Friday, August 10, 2012

The Obama-Warren Get Out the Welfare Vote

Barack Obama was a community organizer par excellence before entering politics. He won the Iowa caucuses four years ago by out-organizing Senator Hillary Clinton, and then rode that upset into the Presidency.

One of the critical keys to victory in an election, specially a close election, is to get out the vote, which is a function of organization. First you register the voters, and then you make sure they get to the ballot box.

Identify your supporters, register them to vote, and then get them to the polls.

The 2010 elections gave Republicans control of most statehouses, including the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The Republican governors can bring their organizations into the campaign for Governor Romney.

The Obama campaign has spent a large percent of its budget for this year on organization.

Of course, you only want to organize and motivate your voters – not your opponent’s. Thus, you need to identify a bloc that will support you. In the case of the Democratic Party that means those dependent upon the government for support.

The most dependent class is those on welfare. President Clinton reluctantly signed a welfare reform bill in the 1996 election year. It required recipients to seek work. Workfare replaced welfare.  Under section 407 of the act, parents must be working, searching for work, or training for work to be eligible. The Section did not provide for waivers. It was highly successful in cutting welfare costs while encouraging recipients to seek gainful employment.

The Obama Administration on July 12 through Kathleen Sibelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services issued an “Information Memorandum to State Welfare Administrators” claiming “waiver and expenditure authority” for Section 407. The Secretary will now grant waivers to states. Workfare will now revert back to welfare.

HHS is, of course, the agency that will issue hundreds of thousands of tortured pages applying ObamaCare.

The joy, the euphoria, and hopefully gratitude of the new non-workfare beneficiaries will reflect itself in November at the ballot box.

Of course, they still have to register and vote. That ‘s where Massachusetts and Professor Elizabeth Warren come into play.

Massachusetts is a reliably Democratic State, but the race of Professor Warren against Senator Brown is exceedingly close. President Obama should easily carry Massachusetts, but whether his coat tails will sweep the Professor into office is “iffy.” She has turned out to be a poor candidate.

Hence the need to get out the Democratic vote in a heavily Democratic state.

Demos, a New York City based advocacy and public policy organization, brought suit against several states for violations of the National Voters Registration Act of 1993. the “Motor – Voter” statute.

Massachusetts recently settled the lawsuit, being the only state to agree to mail out letters and voter registration cards to all welfare recipients, about 500,000, in Massachusetts. The cost to Massachusetts is $257,000 for a state which can no longer afford to send out driver renewal notices.

President Obama does not need additional votes in Massachusetts, but Professor Warren definitely does.

By a coincidence, the chair of the Demos Board of trustees is Amelia Warren Tyagi, the daughter of Professor Warren.

Another coincidence. One of the law firms representing Demos in the litigation is the prominent Boston firm of Ropes and Gray. The Governor’s wife, Diane Patrick, is a partner at Ropes & Gray.

Yet another coincidence is that the Attorney General of Massachusetts is Martha Coakley, who lost to Senator Brown 1 ½ years ago.

Everyone involved denies everything, and Professor Warren is outraged that anyone would think anything was askance. She protests too much.

I lived in Massachusetts for 18 years. Politics is a blood sport in Massachusetts. There are no coincidences in Massachusetts politics.

Senator Warren has asked the Warren campaign to reimburse Massachusetts for the costs. The Professor has refused eventhough she could afford it, having raised $13.5 million so far, mostly from out of state.

I miss Massachusetts politics.

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