A truer take on that cliche might be that being mugged turns you Democrat -- at least, when those muggers are Republicans.
ThinkProgress: On Tuesday, a potential agreement to extend benefits for those who have been out of work for six months or more fell apart over squabbling about procedural disagreements in the Senate. That fight came two and a half weeks after those checks stopped going out to millions of Americans, and it doesn’t look like it will be resolved in the next two weeks. Congress let the program lapse at the end of the year, which offered support to the jobless after their state benefits ran out, drying up a lifeline for those who are struggling to find a new job.
The people who have been left without that support are incensed, and the anger reaches across party lines. In an email to ThinkProgress, Peter LeClair, an out of work investment manager from New York, said he has been a lifelong Republican. But he “will never vote for a Republican, as long as I live” after watching them say that relying on unemployment benefits makes people dependent. “I am incensed with this Rand Paul,” he said, who has said extending the benefits would “do a disservice” to those who were relying on them. “He says I am lazy... I am not lazy, how dare he. He doesn’t even know me.”
LeClair says he has sent out over 2,000 resumes and been “rejected on a daily basis.” The benefits, which he pointed out he paid into while he worked for more than 20 years, were the only think keeping him “glued together financially.” He said he is “absolutely shocked and dismayed” with Republicans, reiterating, “I will never, so help me god, vote for a Republican again, period.”
Of course, LeClair's not the only one. "I read these politicians’ opinions of the unemployed and am furious at the implication as it correlates to my situation," says another. Yet another says she "was barely making ends meet with what little bit of benefits I was receiving. Now that they have expired, my children and I are literally homeless."
Once you see what Republicans' economic babble actually means to real people, once you become one of the many, many groups of Americans they tell lies about, the GOP doesn't seem like a party with such great ideas anymore. Once Republicanism meets your personal reality, you find they just don't mix.
Of course, the first clue should've been the glaring inconsistencies in GOP messaging; a rocky recovery and high unemployment are the fault of economic policies one minute, then they're the fault of lazy, work-rejecting "takers" the next. It would be helpful if they made up their minds before they opened their mouths. Never mind that there are roughly three jobseekers for every job, if everyone just hunkers down and looks really, really hard and wishes with all their little heart, everyone can find work -- because math is science and science is of the devil. In Republican World, three is not greater than one, three is equal to one; mostly because anything else would screw up their messaging on unemployment benefits.
As I wrote yesterday, the best Democratic recruiting tool is probably Republicans.
Here's the problem with the conservative approach to problem-solving: when a Republican sees a problem, they immediately look for someone to punish. Oddly, that someone is usually the person suffering from the problem. So if you're hungry, no food stamps. If you're poor, no assistance. If you're unemployed, no benefits. It's like seeing someone on the side of the road with a flat, pulling over, and beating them with the tire iron -- then driving away assuming you fixed their flat.
The only thing Republicans seem to think people in struggling families should get from anyone is bullets from Second Amendment Heroes standing their ground against them. Free rein for Wall Street; free bullets in the chest for working people.
You almost wish you could make everyone who votes Republican live the lives of the people Republicans attack, if only for a few days. But of course, this is a cruel wish. Just because a Republican who's been mugged by their party becomes a Democrat, it's no good reason to wish them a beating.
We're better than that. After all, we aren't Republicans.
[photo via Wikimedia Commons]