If we had an inquisitive and fair mainstream media, it might bring up this 2008 Barack Obama ad.
The ad presents Barack Obama as a hard-working man with mainstream values. It claims that Obama “worked his way through college and Harvard Law” and then makes a pair of claims regarding welfare. The ad, titled “Dignity,” claims that Obama “passed a law to move people from welfare to work” and “slashed the [welfare] roles by 80 percent.” It closes, stating that Barack Obama will “never forget the dignity that comes from work.” The ad cites no actual bill signed or supported by Obama, who was already on the record opposing the 1996 welfare reform and promising to undo it. Obama was not in Congress when the then-Republican-controlled Congress passed it and President Bill Clinton signed it into law.
Fast forward four years from that 2008 ad. Barack Obama is president and his Department of Health and Human Services has systematically increased welfare roles and done away with the heart of the 1996 bipartisan welfare reform. The latter came last week, as Obama’s HHS exploited the election year and a divided Congress to gut the 1996 welfare reform which required work of welfare recipients. Those work requirements helped shrink welfare roles by about half after roughly four decades of steady welfare roll growth.
The Obama administration has also destigmatized welfare through a series of ads targeted at middle- and lower-income Americans in both English and Spanish. In the English versions of the radio ads, which the Tatler first noticed back in April, food stamps are re-branded SNAP, and the ads encourage Americans to call a 1-800 number to find out if they qualify. The ad’s positive, peppy tone notes that it is possible to qualify even if you have a job and own a car and a home.