The results from the New Hampshire Primary are rolling in: Mitt Romney comes in first place; Ron Paul in second place; Jon Huntsman in third place; Rick Santorum and Newt Gringrich were fighting it out for third and fourth place, last time I checked. Michelle Bachman bowed out after her poor showing in the Iowa Caucus. Rick Perry…who? But what was most interesting about the New Hampshire results was the lackluster showing of Rick Santorum and his sidekick Newt Gingrich who were fighting it out with each other for 4th place. Last week Newt Gingrich was saying black people need to lay off the welfare and Santorum was cosigning Newt’s message. Unfortunately for Gingrich and Santorum (but fortunate for the rest of the country who didn’t fall for their antics), the rest of the country saw their race-baiting for what it was: a transparent and weak attempt to win votes with the most conservative voters in America. Their ploy didn’t work because we are now in recession, we have experienced the looting of America by Wall Street, and the Occupy Wall Street protesters have shined a light on the reality of just how close many of the people in this nation are to poverty. Poverty is not just a black and white thing, so trying to play pin-the-welfare-tail-on-the-blog-people is not going to work. Not now.
The European Union and the Euro have been teetering on the edge of financial collapse. Spain and Portugal are weighted down by massive debt problems and unemployment. Spain has a 22.9 percent unemployment rate. It was just announced that the unemployment rate in the US is now 8.5%; compare America to parts of Europe and it becomes clear that Americans are sitting pretty in comparison to many Europeans.
1 in 2 Americans is poor or low-income. Record numbers of Americans are relying on food kitchens to eat. All across the US people–black, white, Hispanic–are using food stamps to keep food on the table. The face of poverty can be a brown face or a white face one–and the rest of America knows that.
I think Santorum and Gingrich now understand that beating the ‘get off welfare’ drum doesn’t work when many of the people you are talking to are either on welfare, or close to it.