GOP's Empathy Problem: DeLay, Kyl, et. al. Expose GOP's Insensitivity to Plight of Suffering Americans

On CNN's State of the Union this past Sunday, former Republican Tom DeLay made one of the most telling comments about what the GOP really thinks about unemployed Americans. It shouldn't suprise anyone. What is suprising is how the disdain Republicans feel for the people in general is becoming so easily verbalized, in public, at a time when the suffering of the people is at its greatest in several generations.

Via CNN (h/t Something the Dog Said):

"You know," DeLay said, "there is an argument to be made that these extensions of these unemployment benefits keeps people from going and finding jobs." When CNN's Candy Crowley described his argument as "a hard sell" to the public, DeLay replied, "It's the truth."

Crowley followed up, asking, "People are unemployed because they want to be?"

DeLay again said, "Well, it is the truth."

DeLay sounded an awful lot like this rhetoric from the Senate's #2 Republican, Jon Kyl (h/t Steve Benen):

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting "because people are being paid even though they're not working."

Unemployment insurance "doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work," Kyl said during debate over whether unemployment insurance and other benefits that expired amid GOP objections Sunday should be extended.

Which sounded an awful lot like GOP Rep. Dean Heller's claim that extending unemployment benefits is creating ‘hobos.’

Heller said the current economic downturn and policies may bring back the hobos of the Great Depression, people who wandered the country taking odd jobs. He said a study found that people who are out of work longer than two years have only a 50 percent chance of getting back into the workforce. “I believe there should be a federal safety net,” Heller said, but he questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits yet again to a total of 24 months, which Congress is doing. “Is the government now creating hobos?” he asked.

The GOP's has an insensitivity problem. It's time the Democrats capitalized on this or risk allowing the policies of these Neanderthals back into power in the 2010 midterms.

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