Pretty soon breathing will be “welfare”

26 Jul 2013 10:28 am
Posted by: Donna

My last post was about Governor Brewer’s “Letter to Fellow Republicans” and the response it got from an outfit called United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives, which claims to be formed of Arizona Republican precinct committeemen in opposition to the Medicaid expansion. Here’s the entire response. Emphasis mine.

Brewer and the Rogue Republicans versus Reagan and the PC’s.

Recently Governor Jan Brewer sent an email to “Fellow Republicans”. The drumbeat is old. She takes credit for every piece of legislation the conservative super-majority had to drag her kicking and screaming to sign. She continues a litany of the same old tiring message blatantly treating the precinct committeemen like uninformed, low information voters. Bolding words and underlining and underlining and underlining she once again goes on a tirade of how she only wants to help ensure that crony-capitalism rules the day in Arizona completely ignoring the fact that Obamacare in no way fits in the Republican Party platform. Invoking the words of Ronald Reagan she ignores his conservative message along with the message in the resolutions that every legislative district in Arizona, but one, passed.

Glaringly absent in the Governor’s repertoire is SB1070. SB1070 is the landmark legislation of Arizona that encompasses our true individualistic spirit and the Governor does not mention it once. State sovereignty exists in the fiber of every Principled Conservative but is lacking in the Governor. She has the audacity to claim that the super majority win in 2010 was due to her one cent sales tax increase, Prop 100, instead of the tireless work of the PC’s fueled by the energy of SB1070!

The Governor rants for 453 words attempting to justify why she had to shove Obamacare down our throats, completely ignoring Ronald Reagan’s simple statement, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

The PC’s question if she read the resolutions where they state, “Supporting the big government takeover of our health care system, even for a short term gift of federal funds, does NOT reflect the values of the Republican Party or the interests of the taxpayers of Arizona.”

She cannot win on the issues so she tries to bedazzle with facts and gloomy predictions of sickness and death when we believe in the Ronald Reagan idea that, “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

She predicts State ruin and attempts to bedazzle with facts throwing around “millions” and “billions” and attempts to differentiate between State and Federal taxes when all the Principled Republicans are asking is what happened to the Ronald Reagan idea, “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”

The GOP PC’s understand this and included it in their resolutions, “The long term and evolving costs of the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion will surely bankrupt Arizona just as surely as Obamacare will bankrupt the USA.”

She then proves that she has not lost her mastery of deceit by stating the fact that “Arizona’s Medicaid program is NOT Obamacare” when she knows full well that she is implementing the Federal Medicaid Expansion, aka Obrewercare and it IS Obamacare. Does she expect us to forget the emails, letters in the mail and herself in interviews telling us we have to accept “Obamacare as the law of the land?” We made it clear we understood this to be an untruth and we said, “The US Supreme Court explicitly ruled that each State is free to reject implementation of the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and Insurance Exchanges.”

The PCs reject Brewer’s socialized medicine because they embrace Reagan’s conservatism believing that “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

The PC’s could not have been clearer “We urge Governor Brewer, and all Republican legislators, to hold the line against enabling the socialist takeover of our health care system and insurance industry by rejecting the Medicaid expansion.”

When one reaches the end, one cannot help but wonder why this letter is addressed to Republicans when she has gone so far left that she is proving Ronald Reagan correct when he said, “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

So now she demands we “move on” and attempts to lay guilt on the heads of the PC’s she has tramped all over. Her arrogance would astonish if we had not recently witnessed her suspending the rules and rolling our conservative leaders. Governor Brewer, the 20% carries more weight if it entails throwing someone under the bus.

Let us not forget the ending of the Pima GOP resolution:

“Governor Brewer is correct that “elections have consequences”. She is wrong in believing that it means that we must roll over and forsake our core values as the Arizona Republican Party whenever Republicans lose a national race.”

“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
John Parker, Battle of Lexington, 1775.

Governor Brewer – you fired the first shot. The PC’s pleas to not fire fell on deaf ears. It is indeed time for you and your band of rogue republicans to “move on”.

Boy, that Ronald Reagan sure was pithy, wasn’t he? And of the main reasons he maintains number one conservative icon status years after his death is that he brought right wingers the beautiful gift of the Welfare Queen. The myth originated in 1976 in the New Hampshire GOP primary, when Reagan claimed a woman in Chicago who had “80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and is collecting veterans benefits on four nonexisting husbands.” “and she’s collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax free cash income alone is over $150,000”. The Welfare Queen was the perfect repository for the racial animus and economic insecurity of white voters. Reagan’s wild account of the crafty and profligate welfare grifter from Chicago didn’t quite pan out when reporters looked into the facts of the case but that didn’t stop Reagan from going around the state whipping those primary voters into a raging fury over it and the GOP has never looked back.

That NYT/Washington Star from 1976 I linked makes it clear that Ronald Reagan had been deeply hostile to social safety net programs for a long time. Democrats today like to tell a fantasy story that he wouldn’t be acceptably conservative in today’s Republican Party but that’s hogwash. Reagan had to work with Democrats and appeal to mainstream America when he was in power, but if he were reanimated as fresh-faced Congressman Ronnie Reagan (R) from some district in the Midwest in 2013, he’d fit in easily with Paul Ryan’s crowd without having to change a speck of his original rhetoric.

At least I can say that 30 years ago – as I recall being a young person growing up in the Beltway area when the Reagan administration was on the warpath against “welfare”, as well as dumping people out of mental institutions and into homelessness on the streets of DC – you actually had to be on the dole, as in not working for pay, to be derisively deemed “on welfare”. Lots of households back then, as today, got things like food stamps, housing assistance, health care, free school lunches, etc., including my own family when we were going through a bad time. But if one or both parents in your family had a job then your family was, by definition, not “on welfare”. At that time the Earned Income Tax Credit was touted by many prominent conservatives as a way to encourage low income people to stay in the job market.

In other words, holding down a job used to mean something. Something has happened to that idea among conservatives in the past couple years that is truly warped. It came to the fore in the 2012 election when Candidate Gingrich called President Obama the “Food Stamp President” and suggested poor black kids should work as janitors. Then the tape of Candidate Romney spouting off about the “47%” emerged. Then there was my encounter with the guy at the backyard party.

After I facepalmed, I tried to explain to him that a lot of households getting foodstamps are headed by low wage workers, who toil at places like the mail-order warehouses described above or Walmart or McDonalds. This seemed not to phase him at all. He went on to describe his grand plan to rescue the US economy, which was this: A five year lifetime limit on all public assistance. The problem, he explained, was that food stamps and Medicaid were sapping the resolve of low-skilled workers to better themselves. The knowledge that the gubmint gravy train would come to an abrupt halt would inspire fast food workers to enroll in community college or trade school to train for better jobs. I asked him how that would work for people with kids who can barely afford childcare let alone college classes and more childcare while they’re in class. What if the person suffered a major illness or injury? Also, what if the person did get the training but no high-skilled job materialized? None of this mattered. He was on a roll. The five year limit would create – wait for it – bootstraps! Yes, he actually got so animated in discussing his great idea that he made the motion of pulling up imaginary bootstraps from his expensive leather shoes. I asked him if what he thought would happen to workers who had exceeded their five year limit, still worked at a low wage job, and still needed help with groceries and health care. He shrugged it off. “Oh well!” “So they can just go ahead and die, then?”, I asked. “Not my problem!”, he replied.

Like Backyard Party Guy, the Arizona Republicans opposing the Medicaid expansion (which for the most part will simply restore health coverage that low income residents had before recent state budget cuts) are expanding the definition of “welfare” to include any assistance going to someone, no matter how long that person stands on her feet working every day. No matter how many buses she has to take to get to that job. Even if she works more than one job. No matter who in her family depends on her meager paycheck. Providing her with health care puts her in the disdained, and ever-expanding, class of “welfare recipient”.

Yeah, pretty soon breathing by a poor person will be considered “welfare”.


  1. Comment by Mike Slater on July 26, 2013 3:20 pm

    I visited the local Republican Party headquarters the other day and signed the petition to put the Medicare expansion on the ballot. While I was there the topic of Jan Brewer came up and the majority of the people are not happy with her.

  2. Comment by dude on July 27, 2013 4:59 pm

    Thanks for reporting in Mike!

  3. Comment by Mike Slater on July 28, 2013 2:49 pm

    dude, my pleasure.

  4. Comment by Timmys Cat on July 29, 2013 3:08 pm

    When I went to the “grassroots” anti-Obamacare groups website the first that popped out was how slick it looked. Kinda suspicious. Then i couldn’t find any, any info on who they were and who was backing them. Smells to me like an astroturf group backed by out of state money. Get the usual local yokel yeehaws all stirred up about something they barely understand, call it Obama something and you’re good to go.
    Pretty soon you’ll have GOP tools coming out of the wood work saying this is bad for America for some reason but mostly ’cause the sheriffs a n-*clang*!

    My bet this is AFP money, which of course is Koch money. The signatore on the filing for the petition is a Christine Bauserman for URAPC. She also has a foundation Found. for Resp Acoountable Govt which sounds suspiciously like a group AFP ran down in FL for anti-Obamacare, Found for Govt Accountability.
    Same scenario, make the locals think they are fighting their own fight, while the money boys pull the puppet strings.

  5. Comment by Timmys Cat on July 31, 2013 3:22 pm

    The tough part – the glue that binds the extreme right wing paranoid to the Republican Party as a whole – is that the extreme right cannot exist without this paranoia, and the Republican Party cannot win in red districts without support of the extreme right. If the far right didn’t wear paranoid fanaticism as a badge of honor and identity it literally would not exist. The paranoia and fear mongering brought them together as a group, so if the cause were to dissipate, so too would the extreme right.


    If any person were as paranoid about anything other than politics as Tea Party Patriots are about the government, you’d find a unanimous vote by friends and colleagues to get that person psychological help. In politics, however, it’s condoned and even encouraged by those who are willing to make money off of instilling fear and soul-breaking paranoia into the masses of those who don’t know any better.

    bold I

  6. Comment by Mike Slater on July 31, 2013 6:03 pm

    Timmys Cat seems to think that he/she is some kind of expert on the Tea Party and the right wing of the Republican Party.

    The Tea Party is anti-liberal. See how easy that was.

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