Food And Republican Logic

While watching “Up with Chris Hayes” Sunday morning on MSNBC, a Republican guest’s comment inspired me to present the following premises and conclusion, which taken together represent the twisted logic of the right-wing and its ongoing and ridiculous, if not partly racist, claim that Mr. Obama is the Food Stamp President:

♦ The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was formerly known as and still is popularly called the Food Stamp Program. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Nearly 75 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

♦ A significant change in SNAP occurred in 2002, including expanding it to “make more legal immigrants eligible for benefits,” according to the Agriculture Department. And according to a right-wing opponent of the increase in food stamp benefits, the 2002 bill, “increased benefits for families with more children, adjusted benefits for inflation and made it easier to enroll.”

♦ George Bush was president in 2002 and signed the expansion into law (as part of the big 2002 farm bill), saying at the time:

This bill is also a compassionate bill. This law means that legal immigrants can now receive help and food stamps after being here for five years. It means that you can have an elderly farm worker, somebody here legally in America who’s worked hard to make a living and who falls on hard times, that person can receive help from a compassionate government.

And as for Bush’s entire tenure as president, CNN reported earlier this year:

Food stamp enrollment has been rising for more than a decade. President Bush launched a recruitment campaign, which pushed average participation up by 63% during his eight years in office.

♦ Teapartiers Paul Ryan (whose famous budget cuts SNAP by $134 billion) and Jim DeMint (who now abhors increased spending on food stamps!), along with my former congressman and now senator from Missouri, Roy Blunt, voted for the 2002 food stamp expansion. So did then-senator and Missouri Republican Kit Bond.

♦ The 2008 version of the farm bill also expanded the food stamp program, and although Mr. Bush vetoed the bill (but not because of the food stamp expansion), Republicans provided the necessary margin to override his veto. That bill, again according to that same right-wing opponent of food stamp increases,

contained more than 30 provisions relating to food stamps, including higher minimum benefits. 

Again, Roy Blunt voted for the 2008 bill that expanded the program and voted in the House to override Bush’s veto.  In the Senate, the override vote saw 35 Republican senators—including Mitch McConnell—vote to override the veto. Missouri’s Kit Bond, along with both Kansas Republican senators, voted to override, thus expanding the food stamp program.

♦ The Great Recession, which cost millions of Americans their jobs and caused many people to seek help from the food stamp program, began while George Bush was president.

♦ Just before Mr. Obama came into office in January of 2009, the GDP shrank at an annualized rate of almost 9%. Yes, you read that right: “More than any other recession since the Great Depression.”

♦ The Democrats’ 2009 stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), did increase eligibility and funds for SNAP because:

In light of the increased demand for services and strained State budgets, the increased ARRA funding to State agencies that administer the SNAP program enables State governments to avoid reductions in services and to meet the increasing demand from low-income families and individuals resulting from the recession.

REPUBLICAN CONCLUSION: The fact that more folks needed and continue to need food stamps because of the Great Recession is all Barack Obama’s fault and he is, therefore, the Food Stamp President.

Besides admiring the audacity of the faulty logic of Republicans, it may interest you to know that for all the talk about food stamps and the number of Americans who need them, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average monthly benefit—I kid you not—is a whopping $133.84 (in Missouri it is $127.05).

Again, I kid you not. That tiny amount, most of it going to families with kids, is what generates all the divisive demagoguery—including Romney’s 47% nonsense—and what causes Republicans to bend the principles of logic in service to their Obama-hating agenda.



  1. Duane,

    Everything you ever wanted to know about the “food program,” including food stamps, can be found here:

    You can generate reports for each state and the U.S. (at the end of the list of states) and compare up to three years of data from 2005 thru 2011. The numbers speak for themselves.

    But your reportage on this issue just underscores my characterization of the far right wing nuts as “self-righteous, arrogant, condescending assholes.” (I’m beginning to like that better than the American Taliban.



    • “Self-righteous, arrogant, condescending assholes” is more detailed and thus more descriptive, but “American Taliban” sort of neatly puts them in today’s War on Terror context, doesn’t it?

      And that site is fantastic, although I wish there was more 2011 data for Missouri.


  2. writer89

     /  September 25, 2012

    Excellent summary of the situation. I have shared this on my FB page and hope you get some new fans from it! I’m also impressed that you are a big enough fan of Chris Hayes to get up and watch him on Sunday morning. 😉


    • I appreciate very much your sharing it.

      And I am awed by how much information CH packs into his program. The guy even admits the mistakes he makes! Imagine that. What I like about his show is that issues are explored in some considerable depth (for cable TV, mind you) and the conservative guest is always willing to engage robustly and respectfully, without a lot of yelling over the others.

      I will be posting this week another piece regarding something Hayes raised this weekend, at least I plan to.



  3. Yellow Dog

     /  September 25, 2012

    Then why cannot we find a candidate that can defend himself on these issues? The Democrats are in the right….we know that….we cannot articulate and communicate it in a way the retarded voters in America understand. We allow Fox the lead, they define the FS Program as bad and we Democrats sit on our hands.

    That said, when the people who use the program, lose the program….they will vote accordingly. Sometimes a bad thing can turn into a good thing.

    We can’t wait for Bill Clinton to solve every problem for us. Until he spoke at the convention …. again…. THEY were defining us and the situation our country is in. Obama wasn’t. Biden wasn’t. Who but Clinton put the ball back in their court? No one.


    • Dog,

      I think Democrats are coming around, in terms of growing some balls and fighting the nonsense. I know things have improved on that front since the election cycle began. I wish they would be more aggressive during the legislative session, but then our side is the party of government and we tend to want to get something done and yelling at the other side is not generally the way to do that. Thus, we are hindered by our own principles!

      And I agree that Clinton’s speech helped define, in Democratic terms, the race going forward. Hopefully we can keep the momentum, but I suspect news folks are hankering for a closer election and will begin to push stories that make it seem Romney is storming back. The bias in TV journalism (the non-Fox variety, of course) is generally aimed at a good story, and Obama running away with the election is not as good a story as one in which there is a real horse race. Thus they tend to emphasize things that create at least the illusion of a horse race.



  4. How satisfying to have these numbers confirmed, and that SNAP is not only not out of control but is serving the proper role of government, providing a foundation for the down and out to get up and going again. A valuable post, Duane.


%d bloggers like this: