Melissa Harris-Perry on how Clinton’s rightward shift set stage for 2012 welfare debate


Mitt Romney’s new line of attack on President Obama’s welfare policy isn’t just conservative race-baiting, said msnbc’s Melissa Harris-Perry. It also shows how far to the right both parties have moved on the issues of race and welfare.

Ronald Reagan and other Republicans may have pioneered the use of subtle, racially charged language about “welfare queens,” Harris-Perry said on Tuesday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, ”but it is also the tactic that was used by Bill Clinton to move the Democratic Party nationally far enough to the right to win the votes that turned the party in part, I think, into a much less courageous party around questions of race.”

Bill Clinton’s reforms to the welfare system made it so potential welfare recipients could be refused assistance if they did not demonstrate that they were already working, or looking for work. Romney’s latest attack ad suggests that Obama would undo that policy, making it so that the poor could receive welfare money with no strings attached. In fact, Obama’s welfare policy is continuous with Clinton’s.

Melissa Harris-Perry on how Clinton's rightward shift set stage for 2012 welfare debate