Lindsey Graham: "Most People on Public Assistance Don’t Have a Character Flaw."

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 19 2012 10:14 AM

Lindsey Graham: "Most People on Public Assistance Don’t Have a Character Flaw."

Now that they don't have to apologize for him anymore, Republicans have mercilessly abandoned Mitt Romney, treating his "gifts" comment like red kryponite. Most of their denunciations have actually been pretty wan; Alex Pareene's been almost alone in pointing that out. But Sen. Lindsey Graham's comments on Meet the Press were something else -- an actual critique of popular intra-Republican positions.

The Hispanic community, 71 percent voted for President Obama, and they’re all disappointed in President Obama. There’s high unemployment among the Hispanic community. President Obama did not embrace comprehensive immigration reform like he promised. But they voted for him because he’s a lesser of two evils.
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Up to that last line, that's exactly what Romney had been saying.

Self deportation being pushed by Mitt Romney hurt our chances. We’re in a death spiral with Hispanic voters because of rhetoric around immigration. And candidate Romney and the primary dug the hole deeper.

That's not what Republicans are supposed to say! They're supposed to argue that Hispanics will naturally come to the Republican Party once they have social issues explained to them.

You know, people can be on public assistance and scheme the system. That’s real. And these programs are teetering on bankruptcy. But most people on public assistance don’t have a character flaw. They just have a tough life. I want to create more jobs and the focus should be on how to create more jobs, not demonize those who find themselves in hard times.

That's actually a clean break from the maker/taker rhetoric that had powered the rise of the Tea Party, up to its apogee -- the nomination of Paul Ryan for VP.

Graham-criticizes-Republicans is not even a dog-bites-man story. It's a dog-eats-dog-food story. It happens constantly. This puts the lie to so many other "denunciations" of Romney.

All that said, could you use the same Graham quote to justify a big cutback on welfare spending? Oh, yes, you could.

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