Before he knew what former President Clinton would say before the thousands of people in attendance at the Democratic National Convention and the millions watching at home on Wednesday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney thought it would be a great idea to revisit a lie involving Clinton the day prior.
In an interview with Fox News' Carl Cameron, the Bain Capital co-founder and fallacy fan said: "Well, I'm not sure exactly what President Clinton will say, but there's no question that President Obama's decision to say that we're going to allow waivers or excuses from work requirements in welfare was designed to shore up part of his base that may not be inclined to go out and vote in the same kind of energy and passion as they did four years ago.”
The lie continued: "And, I think putting a measure that would take work out of welfare and waiving the work requirement in welfare is an extraordinary political move on his part, and one which I disagree with. My own view is that we should have greater work requirements with welfare, not less."
There it is in perfectly plain sight. Mitt Romney wants the White working class voters who continue to view him cynically to embrace him under the shared belief that he doesn’t want those lazy, shifty Negroes to get free taxpayer money without having to work.
His remarks aren’t a “dog whistle.” This is a desperate man shouting a perspective rooted in the lowest common denominator with the hope that it will help make up for his own ineptness as a politician.
Of course, it’s been proven again and again that White people benefit more so from welfare than Blacks. Likewise, nearly every major media outlet has called out Mitt Romney on not telling the truth about President Obama removing the work requirement to welfare reform. Some have called it truth-bending, others have gone with misleading while a few others have pushed their creative buttons to state what ought to be said simplistically: Mitt Romney is lying.
Fortunately, Clinton, who had already deemed Romney’s accusation “especially disappointing” earlier in the summer, gave a detailed explanation as to what our current commander-in-chief actually did.
Clinton explained: “Here’s what happened. When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened, because we all know it’s hard for even people with good work histories to get jobs today, so moving folks from welfare to work is a real challenge. And the administration agreed to give waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment.”
He concluded, “Now, did -- did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less.”
If only Mitt Romney would read the meme.
I wish we could have a more substantive conversation on welfare reform, e.g. how it may have hurt poor, single mothers, but I suppose that’s a hard feat to achieve given our current climate – especially if one political figure wants to theme the chatter around racial stereotypes and falsehoods.
The people caught in that safety net are suffering enough as is. The last thing they need is some pampered, spoiled, privileged presidential hopeful try to vilify them in his pursuit of power.
If nothing else, though, at least the country heard an educated though plainly stated case as to why Mitt Romney is lying about Obama’s position on welfare. Clinton didn’t even have to lower himself to Mittens’ level to expose the ugliness. Telling the truth did that for him.