Mitt Romney

The Real Reason Romney Lost, Republicans are Mean

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Since the election there have been many Republicans pundits who are trying to figure out how Ronmney lost. They blame his ground game, his 47% comment, and demographic shifts in the electorate. However, the answer is more simple than that. The Republican party is mean, voters are starting to figure that out, and Romney was tagged with it.

I first wrote about this in a post called, “When Did the Republicans Become so Mean?”

Here are some good examples from a post on Facebook by social worker Jan Falk.

… so let me get this straight- republicans have voted against the best interests of the following groups: women, the sick, the elderly, children, gay and lesbians, the middle class, union members, the poor, students (elementary, middle, high, college and graduate school), mentally ill, immigrants…so who is left? oh yeah, the top 2% wealthiest, so yea, you should vote for them.

Of all the questions pollsters asked in the exit polls one made sense to me. Who cares about you the most? The answers reflected that most American’s felt Obama was looking out for their interests. Why? The Republicans were seen as mean and synonymous with the word “no.”

One area the Republicans have consistently said “no” to is disaster relief funds. Disasters affect those from red and blue states and should not be used as a political football. Still, the Republicans find a way to blame the victims and expand their suffering. Here are some examples from an article at Mother Jones.

The disaster: Hurricane Katrina
The fallout: Within 10 days of the storm hitting New Orleans in 2005, Congress votes on a fast-tracked bill allocating $51.5 billion in relief, including $11.5 billion in block grants to Louisiana and Mississippi, and billions for levees, roads, bridges, and schools. Eleven House Republicans, including New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett, vote against the bill, citing concerns about oversight and largess. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) calls his “nay” vote the best vote he ever cast. A subsequent push to allocate funds for repairs to the I-10 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain comes undone when Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) threatens to resign if his $453 million earmark for two rural bridges is not included. (Stevens justifies his opposition in part by noting that in Alaska, when a town is crippled by a natural disaster, they simply relocate.)

The disaster: Hurricane Ike
The fallout: In 2010, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduces legislation to extend a deadline for state officials to spend disaster relief funds in Gulf Coast communities. Delays in the appropriation process had meant that some agencies only had a few months to spend money that had been nominally available for two years. The House Republican leadership determines that Texas is dragging its feet and kills the bill—which simply extends the deadline and makes new expentidures—in committee.

The disaster: 9/11
The fallout: Congress ultimately approves $4.2 billion to cover medical expenses and provide compensation for first responders and cleanup crews suffering from the effects of inhaling toxic particles at Ground Zero. Republicans block it for a year, before finally approving it during the lame duck session in 2010. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) typified his caucus’ critique: “This legislation as written creates a huge $8.4 billion slush fund paid by taxpayers that is open to abuse, fraud and waste.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), meanwhile, warned that it “would create a new health care entitlement.” Reps. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) and Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) are the only two members of the New York–New Jersey delegation to oppose the measure. Although quick to blame Democrats for obstructing the bill’s progress, Peter King acknowledges his own party’s intransigence in an interview on MSNBC: “I have said throughout this, going back to five years ago, we would be lucky to get 24, 25 Republican votes. This is not supported by the Republican Party. I have broken with the party on this.”

The disaster: Joplin, Mo. tornadoes
The fallout: Days after a massive tornado hits western Missouri in 2011, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pledges to block any disaster relief legislation that isn’t entirely offset with spending cuts—earning him rebukes from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Donald Trump.

The disaster: Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, Mississippi River flooding, Texas wildfires, and the Joplin tornado.
The fallout: When cash-strapped FEMA runs low on funds to pay for Hurricane Irene in 2011, it redirects funds that were originally meant to go to Joplin, which had been flattened by a tornado three months earlier. The Senate proposed $7 billion to refill FEMA’s coffers; the House aims to keep it to $3.7 billion. Republicans filibuster the bill in the Senate. It subsequently passes the Senate but dies in the House, which never voted on the Senate version. Foreshadowing what would happen one year later with Hurricane Sandy aid, New Jersey Republican Reps. Chris Smith and Rodney Frelinghuysen both pressure Boehner to approve the funding. (Update: Congress eventually approved the $7 billion package and President Obama signed it into law that December.)

It may be unfair to include Romney in this group. But when you are the standard bearer for a group whose animosity towards those they govern is so palpable, it’s difficult for voters to dissect the two.

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