Mitt Romney Continues to Play the Southern Strategy

Here’s Romney today talking about the race-baiting welfare reform thing. Not only is the topic itself torn directly from Lee Atwater’s Playbook, but this remark absolutely confirms it.

“There’s no question in my mind that the president’s action was calculated to… shore up his base,” Romney said, according to an extended quote that USA Today provided to The Huffington Post. “Weakening the work requirement in welfare is an enormous mistake.”

It’s a lie. It’s been debunked by everyone from FactCheck.org to Bloomberg to The Washington Post, and yet he keeps repeating it. Why? Because the white conservative Republican base thinks that black Obama supporters are milking the system and collecting free money — free money that the white conservatives diligently pay into the system while the black liberals don’t pay any taxes. This is precisely the ridiculous, racist idea Romney is referencing by continuing to repeat this lie.

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  • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

    After reading and hearing so much about the welfare waiver, I finally decided to read the memo. I figured reading a memo wouldn’t be so bad compared to reading something like the Affordable Care Act (also much talked about).

    I believe this is the memo everyone is talking about:

    http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/policy/im-ofa/2012/im201203/im201203.html

    Why take other people’s word for what something says when we can read it ourselves?

    The memo states, “HHS will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals of TANF.”

    Okay, what’s the purpose of TANF? According to the memo, “HHS is encouraging states to consider new, more effective ways to meet the goals of TANF, particularly helping parents successfully prepare for, find, and retain employment.”

    To sum it up, states can APPLY for waivers if they think they can a do a better job furthering the goal of putting people to work.

    The most clear cut lie here is saying that the Obama administration waived anything at all. They have not. They’re accepting applications for waivers that must meet certain requirements, including helping folks find and retain jobs.

    There might be something to talk about if the Obama administration GRANTED a waiver application for a state’s new policy that tossed aside the work requirement, but that hasn’t happened.

    Romney knows this but he continues the lie anyway. I have to agree with you, Bob, this is just one more instance of Romney playing the Southern Strategy. That almost makes it sound like he’s playing Parcheesi. He’s using lies to stoke the basest elements of his base and it’s nothing short of repugnant.

  • Ned F

    Besides the blatant lie, the other fact is that, it is really really hard to get cash assistance and has been for the past 20 years. It’s not the 70′s, you need to be practically homeless with no assets, but the myth lives on.
    The outraged ones who believe this, that some freeloader somewhere is receiving a $40. monthly government check, seem to have no problem with oil companies receiving billions in subsidies, farm and crop subsidies, sugar subsidies, and all the other corporate forms of welfare. Nor the fact that a few billionaires can spend enough money to write energy and tax policy to benefit themselves. Romney’s recently released energy policy sounds like it was written expressively for Koch Industries.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Not only do you have to be damn near broke and homeless, but in many states you have to have an underage dependent child or be pregnant–adults with no such child are ineligible. (and people wonder why the homeless population has increased so much)

      (recently did some research on welfare eligibility in different states including michigan, georgia, texas and so forth)

      • Staci Bass

        Not just pregnant, the child has to have been born before the mother qualifies, and in Illinois, it’s a grand total of about $265 per month for one child. Furthermore, if you are homeless, you cannot qualify for help from the government until you get a physical address.

    • Staci Bass

      The angriest I’ve ever been at “government” was during 2010 when I was on unemployment and they were screwing around with the extensions. From the beginning of May until the first week of August, there were no checks cut for those of us on an extension because Congress (read Republicans although there were a couple Democrats) was fighting approving more cash for the program. BUT, on the same day, immediately after voting down the unemployment extension because it cost too much money and all other manner of bullshit, there was a $35 billion subsidy approved for the oil industry.

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Even Bill Clinton, who was the president when the last round of welfare reform went through, put out a statement to denounce Romney’s lies.

  • muselet

    I think Jamelle Bouie has it right:

    With blacks, Latinos and other nonwhites so adamantly opposed to the GOP, Romney’s only hope for winning the election is massive turnout from white voters. Indeed, according to Ron Brownstein, Romney needs to capture 61 percent of white voters to win, assuming they turn out at 2008 levels. Moreover, it seems clear Obama retains the support of a critical number of white voters. His approval rating reached 50 percent in the latest Post/ABC poll, and as Greg notes, he leads Romney in understanding the economic concerns of ordinary Americans.

    The attacks on welfare and Medicare are crude, but they are one of the few things that could lead white voters — and downscale whites in particular — to doubt Obama’s concern for people like them. Which is why, despite widespread criticism and condemnation, Romney will press forward with these attacks.

    This sort of campaign has always been vile, but now it stinks of desperation.

    –alopecia

  • BenAu

    Just need the ad where they show Mitt making this point, a clip from one of his ads making this point, then the “pants on fire” kind of stuff, then a clip of Romney himself talking the other week about how when claims are proven false people used to retract it.

    Let him be damned by his own mouth.