Saturday, February 4, 2012

Let Them Eat Safety Net

With his decidedly liberal past, I had hopes that Mitt Romney was just pandering to the right wing base as he flips his positions on every political ideal he has ever professed to believe in. He needs to win the GOP primary after all, so he can't appear to have any progressive tendencies. Since he was a liberal republican for so long, could not have been elected governor of Massachusetts under any other circumstances, I figured that must be where his real world view lies.

Unfortunately, it has become painfully obvious that, to Mitt, ideals are only a means to an end. His beliefs are ever malleable, necessarily syncing up with the beliefs of the voters he needs to win whatever office he is currently running for. This is a man who, outside of the fierce passion he has for his money, has no ideals that aren't negotiable. Throughout his adult life, his political ideals have changed with the political wind.

Further, Mitt has revealed himself, as the child of a wealthy man, as a guy who hasn't had to work for many years because of this great personal wealth, as utterly and completely oblivious to the travails the average American. His cavalier statements keep coming with clocklike regularity, his most recent that he isn't concerned about the poor. Apparently he thinks that a government "safety net" is so perfect and complete that being poor in America is nothing to worry about. It all works out you see. This was no slip of the tongue - this guy hasn't a clue as to what life is like in America during this terrible economic era.

Roland Martin is just as disturbed by Mitt's obliviousness as I am.

"(CNN) -- In the 1,257 GOP debates we have had to sit through, poverty and the poor have rarely come up, so it was no surprise that Mitt Romney would be dismissive of them in an interview this week with CNN's Soledad O'Brien.If Romney and his fellow Republican candidates haven't bothered to shed much attention on those issues (the same goes for the debate moderators), why should we think the richest guy in the field would really give a flip about them?

"I'm not concerned about the very poor," Romney said. "There's a safety net there, and if it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the heart of America, the 90%, 95% of Americans right now who are struggling. When given a chance by O'Brien to clarify the comment, he just doubled down. And later on his campaign plane, he screwed it up again."Wealthy people are doing fine," Romney said. "But my focus in the campaign is on middle-income people. Of course I'm concerned about all Americans -- poor, wealthy, middle class -- but the focus of my effort will be on middle-income families, who I think have been most hurt by the Obama economy."

Seriously, do the guy's dollar signs prevent his brain from understanding the real plight of the poor in this country? So, he's "concerned" about all Americans, including the poor, "but the focus" of his effort will be on the middle class. Why can't the focus be on those not rich?The fundamental problem with these candidates is that the poor in America are often ignored. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15.3% of Americans live in poverty with a salary of a little bit more than $22,000 for a family of four. Trust me, those families pulling in $30,000 wouldn't think for a second they were part of the nation's middle class.If Romney truly wants to be president, he sure as heck should not be dismissive of the nation's poor. In fact, he should be willing to listen to them, understand how hard many of them work and determine what policies he can advance that will help them graduate from poverty to the next level. Mitt, and all the candidates, should make discussions with the poor part of their agenda.

We can't treat the poor as if they are invisible and not worth our time and attention. Unfortunately, poor people don't have lobbyists and a lot of people really don't want to hear their stories. But they are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces. Are we that cold and callous to treat them with such disregard?"

Read more:     Romney's GPS Ignores the Poor     Roland Martin