Bill Maher calls them “zombie lies;” tales proven to be false that still have the shelf life of a Twinkie in a landfill. The latest to be resuscitated is the one that President Obama waived the work requirement in welfare reform. It’s being used by Speaker Boehner as one of the things he’s suing the president for doing that he claims exceed his authority.
Steve Benen elucidates:
In the president’s first term, a bipartisan group of governors asked the Obama administration for some flexibility on the existing welfare law, transitioning beneficiaries from welfare to work. The White House agreed to give the states some leeway – so long as the work requirement wasn’t weakened.
That’s not “waiving the work requirements in welfare”; that’s the opposite. Providing governors, including several Republicans, the flexibility they requested to help move beneficiaries back into the workforce is exactly the sort of power-to-the-states policy that Boehner and his cohorts usually like.
But in 2012, the policy inspired Mitt Romney and GOP leaders to turn this into a rather shameless lie, accusing Obama of weakening welfare work requirements. The more fact-checkers went berserk, the more aggressive Romney became in pushing the lie. One can only speculate as to the rationale behind the ugly falsehood, though the Republican presidential campaign seemed quite eager at the time to use the words “Obama” and “welfare” in the same sentence, even after the GOP candidate and his team realized they were lying.
By the way, when he was the governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney signed a letter asking for the same waiver for his state. But that was between running the Olympics and running for president, so he can be forgiven for that brief moment of governance.
I knew Speaker Boehner could not come up with any real reason to sue the president, but I thought that at least he would come up with something slightly original. (Well, he can’t bring up the real reason, which is the GOP belief that no black man should ever have this much power unless he’s a center for the Miami Heat.) But he’s not even trying.
Then again, why should he work at it when he knows that an old lie will work on the rubes and the press just as well as something he plucked out of his ass that morning?