Barack Obama: The Nation’s Finest Foodstamp President

January 24, 2012 § 3 Comments

About two weeks ago for the first time I met a Newt Gingrich supporter and he happened to be, to my surprise, a Black man. This was especially surprising and my response proved to be so.

“Whoa, I’ve never met a black man who supported newt Gingrich.”

Perhaps feelings on the ground don’t reflect the Black academia?

Gingrich has held steady with his applaud winning line that Obama is the “finest food stamp president” ever in America. Racial tensions has risen since but anyone who keeps up with Gingrich knows he has never been the one to bite his tongue or withhold a comment.

(Lynette Hollaway wrote an article in the the Roots challenging that claim and stated George H.W. Bush is the best food stamp president)

As far back as I remember, this kind of rhetoric started in the summer.

In the 1990’s Gingrich was Speaker of the House under Bill Clinton and led the welfare reform, passing the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. This prolific accomplishment translates into Gingrich’s passion, and near infatuation it seems, with government assistance.

On the eve of MLK day, debate panelist Juan Williams challenged Gingrich to support his claim and explain what he meant in regards to his comments on poor people and work ethic.

WILLIAMS: Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can’t you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?

GINGRICH: No. I don’t see that.

“Because you have the Democratic Party and Barack Obama,” said Santorum  joining in on the fun during the same debate, “and all he wants to do is make them more dependent, give them more food stamps, give them more Medicaid.”

After an excellent debate Friday night, Gingrich went on to win the South Carolina primary with almost 40% of the vote.

In his remarks, Gingrich held no punches and referenced the food stamps again.

“Let me make this clear…President Obama has been, historically, the most effective food stamp president in American history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history; and I want to go into every neighborhood, of every ethnic background in every part of the country and say to people very simply: ‘If you want your children to have a life of dependency and food stamps you have the candidate that’s Barack Obama. If you want your children to have a life of independency and paychecks you have candidate Newt Gingrich…”

Maybe his comments are not inspiring the Black vote but they are gaining much traction elsewhere. Perhaps he’s firing up another base of the GOP?

The White to Black ratio is 6:1.

According to the Census Bureau, historically, the Black to White unemployment has always been near double or double. One can come to any reason they wish but that is the facts. Nearly 30% of Black people live in poverty. Blacks make up 22% (Page 59, Table A.23) of food stamp/SNAP recipients compared to Whites who account for 22%.

Like the prison population, Blacks are disproportionally represented in the above statistics as well.

Given the deck Obama was handed, and the mess in the House (but a Democratic majority in 2008), maybe we should acknowledge the dire economy. America has never seen a recession this bad, how else can the President respond to his base? Maybe U.I. extension and SNAP is the liberal response to the bank bailouts under the last president.

Really the argument shouldn’t be whether or not Gingrich is a racist (which I don’t believe he is) or if he should apologize; the discussion in Urban America should be how the hell did we end up here. How did we get left behind?

Racism? Conservativism? Liberalism? Lack of accountability? Education?

Blacks have always been the face of food stamps, seen as lazy brutes.

At a speech given to the NAACP, Gingrich said he would “go to their [NAACP] convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

I will not have a heart attack or cry racism for that avenue has been taken aplenty. What I would like to see is Gingrich campaign through the urban community on a “foodstamp or paycheck” platform. How will Black people react to this?

At the end of the day, we are much better than the statistics. The Black race in America has an ugly history of trials, setbacks, and false promises, but the opportunities we bare now are more than enough! There is no excuse for our situation.

Some people apparently like his rhetoric.

Many polls show Gingrich in a wide lead of over 10 points in the upcoming Florida primary. Who knows, maybe the theme will switch from class warfare to race based politics.

I invite you to join the conversation and subscribe to Minds Alike, follow me @BAdetiba, or e-mail me at realmindstalk@gmail.com

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§ 3 Responses to Barack Obama: The Nation’s Finest Foodstamp President

  • Ayo says:

    Social Welfare spending in the US has been steadily increasing for over twenty years now (http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/social-welfare-spending04/summary.htm). The fact of the matter is that George Bush increased welfare spending to record amounts so did Bill Clinton, H.W., and so on.
    So the question to ask is: How much of the increase we saw under President Obama was due to an observed trend, and how much was due to the economic downturn we experienced at the end of the Bush era?

    • Mr. Bab says:

      Right. George H.W. Bush sets the record for the absolute number of foodstamp/SNAP recipients.

      The critiques also fail to acknowledge we’ve never seen an economic state like this. Ever. How else should a “liberal” president respond?

      Thanks for reading.

  • Interesting read. Black folks need to stop self-destructing and blaming all the legacy issues. We know the game is rigged and stacked against us. We need to learn the game and make it work for us. The sooner we accept responsibility for our actions the better off we’ll be.

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