Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Welfare Check

If Ross Douthat is claiming that Barack Obama’s campaign ads are less than truthful and don’t work, I can’t wait to see what he thinks of this howler from Mitt Romney:

Some Republican governors this year asked the Obama administration for some new flexibility on welfare standards — the governors had some ideas about moving folks from welfare to work and needed the White House to sign off. Obama agreed — existing work requirements would stay in place, but states, if they want to, can take advantage of new flexibility when it comes to experimenting with existing law.

This is the sort of shifting-power-to-the-states policy that Republicans are supposed to love. As of this morning, however, it’s the basis for a new Mitt Romney attack ad.


[T]he ad shows President Clinton signing welfare reform into law in 1996, “requiring work for welfare.” The spot then argues, however, that President Obama “quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” The voiceover tells viewers, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check…. and welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.”

We then learn, “Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.”

Romney’s lying. He’s not spinning the truth to his advantage; he’s not hiding in a gray area between fact and fiction; he’s just lying.

Not only that, the sledgehammer subtlety of the ad is “The black president just gave a pass to all the welfare queens and their Cadillacs and the young bucks to buy T-bones. Beats workin’.” All that’s missing is the mug shot of Willie Horton.

Even for the Republicans, this is pretty gobsmacking. They’ve taken a situation where Republican governors — including Mitt Romney — have requested flexibility in the welfare reform law so that they can best serve the needs of their state, and are now claiming that it’s President Obama throwing out the whole law, all to the tune of shrieking dog whistles.

Last week it was demonstrable lies about the early voting for the military in Ohio. It’s only August. It will be interesting to see what they come up with in the next ten weeks.