At a campaign stop over the weekend in Sioux City, Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santourum addressed a small crowd of voters. During his speech, the former Pennsylvania Senator was critical of the federal government’s push to expand health care coverage for all citizens.

Santourum, who is enjoying a bit of a bump in poll numbers as the Iowa caucuses nears, told the crowd that the government wants make them dependent on its services in order to trap voters into having to support certain politicians to survive.

While his comments were in keeping with the Conservative stance on keeping government small, it was his comment about black people that caused a bit of a stir.

While talking about Medicaid expansion, Santorum told the crowd:

”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

Santourum’s critics have chided him for invoking the “welfare queen” rhetoric that many Republicans have used in the past to deride those who rely upon social services. But other’s are questioning whether Santourum really mean to throw blacks under the bus in Iowa, a state with a minuscule African-American population.

Although Santorum does pause before he said “black people” (or mmmblah…people), the issues of a the “welfare” state has been evoked on several occasions throughout the Republican presidential nomination process. Newt Gingrich famously called President Obama “the most successful food stamp President,” while Mitt Romney has been claiming the President wants to turn American into a “European-style welfare state.”

Despite the income gap widening and more Americans–of all ethnicities–relying on social services in greater numbers, Republican candidates continue to move toward the Right and endorse policies that would strip much of the social safety for our most vulnerable citizens. It’s not clear how this shift will work in a general election, but the field of GOP candidates hope it will play well with primary voters.

What do you think of Santourum’s comments?

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  • beautifulmindtss

    Did anyone else notice that his solution to us is to get the MANUFACTURING SECTOR operational again? so I guess that’s where we should be working in the manufacturing sector…smh

    • Bunny

      Wait, what? Really?

  • Priceless34

    Although I dont agree with what he said about manufacturing jobs…I understand the comment. As far as the welfare statement, I think it was wrong for him to single out blacks but I do believe the gov’t wants to keep people dependent upon them not only for votes but for money.

    SN: Even thought we make up only 12% of the total pop in the US, we have a higher percentage of people of welfare. This needs to be addressed.

    • jamesfrmphilly

      you do know that the majority of people on welfare are white?

    • Priceless34

      Of course I know that but we have a higher percentage of our people on welfare.

    • bertamae

      He is not trying to address it. He does not care if Black people can feed their families. He just wants to make sure that Black people are not getting any of the money.

  • paloma

    Im reading this book called the Truly Disadvantaged by William Julius Wilson published in the late 80s– it mentions how conservatives have dominated the conversation on the impact of welfare policies or other social services. Clearly, nothing has changed and they are still making comments that rely on very selective research. But then again, liberals aren’t doing a great job of communicating the facts either.

    Santorum is saying that Medicaid makes black people, for example, dependent on such services and causes them to lose incentive to work/earn their money… That’s not entirely true and there is comprehensive research to back it up.

    Black Americans are most vulnerable to class inequality, economic shifts, lower wages, unemployment and limited life chances in America. Medicaid is not the reason why any minority has become dependent.

    The book makes some really great points and talks about both sides of the debate on welfare policies.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    the racists in iowa have pushed the GOP so far to the right they will never regain the center. the republicans have made a calculation that they will win with out the black vote.
    good luck wit that.