Republican whisperer Robert Costa has moved to the Washington Post, where he revealed that House Republican leaders are having to coach the entire GOP conference how to sound empathetic to the unemployed. The memo explains to what can only be robots that being unemployed is a “personal crisis”.
House Republican leaders sent a memo this week to the entire GOP conference with talking points designed to help rank-and-file Republicans show compassion for the unemployed and explain the Republican position on unemployment benefits. In the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post, House Republicans are urged to be empathetic toward the unemployed and understand how unemployment is a “personal crisis” for individuals and families. The memo also asks Republicans to reiterate that the House will give “proper consideration” to an extension of long-term insurance as long as Democrats are willing to support spending or regulatory reforms.
Republicans are told to respond that they will consider extending unemployment benefits if Democrats can be fiscally responsible (a hurdle that Republicans have failed to meet when they are in charge- see Medicare Part D, the renewal of long term unemployment benefits under every other President but this one, etc). Republicans are then supposed to pivot to the issue of how they are working hard to create jobs.
This would be awkward if the press were ever to ask exactly how Republicans are working on creating jobs, since their standard answer of Keystone XL is actually not a jobs plan at all.
The real problem here is that Republicans have become caricatures of their extremes. These are people so absurdly out of touch with real life and with humanity that they have to be coached on how to respond to human crises like unemployment.
It was obvious yesterday that these same talking points made their way to Senate Republicans, though some were more amenable to them than others. The general gist of yesterday was, “We are open to helping, it’s just that you must pay first.” Republicans love to play scolding daddy from their dubious moral perch after years of absolute fiscal recklessness. Luckily for them, the press rarely reminds them of their fiscal record.
It’s not helping Republicans’ image that Senator Rand Paul is running around trying to sell his 2016 “shame them and they will find a job” plan, which relies on the ideas that if we just stop helping people, they’ll magically get a job and also if we give tax breaks to corporations, then jobs will appear.
No one ever asks Republicans how we have money to give corporations tax breaks and why this kind of welfare is okay, but helping our neighbors through tough times is not okay. If a corporation can’t be successful on its own, if they can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps during tough times, then their failure is due to their own inherent unworthiness (applying the standards Republicans use on people to corporations) and thus they do not deserve a tax break/welfare/state subsidy. If we stop giving them subsidies, they will find a way to become profitable or die.
It’s time for Republicans to get out of the fictional world Ayn Rand presented in a novel we all read in 5th grade that has absolutely no bearing on reality.
Yes, being unemployed is a personal crisis. Perhaps Republicans should try it courtesy of the voters, in order for them to develop the empathy skills expected among adult humans.