Fear and Loathing of the Poor

While I am certain that the majority of people who identify themselves as Republican or conservative do not agree, Republicans with public platforms have been using them to trumpet their loathing of, and lack of empathy with, the less fortunate during this economic crisis.

I already mentioned conservative radio pundit Bill Cunningham and his brilliant statements which include: “The reason people are poor in America is not because they lack money, it’s because poor people in America lack values, character, and the ability to work hard.”

Now Womanist Musings and Feministe tipped me off to more of this conservative meme.

The following comments are reactions to the words of Henrietta Hughes, a homeless elderly black woman who pleaded with Obama for housing solutions when he visited her town of Fort Myers. Hughes currently lives in a car.

Michelle Malkin, Townhall commentator, had these words to say:

If she had more time, she probably would have remembered to ask Obama to fill up her gas tank, too.

… Woe unto ye unbelievers in Big Government who cling to what Obama derided as “ideological rigidity.”

Well, pardon my unbending belief in fairness and personal responsibility, but why should my tax dollars go to feed the housing entitlement beast?

…It’s sacrilegious to say it in the Age of Obama, but it needs to be said: Home ownership is not an entitlement. Credit is not a civil right. Your property-value preservation is not my problem.

But shelter from the elements should be a right! This is America. Jesus, it feels like that statement doesn’t have meaning anymore. Since when did it come in vogue to primly display your belief that the less fortunate should be thrown to the wolves so publicly? In ye good olde days, one at least had the tact to reserve such sentiments for the country club and yacht parties.

Anyway, Limbaugh couldn’t wait to get his hate on either:

All right, here’s the woman. It’s really sad. I mean, as an American, this is embarrassing, and it’s sad, but there’s a reason why — there’s a reason why this woman takes her one chance to talk to the president of the United States and ask and beg for a car and a kitchen.

…Do you hear the applause when the woman says she needed a car, a new vehicle, a new house? “Yeah.” And when Obama, “A lot of people like you.” “Yeah.” So we can sit here all day long and we can wax eloquent about how this guy comes off and how he’s just wandering aimlessly, incoherent, but these people watching him last night, listening today, they think he’s going to get them a job.

I bet this kind of punditry really resonates with the average American. As unemployment, foreclosures and poverty sky-rocket, I’m sure that Americans are comforted to hear these empathetic words emanating from their favorite pundits. Glad they all have their fingers on the pulse of Middle America.