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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Romney's Lies About Obama and Welfare: Explained

Amid all of the fact-checking and charges of lies (and responses) since last night, here is a more thoughtful piece, at the NYT "Stone" site for opinion pieces by philosophers.  In this case, it's Jason Stanley, who has written three books and teaches at Rutgers.  It's a longish piece is go and read it all.  

For one thing, Stanley declares that there is no penalty for political lying these days because trust has eroded so much and people expect lies--therefore, Romney camp has nothing to lose, especially as it pushes the "gutting welfare" meme to attract blue-collar white voters.

Here's the kicker:  Stanley believes the Romney camp knows that few in that target audience actually believe what he's saying about Obama removing the work requirement, but it doesn't matter:  Romney is communicating to them that he recognizes and feels sympathy for the view of many that blacks comprise most of the welfare recipients--and that most blacks would rather not work.  So they are getting "the message" even if the facts that accompany it are bogus--and they know it. 

 It seems likely that the architects of the ad campaign want to communicate to working class white voters the message that Romney shares their opposition to certain kinds of welfare programs, ones connected in their minds to African-Americans. Given public misperceptions about the connection between race, poverty and willingness to work, and given the race of the president, it also suggests that it is the president who is out of touch with this constituency. Much of this message would be awkward to communicate by means of speech acts governed by a norm of truth: in other words, they would be embarrassing to say.
This same approach can apply to other memes in the GOP arsenal, as well, as we will likely see....

1 comment:

Edna Hansen said...

He has made reference to blacks indirectly but one only has look within LDS church to find his Morman buddy Warren Jeffs who used bigamist wives to collect welfare payments that funded whole communities and made him rich. And he isn't the only one who was doing this. there are others that have yet to be named. It they're dirty little secret.