That this fight on food stamps is happening in parallel with a fight among conservative states on Medicaid should not be seen as an anomaly. Ed Kilgore points out that the resistance to expanding Medicaid cannot be explained by charts and graphs, something wonks on the left have yet to figure out:
But more importantly, we have to remember that this is an ideological and even a moral issue to conservatives, who view dependence on any form of public assistance as eroding the “moral fiber” of the poor (as Paul Ryan likes to put it), and as corrupting the country through empowerment of big government as a redistributor of wealth from virtuous taxpayers to parasites who will perpetually vote themselves more of other people’s money. This line of “reasoning,” of course, would justify the abolition of Medicaid, not just a failure to expand it, but conservatives are careful (and smart) to disguise that ultimate goal and simply suggest we have reached some sort of welfare-state tipping point beyond which we become Greece.And this is the exact motivation for scaling back the food stamp program. You see it when Newt Gingrich calls Barack Obama “the food stamp President,” or when Allen West says that a nation of slaves is being created. Republicans really believe, or want to believe, that spending money on a safety net for the poor generates a dependency on government, which stifles entrepreneurship and creativity and leads to this parasitical relationship. I would go with “want to believe,” since this analysis allows them to argue without moral compunction for defunding the poor and saving the rich from having to pay.
The only way to fight this moral argument (perhaps morally twisted argument) is with a moral argument from the other side, showing the pain that will be created from locking the poor in a limbo state without health insurance, or unable to provide for their families without assistance. Unless Democrats call out the cruelty of leaving the poor without help or hope, that explains the responsibility we have toward one another, that argues for why we have to treat this community as we would our family and friends, they’re going to run into the brick wall of this carefully constructed conservative ideology.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006:
How many "30 second rebuttals" does Lieberman get for each question? Interesting how he always demands and gets the last word.
Why has Lieberman been so rude in the debate? Lamont has looked more nervous and less polished than the old pro Lieberman. But it's Lieberman who has been rudely interrupting Lamont's answers, going over his time allotment, and demanding the last word on each question.
Update: Digby writes:
I'm listening to the Lieberman-Lamont debate and if I were just tuning in with no knowledge of the players I would just assume that Lieberman was a conservative Republican, if not an actual member of the Bush administration. He's behaving like an arrogant, bullying thug.
No wonder the Republicans love him so much --- the only time he gets nasty is when he's debating a Democrat. When he debated Dick Cheney he practically gave him a blow job on national TV. But then, that makes sense. He and Dick Cheney both agree that Ned Lamont "and his supporters" are a threat to the nation.