After the panic over Mitt Romney’s characterization of 47% of his fellow citizens as moochers, rightbloggers flailed for a way to make the maker-and-taker philosophy of the modern conservative movement sound less repulsive to normal people.
What they seem to be clustering on now is the idea that, of course nearly half our citizens are wastrels — but they were made that way by Obama, who is intentionally instilling dependency in a once-proud people. And their big proof point last week was a woman who thought Obama had given her a free phone.
We first saw the rumblings in Romney’s campaign, when he talked about “twin visions” of America. As Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post swooningly described it, under the headline “Romney strikes back at Obama’s dependency society,” this theme “posits that Obama wants a bigger government with more people receiving federal benefits of one type or another, while Romney-Ryan want to foster an ‘opportunity society,’ in which individuals help themselves.”
Among rightbloggers, dependency became the new black — literally, as we shall see. “Introducing the theme of dependency could turn out to be a boon for the Romney campaign,” wrote S.E. Cupp. “OBAMA OPTS FOR DEPENDENCY IN RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN,” headlined Lew Uhler at Human Events, who said Obama was “turning America into a European-style welfare state with a ‘culture of dependency,’ as Mitt Romney described it recently,” a “transformation [Obama] and his Saul Alinsky-trained cohorts learned in ‘Rules for Radicals.'” “Obama’s Policies: Redistribution Over Capitalism, Dependency Over Prosperity,” wrote Susan Duclos at Wake Up America, who further explained that Obama was handing out unemployment checks and food stamps, not because the American economy had been devastated by a worldwide recession, but because he wants to turn everyone into Obama zombies.
Fox News even started asking poll respondents “whether they believed the average American was dependent on government services,” reported The Daily Caller. (47% of whoever responds to Fox News polls found their fellow citizens somewhat dependent, and 29% found them highly dependent.)
“Why the U.S. has a culture of dependency,” Matthew Spalding did not wait to be asked to explain at CNN. “For most of American history,” he began, “the average farmer, shop owner or entrepreneur could live an entire life without getting anything from the federal government except mail service.” But then Obama became president, and now suddenly everyone’s leeching off the gummint, and it’s “turning us into a land where many expect, and see no stigma attached to, drawing regular financial support from the federal government.”
This, Spalding believed, could be fixed, “for example, by including work requirements [in welfare] and promoting marriage,” which will “help rekindle the American Dream for everyone,” not just the newly-married, makework-employed paupers, by some mechanism not described in the essay.
Michael Gaynor of RenewAmerica blamed Obama’s 2008 victory on “a better ‘ground game’ [than McCain’s], voter fraud and ‘white guilt'” (and liberal media bias, of course), and advised Romney to focus his campaign on ever-popular ACORN scandals to win, because “the United States cannot afford more Obamanomics, more Obama judicial appointments and even more government dependency.”
“Govt Dependency is Morally Corrupting” abbreviated Jackie Gingrich Cushman. Liberals are all about “adding people to the welfare rolls,” said Laura Hollis at TownHall, which “only creates dependency.” Etc.
It got to the point where alpha rightblogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit actually went to the New York Post to praise Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and, even more hilariously, Franklin Roosevelt and the WPA (“jobs building needed infrastructure: bridges, post offices, courthouses and other federal buildings” — federal buildings! Git a rope!) just as an excuse to lambaste Obama. “Dependency is good, of course,” talking-pointed Reynolds, “if your goal is to build a coalition of takers who live at the expense of makers.”
Dependency is good, at least as a propaganda buzzword, but it needs an avatar to really get over, and the Drudge Report gave one to rightbloggers when it ran a video of a black woman at a rally yelling that Obama was giving free phones to members of minority groups, and that Romney “sucks.” The program she seems to be talking about was actually started in the Bush Administration, and has its roots in earlier Administrations’ telecommunication policies. And people have been shoveling this bullshit for years. but so what? A loud black lady Obama free phone herp derp.
Many of the brethren just circulated the video of the phone woman with minimal commentary, probably on the theory that if their readers saw a black woman praising Obama for giving her a phone, whether he was responsible for it or not, they’d connect the dots. Others were too excited to keep their traps shut.
“That charming lass is not alone in seeing Obama as the Great Dispenser of Free (Taxpayer Funded) Crap,” said Bryan Preston of the PJ Tatler. “Remember Peggy Joseph?” Preston was referring to a 2008 video, which he reproduced, in which Joseph said Obama would give her free stuff. You see the connection? No, not that one, the other one. That’s right — Obamadependency! “How many more millions are there out there just like them?” asked Preston; we like to imagine his readers watching nervously out their car windows for the Millions Like Them to flash gang signals with their headlights.
Some rightbloggers admitted that it wasn’t really Obama’s program, but felt he was still to blame on account of the dependency.
“It isn’t an “Obama-phone” — Obama didn’t buy it for her,” wrote Carol Platt Liebau at TownHall. “You and I did. It’s a ‘Taxpayer-Phone.'” And people like you and Carol Platt Liebau paying for things people like the Obama phone woman thought she was getting from Obama, Liebau told us in the next breath, is what’s wrong with this country, which also is Obama.
“The President has been expert at using taxpayer money to buy support, pay off supporters, or for overall self-glorification,” Liebau said. “The examples are legion. Here is the site for the now famous ‘Obamaphone’.. . with the handy, self-promoting web address of www.ObamaPhone.net (note the program began in ’08, but it wasn’t called the ‘Bush phone’)…”
Other rightbloggers also pretended to think Obama was responsible for Obamaphone.net, which is a site privately registered in Scottsdale, Arizona (not really Obama territory) that appears to be an SEO scam of a familiar sort; there’s no evidence of any Obama campaign connection. On the other hand, did you see that woman in the video? She sure was black.
“AND NOW, A WORD FROM THE 47 PERCENT ABOUT THEIR FREE OBAMA PHONES,” John Hayward howled at Human Events, and invited his readers to enjoy the woman’s “deliriously funny tirade” before getting around to mentioning that the program wasn’t Obama’s. Instead of Obama Phone, Hayward quipped, “maybe a better name would be ‘Sucker Phones,’ in honor of the people who actually pay for them. If you pay for your own phone, that would be you – the program is funded through a surcharge on your monthly phone bill, directed to the Universal Service Fund.” And this woman no more needs a phone than she needs a Cadillac or a T-bone steak! What is it with these people?
“Ah, the intelligence of the typical Obama voter,” snarled Doug Brady at Conservatives4Palin. “Forget finding a job or worrying about the country’s imminent bankruptcy, just ‘gimme’ some free stuff. This is Obama’s idea of a model citizen…” and then Brady ran some audio of black people talking about “Obama money” three years ago. “What is it about the residents of dying, rust-belt cities that they’re unwilling to better themselves and are perfectly willing to sell their souls for a little ‘Obama stash’?” Brady asked. Sounds like someone’s been watching a Death Wish marathon.
“If anyone is to blame for the idea that Obama is giving free phones away for votes,” declared NorCal Blogs, “it’s Obama, his campaign staff, and the MSM because they all allowed the lie to be repeated throughout the African American community.” That’s right — Obama could have nipped this thing in the bud with one call on the Black Line, which connects directly to Harlem, the South Side of Chicago, and Leimert Park, and ended this thing.
The Giavelli Report had LOTS of videos of black people, under the headline “Obama’s Money, Blacks With Six Kids and Food Stamps Runs Out, Obama Phone – The voices of Dependency.” They started out sort of stream-of-consciousness style — “People having six children but don’t work, another mom with 18 asking who will take responsibility for her children, a mom waves a bag filled with pills and asks who will pay for all her happy pills? These are the faces of the new 47%, the throw away Americans who have thrown away their lives” — but gained focus and intensity (and perhaps a facial twitch) as they got to the African-Americans: “As more and more blacks move to social security disability to game the system, avoid work requirements, avoid any limits on it, and use simple to fudge issues like being ‘learning disabled’ they also get programs like the free phone meant for disabled people. But social security disability program is bankrupt now. Gee thanks black people!” The Giavelli Report will tell you black people what “learning disabled” means! (And we’ll take their word for it!)
Meanwhile Obama started talking about “economic patriotism, rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class,” which concept included generating and keeping jobs stateside rather than outsourcing them (cough Bain cough). RedState’s streiff smelled Soviet communism (“you half expect to told your production quotas for the next Five Year Plan and how you’ll fit into the Great Leap Forward”) and posted the ObamaPhone Woman video to help make his point. Erika Johnsen at Hot Air thought the whole notion of economic patriotism was “supremely creepy,” and huffed, “enough with this relentless demonization of ‘shipping jobs overseas’ — if doing so helps us to obtain goods and services more cheaply and efficiently, which it does, that can and does create jobs, because that means we all have more disposable income and thereby are all wealthier.” It hasn’t worked out that way so far, but hey, sheeple, at least it’s not dependancy.
By and large, the brethren were careful to keep their message on the downlow. But their readers got it. Look at I Own The World’s post and video on the Obama Phone Lady: Short and sweet, with the commenters fleshing it out: “Reparations. Thats right proles, work til you drop so this fine specimen is taken care of…” “I is gonna vote for this here prezident cuz I gets free stuff.” “chewin’ her cud like the bovine piece of parasitic shit that she is…” “I’m not racist…I’m sub-species-ist.” “When will educated blacks ever be embarrased that their race has been reduced to this – by the democratice party?” “Get a gun, and be ready to shoot those rioting niggers on sight.””Just stay away from the animals and you won’t get bit, but too many can help but live around or near pricks like this. Fuck the Union, the South needs to rise again!!!!!!!!”
Etc. When what you want is dogs, a dog whistle works just fine.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 30, 2012