DAVID ROSMAN: More cases of GOP foot-in-mouth disease

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:48 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I get it. I really do. On a national level, the Republican Party lost their proverbial shirt and pants in 2012. On a state level, it was a bit different. The GOP holds the majority in most state chambers and governors' offices. In Missouri, it is in control of all legislation with veto-proof Republican chambers.

Watching national and state GOP politics push to be more inclusive is fascinating. From RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, to House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to Missouri's own state and local leaders, it seems that everyone agrees; without the support of the "minority communities," the GOP will continue to falter.

The problem is that the GOP cannot control the strong-arm extremists, the "extreme right-wing right-wingers," embedded into its ranks and who now steer the party politic. The Republican Party might soon find itself renamed as the "The Titanic Party." Here I mean the RMS Titanic, not "colossal."

There is a multitude of GOP leaders who are not helping the party with their own Philippic rhetoric, now targeting America’s working poor. On the federal level, Tea Party favorite Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., "introduced (federal) legislation that would require states to randomly drug-test 20 percent of their welfare recipients."

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry wants to change the law requiring that all Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and unemployment recipients be tested for drugs. In a posting by the governor's office, "The governor noted that the purpose of TANF and (unemployment insurance) is to provide temporary assistance to individuals and families, not a permanent replacement for employment." It is a "wonderful" use of a slippery-slope argument.

Though the statement was made in November 2012, the YouTube video has resurfaced and is making the rounds in liberal and conservative chat rooms with equal fervor.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed a similar law for his state in 2012, after a U.S. District Court struck down Florida's version as being unconstitutional.

When the number of working poor is at an all-time high, when jobs are still scarce with the majority, and those in need come from our minority communities, Republican elected officials are not helping the situation. That includes Missouri.

Missouri Rep. Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi, and Rep. Steve Cookson, R-Poplar Bluff, are also targeting the working poor. They have their devoted followers; yet their current political positions — "the working poor need to get better jobs, so we’re cutting off benefits" — are not making it any easier for our minority and lower-income communities to welcome and join the elephant in the room.

On April 2, Cookson introduced HB1040, which "(s)pecifies that school age children of welfare recipients must attend public school at least 90 percent of the time to receive benefits."

Not to be outdone, Fitzwater stepped into the fray. The Riverfront Times reported that during an interview concerning the Affordable Care Act and some "525,000 Missourians to be eligible for healthcare premium tax credits" in January 2014, Fitzwater volunteered the following insight concerning the working poor receiving TANF aid.

"When you go to the zoo, there's a sign that says please don't feed the animals. There's a reason, because they (the animals) keep coming back." There are much better analogies that could have been used.

The Twitter responses Fitzwater garnered can be summed up simply, "Paul Fitzwater compares Missouri's working poor to 'zoo animals.'" The working poor are the very people the GOP needs to attract, not to vilify or call "non-human."

These are only a few examples of the national and state GOP allowing foot-in-mouth disease to run rampant through their ranks, insulting the very people they want to attract — the working poor. They do know the cure, but the RNC is afraid of taking the next step, cut out the disease and recover a bit more centrist.

As long as the GOP allows the "extreme right-wing right-wingers" and conservative special interest groups to direct the party's direction; as long as their leaders continue to ignore all signs of impending doom; and as long as their leaders continue to denigrate those they seek to attract, they will fail.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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Jim Jones April 10, 2013 | 11:14 a.m.

I have always thought that the thing that makes the Democratic Party so attractive to so many people is the GOP.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders April 10, 2013 | 11:32 a.m.

I have always thought that the thing that makes either party so attractive to so many people is their own inability to recognize they are being played for a fool.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 10, 2013 | 2:08 p.m.

I find it sad that someone who votes against their own economic self interest is stating that others are played the fool. Fascinating.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders April 10, 2013 | 5:26 p.m.

Umm... anyone who believes that their economic self-interest is represented by any political party understands neither.

Gang warfare is no way for a society to govern itself. All it does is to promote divide and conquer. (As evidenced so well on these politicized pages.)

Besides, they are wholly moot in regards to the real problem, the Not-Federal, Not-Reserve System, which conjures "money" from thin air then loans it to everyone else with interest (well, except for Uncle Sugar, but hey, there's ALWAYS trade-offs when criminality rules).

Just wait until the Cyprus rescue plan comes here. (The "Fed" and the Bank of England have already written it.) Here's a copy on the FDIC website.

Hope you don't have any money in any banks, because it WILL be converted to "equity." Too bad one cannot pay their bills with shares of a worthless bank, no?

BTW, the FDIC has about $25B in their "insurance" fund to cover over $9T in deposits.

So, please tell me about my economic self-interest again?

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders April 10, 2013 | 5:42 p.m.

I need to amend my first statement in my previous post, as there is an exception. There are indeed people whose economic self-interests are represented by political parties, politicians and anyone close enough to them to get a cut of the loot.

For everyone else though, it's nothing but a loss.

(Report Comment)

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