File this under the heading of tone deaf. Or mean-spiritedness. Or boneheadedness. Heck,cross file it under all three headings. Once again some Republican has emerged from obscurity onto the national scene to make an ass of himself and to color the entire GOP as backward, insensitive, and mean. How easy is it for Republicans to fall into the, “they want to shame the poor” trap? This easy:
Robert Macdonald, mayor of Lewiston Maine, is pushing state legislators to pass a bill requiring the names, addresses, and all other personal information of all people collecting welfare.
We will be submitting a bill to the next legislative session asking that a website be created containing the names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual on the dole. After all, the public has a right to know how its money is being spent.
You can read Macdonald’s entire op-ed here.
It is clear from Macdonald’s op-ed that he is concerned with reforming some outdated state welfare laws. Additionally, he is interested in protecting both the privacy and the private property of the citizens of Maine. What is not clear is how publishing the names and addresses of everyone on welfare accomplishes any of those goals. The real purpose of this exercise seems to be to shame people on welfare, the purpose of which, again, is unclear. Perhaps, the rationale is that the prospect of shame will push people off the welfare rolls and encourage them to become productive and self-sufficient members of society.
MacDonald’s “Enough is Enough” essay is a stunning example of the lack of tone affecting so many Republicans. If the goal is to move citizens off the welfare rolls – a noble goal – it can be done without insulting a portion of the society and/or shaming people who, for whatever reason, are in need of public assistance. In fact, the other reforms MacDonald recommends will (or should) result in the thinning of the welfare roles. Furthermore, these reforms, while probably unpopular with Progressives in Maine, put local laws in line with federal law or are modeled on similar laws in the (Liberal) state of Massachusetts. The ONLY thing MacDonald’s cringe worthy boneheadedness accomplishes is that it allows the Left to point a finger at Republicans and accuse them of being mean and ugly.
One day the GOP will learn. Right now, MacDonald gets a dunce cap and a seat in the corner.