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The Times
  • Bob Tremblay: Why would the poor vote GOP?

  • Democrats like to portray Republicans as the party of, by and for the rich. If you buy into this portrayal, you may wonder why any poor person would ever vote for a Republican. Well, let us count the ways.

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  • Democrats like to portray Republicans as the party of, by and for the rich.
    If you buy into this portrayal, you may wonder why any poor person would ever vote for a Republican.
    Well, let us count the ways.
    You can bet your bottom dollar, and your shiny penny, that money serves as the driving force for a GOP vote. Less-than-well-to-do Republican supporters firmly believe a better economy under Republican leadership will benefit them. Republicans promise lower taxes, less government spending and fewer regulations. What’s not to love?
    Business will boom and everyone, including the poor, will prosper. A chicken in every pot. Proponents praise this “trickle-down” theory. Opponents scoff at it, thinking a more appropriate name would be the “tinkle-down” theory.
    No matter what your political persuasion, it would be safe to say the poor did not prosper under President George W. Bush, a Republican. Are they faring any better under President Barack Obama, a Democrat? Unemployment that shot up during the recession under Bush remains high under Obama. Critics of the current president will say Obama may not have caused the recession, but he hasn’t done enough to relieve the economic misery. In fact, he has contributed to it, they say, with his spend first and ask questions later approach to government.
    It’s no secret that Republicans like to portray Democrats as tax-and-spendthrifts. You would think the poor would gravitate toward this approach as it appears to benefit them. And many certainly do. Entitlement programs, such as welfare and affirmative action, appear to give the poor a safety net and the opportunity to better themselves.
    Critics, however, say these programs do more harm than good to the poor, in particular, and the country, in general. What motivation is there to work or better yourself if the government is going to serve as your meal ticket? Or give you an advantage in the workplace?
    Rather than contributing to society, the poor become a burden to society as well as a drain on the economy. You can add the elderly to this category as entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare have become budget-busters. And the elderly poor? Double jeopardy.
    Much better to rein in this government spending and apply a little Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest attitude. Take responsibility for your actions, pull yourself up from the bootstraps. But what if you don’t have any bootstraps to pull up?
    It’s all a matter of perspective, is it not? What one person calls humanitarian another calls mollycoddling.
    The poor have plenty of other reasons for voting Republican. For example, if they’re opposed to women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights and any other rights they believe infringe on their perceived rights, they’ll pull the lever for the Republican.
    Page 2 of 2 - Likewise, the poor who don’t cotton to gun control, evolution, environmental protection, global warming and separation of church of state aren’t going to pin their vote on the donkey.
    And don’t even think about mentioning national health care, aka "Obamacare." It’s socialism, communism and demonism rolled into one. That it could benefit the poor is lost in the rhetoric.
    For an added bonus, there’s the subject of illegal immigrants, aka undocumented aliens. What to do with 10 million or so non-citizens? The poor who could see them as an economic threat might want to see them exit the country posthaste. That many poor refuse to take the jobs these people take apparently doesn’t matter. These people just have to go. Somewhere! Somehow! Now! What part of “illegal” don’t you understand?
    That the poor might support a presidential candidate who promises to take the same approach to government as Bush might be cause for concern. But Mitt Romney supporters will be quick to point out that he’ll simply manage this approach better than Bush, and he’ll certainly manage the country better than Obama.
    So who do you trust? In a country so polarized between right and left, where the words “government,” “moderate” and “compromise” have become blasphemous, the poor face an uncomfortable choice. Do they drink the tea party’s tea and vote Republican? But if Romney fails as spectacularly as Bush, will they keep voting Republican? What happens when the bottom line finally hits rock bottom? Hey, they can always find a scapegoat. Unions, Muslims, the mainstream media, the bogeyman.
    Bob Tremblay is a MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News staff writer. He can be reached at rtremblay@wickedlocal.com.
     
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