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House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland March 15, 2013.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3F1C1
Rep. Paul Ryan, totally sincere GOP poverty crusader
"Republican public relations consultant" Joe Brettell takes to the op-ed pages of ABC News to investigate "The GOP's soul-searching on poverty," and if you're thinking "hmm, a Republican public relations consultant talking about a Republican public relations efforts ... sounds suspicious," you're not being unduly cynical.
Equally worth noting is the political cost of taking on such a delicate issue. House Republicans faced the full wrath of both interest groups and the media when trying to make even modest reforms to the food stamp program earlier this year, despite overwhelming evidence that it was fundamentally broken.
Ah, yes, "modest reforms" like slashing the program by $40 billion over 10 years and kicking millions of people out of the program. Despite overwhelming evidence that in crappy economies, more people need food stamps, and incredibly low fraud rates.
Regardless of the difficulty, it's becoming increasingly clear that helping the less fortunate may provide Republicans with an issue they can use to talk with voters traditionally outside their comfort zone. For a party facing increasing demographic challenges, a concerted effort to take on poverty seems like a natural fit for reaching out to a new audience.
Hmm ... "helping the less fortunate may provide Republicans with an issue they can use to talk with voters traditionally outside their comfort zone." Can we count that as an admission that Republicans are the party of the wealthy? Or does the subsequent reference to "increasing demographic challenges" put it into dog whistle territory? Either way, Brettell thinks it sure would be both brave and effective if Republicans like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio focused their attention on fighting poverty by reforming cutting food stamps and otherwise increasing the miseries of poverty.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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