than its fair share of election rhetoric about jobs and unions.

While jobs remains the centerpiece of the campaign, the social tension -- and the skin color of the incumbent president -- is never far away. The Globe cites a recent Quinnipiac University poll. that among white men across the nation, Mitt Romney leads Obama, 54 percent to 33 percent, a gap that narrows to 47 to 40 percent among all men.
“It’s just a new thing, and people don’t want to get over it,” said Frank Fantauzzo, 65, campaign director for the Cambria County Democratic Committee. “People would say, ‘He’s going to make us Muslims.’ ”
It's a prejudice at the heart of the new, highly distorted Romney ad that seeks to play on deep-seated stereotypes about welfare that have been part of the GOP playbook from Richard Nixon on.

Romney's out-of-the-blue claim declares Obama is trying to take the work requirement out of the welfare law. But as the Times notes:
That claim seemed a stretch even by the standards of 30-second political ads. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, which issued the welfare initiative in a memo on July 12, wrote later in the month that to qualify a state must “move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s past performance.”
The new attack is just part of the depressing race to the bottom, one fueled by poll numbers showing Romney's unfavorability ratings almost 10 percent higher than his favorables. It's part and parcel of the effort by both candidates to make their foes unacceptable.

Obama appears to be winning that effort right now, despite Romney's built-in advantage.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at how the EBT card restrictions played out in this state. The people that pay the bills and pay their taxes are sick of carrying everyone. I don't care black or white, I'm tired of the cheats. To paraphrase Ben Franklin I would rather deny 10 worthy poor people their benefits than allow one cheat to get theirs.

August 08, 2012 8:29 AM  

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