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I was struck by this paragraph in an article by Michael Tomasky on the GOP poison-pill amendment put forward by Eric Cantor that scuttled the Farm Bill in the House last week:

It’s just amazing to me the way they [i.e., the GOP] keep finding new ways to kick poor people. One, deregulate everything so that banks can start placing bets against their own securities. Two, destroy the economy, so that millions more people lose their jobs and have to go on food stamps in the first place. Three, decide that poor people have to pay the penalty for all this financial hanky-panky, and cut the federal programs they depend on to the bone. Four, cut food stamps even more, and make the recipients work more.

It made me think of the recent special election for Jo Ann Emerson’s House seat in the 8th congressional district, which was handily won by Tea Party fellow-travelor Jason Smith, who promises to be just the type who will promote policy directions of the sort Tomasky decries. Pertinent fact here: according to Wikipedia, the 8th district “is the poorest district in Missouri and the 11th poorest congressional district in the country.”

It’s hard to believe that racism, trumped up rage, paranoia and conspiracy fears can be so potent when it comes to getting folks to vote against their own interests, but the evidence is hard to deny.  Obama was just telling the truth in 2008 when he talked about the power of guns, God, and, by implication, gays, to rile up folks who are scared silly by a changing world. You can call such language elitist all you want, but since we all have to live with the consequences of this silliness, we get to call it the way it is.