Although somewhat drowned out by the noise from the entire world laughing at Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, The Huffington Post‘s release of another bombshell political tape merits some attention. During a little-seen 2011 speech, Republican vice-presidential contender Paul Ryan delivered his own bookend to Mitt Romney‘s devastating 47% hidden camera tape, writing off 30% of Americans who don’t want “the American Dream™,” but rather, “the welfare state.”
Even when they’re insulting the American people, Romney and Ryan can’t get their math to add up, but there’s a fascinating familiarity to Ryan’s number.
There are other key differences, of course. Paul Ryan made his remarks right out in the open, at a November 2011 American Spectator event, the video of which was posted immediately, but even now, has only been viewed 1,600 times. While Ryan also decried the awful number of moochers suckling off the teats of the rich (up to 70%), he at least acknowledged that some, not all, of them were suckling through no fault of their own:
“Today, 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the federal government in dollar value than they pay back in taxes,” Ryan said. “So you could argue that we’re already past that [moral] tipping point. The good news is survey after survey, poll after poll, still shows that we are a center-right 70-30 country. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want their welfare state. What that tells us is at least half of those people who are currently in that category are there not of their wish or their will.”
Ryan doesn’t explain where he gets his numbers from, and a Google search for “Poll 30% oppose American Dream” only turned up a poll that shows 60% of Americans already think they’re living the American Dream…in Obama’s America. As for the “welfare state,” poll after poll shows things like 67% of Americans supporting the expansion of Medicaid, 75% support for doubling the value of food stamps at farmer’s markets, 77% opposition to cutting food stamps, 62% support for extending unemployment benefits, and 58% opposition to repealing the dreaded Obamacare. These are all things that Paul Ryan considers part of the “welfare state,” and Americans overwhelmingly want them. Part of the American Dream™, you see, is knowing that there’s at least some buffer between you and an American nightmare.
So who, then, are these 30% of people that Ryan is singling out? Why does that 30% figure sound so familiar? This is probably just a huge coinky-dink, but according to the 2010 census, 16% of Americans are Hispanic, and 13% are black, which equals 29%. That leaves 1% wiggle room for people who are trying to “pass.”
There’s the magic in the Romney/Ryan racial resentment strategy; even though Americans overwhelmingly support social welfare programs, many of them do so with a heavy dose of resentment at those who benefit from them, at least when you call it “welfare.” Guess how many Americans think that the biggest problem with welfare is that too many undeserving people are receiving assistance. There’s that number again. This is why Romney and Ryan have continued to press their false welfare attack on President Obama, because they need to extract almost all of their support from that 70% of the population that Paul Ryan deems valuable. Whether you think he’s talking about black and Hispanic people or not, they are hearing him loud and clear.
Here’s the video, from The Huffington Post:
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