Just in time for the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a “war on poverty," the GOP and Sen. Marco Rubio have released a new video with Rubio asking “After 50 years isn’t it time to declare big government’s war on poverty a failure?”
As Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast responded, the answer to that question would be "no."
On the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s initiative, Marco Rubio says it failed. After all, poverty still exists. But the policies did succeed—Democrats are just afraid to say so.
So now Sen. Marco Rubio is trying to join Rep. Paul Ryan’s conservative bleeding-hearts club band. The Florida senator is releasing a video timed to Wednesday’s 50th anniversary of the launch of the war on poverty to declare said war a failure and launch his own. Woot woot. That isn’t necessarily stupid politics, at least as a general election strategy for 2016. How the guy who’s already alienated the wingers on immigration expects to make it through the primary season trying to get conservatives to care about poor people is another question, but that’s his problem.
Our problem is when conservatives like Rubio talk gibberish: “Isn’t it time to declare big government’s war on poverty a failure?” No, it isn’t. It’s high time to say the war on poverty was a success. A wild success, indeed, by nearly every meaningful measure. But no one thinks so, and a big part of the reason is that most Democrats are afraid to say so. They’d damn well better start. If we’re really going to be raising the minimum wage and tackling inequality, someone needs to be willing to say to the American people that these kinds of approaches get results. [...]
The political problem is that Americans don’t know about or focus on these successes. They just know that we tried, and poverty still exists. Thus has the “war” frame ended up being extremely handy for conservatives, who will always be able to point to the existence of poor people and therefore to make the claim that the whole thing has been a failure. That is why Rubio can say what he says in his new video and have people who don’t know any better nodding their heads in agreement. And it’s why Ryan can prattle on as he does about government and dependency. I can assure you that when both unveil their specific policy platforms later this year, they’ll consist of a mix of things that a) already exist in some form; b) have been tried and proved tricky to implement; c) sound good in theory but will be woefully underfunded; or d) have been studied to death, with findings suggesting their impact will be minimal.
Go read the rest and he's dead on about the fact that the Democrats need to push back against this snake oil that Rubio, Ryan and their ilk are selling, and hard.