“Tough on Kids; Weak on Work.” That was Bill Clinton’s regular and emphatic judgment on the Republican attitude on welfare reform as he vetoed two congressional GOP bills before cutting the deal that became the landmark 1996 law. This was no mere rhetoric. As a welfare policy wonk in the 1990s I can attest to the fact that Republican interest in welfare reform was focused on everything other than work: punishing illegitimacy, creating absolute time limits for eligibility, devolving responsibility for the indigent to the states, and saving money for the federal government.
In the Belly of the Beast
February 12, 2011
While the speeches by various conservative bigwigs at the annual CPAC conference in Washington, D.C., are always fun—who doesn’t love listening to Ron Paul rail against foreign aid or Mitt Romney explain that, unlike Barack Obama, he wouldn’t need to ask his Treasury Secretary for economic advice?—that’s not all that's on offer. Down in the basement of the Marriott Wardman Park is a convention hall lined with various groups hawking pamphlets and piles of swag.