Putting Politics Ahead of People

Rep. Curtis Halford - R
Dyer, TN
The man pictured here on the left is worried. I know he doesn’t look worried in the picture, but apparently, according to correspondence revealed late yesterday by Braisted he is wor-ried.

It seems that Rep. Halford is concerned because Democrats are outmaneuvering Republicans in talking about jobs. Truth be told, Republicans haven’t said one word about jobs since the fall except to say that its not their gig, so its odd that Halford is so worried about this. Maybe he’s concerned that his constituents will get confused.

So, as Braisted aptly notes:

…none of Halford’s letter shows one iota of concern for the people of Gibson and Carroll counties, which have UE rates of 15.5 and 17.2% respectively, that are out of work, rather, its entirely about the “perception” that Republicans aren’t doing enough to create jobs and grow our economy.

And that’s what Halford and his buddies are worried about…perception, not reality. I thank Rep. Halford for finally clearing that up for all of us. Republicans don’t want to be perceived as the party that couldn’t create a job if it tried.

But Republicans in general have never been all that good a creating jobs, despite the “perception politics” that they engage in. Below is a graph of unemployment rates since the end of WWII. You’ll note that every Republican Administration left with a higher unemployment rate than the preceding Democratic Administration.

via truthfulpolitics.com

But that’s not what you hear from Republicans. You hear about jobs, lowering taxes, eliminating the national debt and reducing the size of government, even though they’re not particularly good at any of these things. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this post for more detail.

So yeah, Republicans are all about perception politics, not actual, you know, performance, and that’s not just for the local yokels in Nashville. It’s happening in Washington too.

With the specter of a government shutdown looming, and the fallout that will, no doubt, follow such an event, Republicans are scrambling to avoid another 1995 style shutdown that put them on the losing side of the war. But their motivation is not that people might get hurt, they’re worried about saving their skins.

So far I haven’t heard one Republican talk about what will happen to our soldiers in the wake of a shutdown, who will only receive one weeks pay instead of two if it happens. Nor have they talked about tax refunds, which a great many working families depend on, that will be delayed in the wake of a shutdown. And there are many more programs that would suffer.

The SNAP program, previously known as the Food Stamp program would likely stop disbursing, causing the poorest of the poor to go hungry. TANF, Unemployment, and HUD vouchers could go away until the government starts back up, leaving even more poor people in the lurch. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this white paper from the National Association of State Budget Officers contemplating the impact of a government shutdown on states.

The there’s TennCare. On the very day that the father of TennCare lies in state, federal money for that program could dry up as a result of Republican “perception politics”, leaving hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans without medical coverage and damaging the already weakened financial situations of the state’s public health care providers.

So yeah, Republicans, and not just he ones in Nashville, have a problem. They have a reality problem…they’re disconnected from it.

In the mean time, they’ll be focusing on their perception problem, since perception politics is all they know.

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