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Tilting at Windmills

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June 24, 2010

REPUBLICANS JUST DON'T LIKE THE UNEMPLOYED, CONT'D.... The evidence continues to pile up to suggest Republican lawmakers and candidates actively dislike -- on a personal level -- those who've lost their jobs in the recession.

Take Sharron Angle, the extremist Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, for example. Nevada recently passed Michigan as the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country, so it stands to reason that candidates in the state would be sympathetic to the plight of the jobless.

But Angle doesn't quite see it that way. This video, put together by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) campaign, highlights the Republican candidate's perspective on the unemployed, whom she describes as "spoiled." Angle added in a separate public appearance, "As your U.S. Senator, I'm not in the business of creating jobs."

This fits into a larger pattern for the party. One GOP congressman recently compared the unemployed to "hobos." In the House, GOP lawmakers tried to eliminate a successful jobs program. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) actually started pushing a measure to require the unemployed to take mandatory drug tests in exchange for benefits. Kentucky's Rand Paul wants the jobless to quit their bellyaching and "get back to work."

And this week, a unanimous Republican Senate caucus will apparently kill a tax-extenders bill that will, in turn, cut off unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of struggling Americans, and cut off state aid that will lead to hundreds of thousands of additional layoffs.

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?

Steve Benen 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?"

Voted Democrat.

This has been another edition of Easy Answers to Simple Questions. Thanks for playing!

Posted by: karen marie on June 24, 2010 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of racial resentment is going on here.

But it is a mistake to personalize this, Steve. The Republicans are pursuing a deliberate political strategy -- undercut the recovery and weaken both the Congressional Dems and Obama for 2012. So far it is working well -- and it will keep right on working until all Dems go 24/7 yelling about how the Republicans are obstructing national economic recovery. That is how it has to be framed, not in terms of "compassion," which is wimpy language that will not work.

Posted by: Theda Skocpol on June 24, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?"...

the non-white ones voted democrat....


Posted by: dj spellchecka on June 24, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

ps..the unemployed aren't reliable campaign contributors, either

Posted by: dj spellchecka on June 24, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

You know, I take exception to folks like Angle calling unemployment compensation an "entitlement." It's insurance. Every employee, and employer deducts money from paychecks , and that counts towards an individual's eligibility. If you lose your job, and you are eligible, you draw down weekly compensation.

I am a white, middle class male in my mid-50's who had occasion a few times to file for unemployment compensation. I'm glad I had it, my family's glad. "Entitlement?" Hell, no. I paid into that for years and years. What I didn't draw down personally went to some other unfortunate soul who had need of something to tide him or her over.

Also, by no means did a weekly unemployment check come anywhere near what I earned in my chosen field, despite what Angle says.

Such rhetoric, and such mindsets, burn me up. That there are enough morons out there in this country who elect people to ANY elected position in ANY polity makes me even crazier.

Posted by: kevmor on June 24, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Why YES...she is not in the position to 'create jobs' but very much in the position to 'off-shore' jobs. We PAY for unemployment INSURANCE. You would think the GOP would be in favor of THAT but I guess it's only insurance that the private companies (and donors) run...

Posted by: SYSPROG on June 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

and my cousin "on disability" will keep voting for them as long as Rush and Jesus tell him to...

Posted by: andyvillager on June 24, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

These people need to be homeless.

Posted by: Trollop on June 24, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Talk to the invisible hand

Posted by: John Henry on June 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

They are doing all of this on purpose. They want this present administration to fail so they can get back in power. Power is what they want. If families are ruined in the process so what. Faceless, nameless humans will suffer but it's worth it to them. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on June 24, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK
What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?

There weren't born to rich white parents who can make sure they never have to actually work for anything in their lives, so they're pissed off that some of their tax dollars are going to those Not Like Them.

It really is that simple. I mean, I know it sounds harsh, but that's really all there is to it.

Posted by: Mark D on June 24, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Is she a plant from the Democratic Party? They couldn't have asked for better!

Posted by: SaintZak on June 24, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?

Become unemployed. There's something wrong with you if you don't have a job, for whatever reason...Lack of wealth is a moral failing, and only parasites take handouts.

Ugly, selfish thoughts.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

It's this sort of thing that really makes me wonder if we should make politicians take mandatory drug tests.

As for the reason they do this, it's simple: Their ideology doesn't allow them to have solutions to any of our problems, because any solution they have must, by definition, be a government solution, and their ideology dictates that the government can't solve anything.

This isn't a strategy on their part, and they're too dumb to realize why their ideology hates government. All the savvy Republicans who developed these talking points are gone and they're left with the koolaid drinkers who don't realize they're repeating falsehoods.

They're like used car salesmen who really believed their bosses when they were told how great the cars were and don't understand why they all fall apart before they leave the lot.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on June 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?"

Vote for them and shine their shoes...

Posted by: Michael on June 24, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Re federal unemployment tax: it's the company that pays, no money comes out of a person's paycheck.

Re the states: I'm not sure how other states operate, but in mine, the employer, not the employee, pays unemployment taxes. It's true that while a person is employed the employer pays based on that person's wages, so I suppose one could conclude, following a certain thought train, that they had "paid into the system". One could also conclude that had the company not been paying unemployment taxes that one's wages would be higher (though the amount is not even in the same ballpark as the rising cost of health insurance). But it didn't come out of your paycheck, at least in my state.

That said, the Rs don't care about middle class or poor Americans. Period.

Posted by: Oregonian on June 24, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

"What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?"

The unemployed didn't do anything specific to offend the Republican party. They just happen to be a category of people who need help. The government could help them--that is, we the people could help them--but to pay for programs to help people, the government might need to raise taxes, and the Republicans hate taxes more than anything. They hate the government because the government could raise their taxes, and they hate anyone and anything that the government might have a good reason to help.

At some point, the GOP developed contempt for what were once considered virtues: compassion, kindness, and empathy. It is just amazing to me. Was it too many action films? Was it 24? Was it reading the Book of Revelations one time too many?

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 24, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

My bad -- should be "not vote for them and shine their shoes."

Posted by: Michael on June 24, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Reids wants 60 votes to prevent a filibuster. The 60 vote thing is all that gives the Browns any power. It's the reason I'm willing to trade Reid for, heaven help me, Angle.

Reid will not make his pet Blue Dogs stand out in the open and filibuster legislation Democratic voters clearly want. He is an impediment to progress and I think we can live without him quite nicely.

Angle will just make ugly noises, but won't be in a position to block Democratic initiatives.

Posted by: zak822 on June 24, 2010 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

With unemployment hovering near 10%, it would be nice to think that the GOP (or as I prefer to call them, the FIP) animosity toward the unemployed would automatically result in a 10-point swing toward Democrats on a generic congressional ballot.

But of course, that won't happen since I'm guessing the majority of the unemployed (like the majority of the country, sadly) don't really pay attention to politics and what a bunch of authoritarian shitheads most Republican leaders are. I will further guess that many of those who are politically aware have somehow convinced themselves that idiots like Hatch, Angle, Paul, etc. couldn't possibly be talking about them, and will vote Republican anyway.


Posted by: David Bailey on June 24, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

zak822, Angle is crazy. I don't want crazy in the Senate. Wimpy as his leadership has been, Reid is a far better choice for the people of Nevada. Truthfully I want us to come out of the fall with solid majorities in both the House and Senate. I don't think I can live through another trumped up impeachment.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 24, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

When I was a youngster reading was an unpaid parasitical hobby subsidised by homeowners property taxes , for me . For the most part this sloth went unnoticed by productive society , as they were so busy gathering nuts . This terrible unproductive habit would have gone unobserved except for the triumphalist poison that creeps into every successful embezzling con , just another page , or just one more page .
I was caught , like every other wise guy who knows they are smarter than the Sunday crowds . The humiliation was excruciating . My mother , who I thought was unaware , spied my indulgence in this unproductive parasitical habit . My confidence was out of control and I was reading , IN PUBLIC , in broad daylight . Needless to say my mother tried to lessen the sting of scorn lashing my soft round shoulders by claiming it was out if concern for my health . That was just her way , everybody knows there is nothing safer than teenagers reading on a bicycle in traffic .

I have since seen the light . As a productive RePBulican , I think I can say without fear of contradiction , that gathering nuts in Nevada is very productive .

Posted by: FRP on June 24, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I've never understood the Republican logic.
They HATE government, yet they want to run it, so that they can end it.
If I hated buses, should I want to drive them, so that I can run them into ditches?

Ah, but busdrivers who drive buses into ditches don't get a lot of power and money, and politicians who try to end government do.

But, where's the logical conclusion? I mean, when you eliminate goverment, what company is going to hire you to be a lobbyist? There'll be no one to lobby. My question is, so who's going to be the last Republican left to turn out that light?
No big paying job for you, loser. And, no unemployment insurance either.
Pity, that...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK
What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much

Believe that hard work would make them so rich
they should lower the Billionaire tax rate
and eliminate the "death tax" cuz they don't want the gummint reaching into pockets & treading on
my medicare, therefore
I'm an Amerikan Dream cum true,,,
some day

Posted by: cwolf on June 24, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?

-many before me have copied and pasted this set-up line from Steve, but I can't resist:

The unemployed seldom make campaign contributions, making them in the eyes of Republicans, worthless. (worthless= Worth Less. . .)

Posted by: DAY on June 24, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?

Nothing! The GOP loves the unemployed, and wants them to remain abundant, so that there'll always be a greater supply of labor than there is demand for it.

The GOP wants the cost of labor to be as low as possible. End of story.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on June 24, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ask Kyl and the other unemployed hatred... WHERE THE FUCK are they going to get money to EAT when unemployment insurance runs out? In the long run they can go on welfare, medicade and food stamps.

In the short run, a lot of them are screwed.

Ask a republican where they will get food? They don't know...

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on June 24, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Me? I'd rob me some mansions of the rich for food. And for cash, I'd carjack Hummers, Jaguars, BMW's and Benz's for the wallets of the occupants. Hey, hey, I still got my 2nd Amendment Rights, right!
The Democrats need to include UI in an anti-crime bill. Maybe then the Republicans will understand that if poor can't eat, they'll think about eating the fucking rich.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"I've never understood the Republican logic.
They HATE government, yet they want to run it, so that they can end it.
If I hated buses, should I want to drive them, so that I can run them into ditches?"

Add to that, they HATE government, but for years, many of them have received/are receiving substantial government subsidies. In addition, I don't recall any GOP lawmakers renouncing their government salaries, benefits and perks.

Today's Republican Party is a disgrace.

Posted by: June on June 24, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Unemployed prove the GOP wrong on everything when it comes to domestic policy. That's pretty much it. The unemployed are a constant rebuke to everything the GOP stands for. The GOP is, after all, largely responsible for our current unemployment rate, by deregulating financial markets so completely that those markets nearly destroyed our modern system of finance.

So, the unemployed are a frank accusation of incompetence--if not outright criminality--that makes the GOP uncomfortable. As it should.

Posted by: LL on June 24, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody want to explain to this asshat that unemployment is not an entitlement, it is insurance. The fact that the premiums are paid by the employer and not by the employee is irrelevant. My employer pays the majority of my health insurance premiums - does that make me a parasite for bringing my kids to the doctor when they are sick? Does it make the beneficiary of a life insurance policy a parasite when they receive a death benefit? How about the person struck by a car? When the insurance (paid for by the driver) not the victim, pays a settlement, does that make the accident victim a leech?

No, it's about honoring contractual obligations - something Republicans are very big on as long as you're a private individual and not a corporate contributor to their election campaign!

Posted by: Chesire11 on June 24, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of months ago, it felt like the GOP had effectively moved the nation to the right by focusing on opposing healthcare and debt and fear of immigrants. Now it seems that they are pushing really extremist and corporate policies that really don't have any chance with the majority of Americans. In the past few weeks, it seems that they have really moved over to crazy - and Angle, Barton, and the guy who wanted to mine the border - run the risk of ruining their party.

Posted by: jomo on June 24, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

What did the unemployed ever do to offend the Republican Party this much?

There are no unemployed.

The Market always allocates resources perfectly, so that if there aren't people working, they must want to be not working.


Movement conservatism is a religion, and you can't refute a religion with facts.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 24, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, I know Angle's crazy. That does not seem to be a barrier anymore.

I understand your point about not wanting crazy in the Senate, but it's too late for that now.

And Reid, with his 60 vote fetish, is a serious choke point for any meaningful initiatives. He's got to go in anything useful is going to happen, and if the people of Nevada choose to vote Loon, it works for me.

Reid losing may send a useful message to his replacement. I doubt it, given the egos of these people, but it's a good starting point.

Posted by: zak822 on June 24, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

1. Sympathy by itself is a poor basis for policy. The policy question is whether the policy works, not whether its opponents are sympathetic to the people the policy is supposed to work for.

2. Payments to the unemployed can postpone the economic recovery and lead to permanently higher unemployment, as has happened in the EU.

Feeling superior to your political opponents because you deem yourself to have more sympathy than they do is another form of insufferable arrogance -- "the proud man's contumely."

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on June 24, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

KurtRex1453 wrote:
Ask a republican where they will get food? They don't know...

Well, duh, they'll just eat some of the chickens that they were saving to pay for health care. No problemo.

Mandatory drug tests for the unemployed who want to collect benefits would have one good point: it would produce jobs in the drug testing field. But where would the money for that come from?

Posted by: josef on June 24, 2010 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's time for the seriously unemployed to put together Resume/Job Search History packets and mail them to the Minority Leader McConnell's office.

The packet should include updated resume, last income, copies of retirement/savings account statements showing depletion, and an inventory of the submitted application/interview dates.

Even if they received several million packets, I doubt Republicans would be moved to support any jobs bills (might help Obama, don't want to do that!), however, such a spectacle might draw media attention, and some voters might focus on which party put the brakes on a recovery.

Posted by: bcinaz on June 24, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP has no problem with unlimited funding for wars, tax breaks for large corporations, chumming up to BP.

But help needy victims, such as the ones in the Gulf who lost their jobs from the oil spill?

Nah, we don't have the money. Un-friggin-real.

Posted by: John in St. Louis on June 27, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Abusive people hate anyone who is vulnerable and they always jump to blame the victim. That's a strategy designed to deflect attention from the real perpetrator. The American public is the victim of financial and politicial corruption and cronyism, all of which are very abusive. The Republicans blame the victim to preserve their power position and shift attention from their policies that are designed to move wealth from the many to the few. And in another vein, the myth of rugged individualism in this nation is a fallacy - each of us is part of a system, and it's failing the majority of us. Blaming an unemployed individual who is genuinely trying to find work for his inability to do so when the overall terrible state of the economy is outside of his control is just wrong.

Posted by: Fleurdamour on June 29, 2010 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

I feel sorry for the good people of Nevada, having to choose between the wimp Reid and the loon Angle. I just lost all respect for Harry Reid for caving into the Senate Republicans for helping them to block the president's ability to make recess appointment. GW did it with impunity while he was president. Even if the Democrats still emerge as the majority in the Senate, I hope this jellyfish will not still be the Speaker of the Senate.

Posted by: Anne on October 1, 2010 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK
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