Candidate Istook: Sticking to the Talking Points on Personal Responsibility, Small Government, Poverty , etc.

Sunday, June 04, 2006 | Margy's Blog & Updates

From an AP story about the Oklahoma race for Governor, we learn more about the conservative talking points. And observe how the media reinforces a dominant narrative: Republican Rep. Ernest Istook, known for pushing prayer in schools and other conservative causes, says Democratic Gov. Brad Henry has led Oklahoma down the wrong path by enacting a lottery and promoting more government. …..He said the lottery and tribal gaming programs backed by Henry are not producing enough money to pay for their social costs. He also said Henry had betrayed the people by getting a $1 tobacco tax passed that mostly benefits tribes who pay at a low tax rate. While saying Henry wants to ``throw money‘’ at problems, Istook said he would promote personal responsibility over government programs, which he blamed for creating more social ills than they fix. ….``We never finished the job of welfare reform,‘’ Istook said of one of his priorities as governor. He suggested time limits that were placed on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program should also be placed on such things as food stamps, housing subsidies and Medicaid. ….

He said with so many people on the government dole, it has exacerbated the immigration problem by creating a surplus of jobs that serve as a magnet to attract illegal immigrants from Mexico. ….As governor, Istook said he would use his connections in Washington to get federal waivers to change some state welfare programs. ``I realize that some people don’t like the idea of taking an unglamorous job, but it’s better than asking the taxpayers to support you, which causes millions of dollars of public assistance as well as billions to deal with illegal immigrants, that want to take the jobs.‘’ ….

Istook said he favored policies to make the private sector grow and would cut government waste. Keeping with the personal responsibility theme, he said faith-based programs in the past promoted the work ethic and eased social problems better than government has. ``For centuries,‘’ he said, many of these problems were handled in a better way by faith-based groups. Then government took over. We spent more money on them and the problems worsened rather than improving, because we were no longer trying to help people correct their self-destructive behavior.’’…. In opposing mass transit and rail systems that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers, he said that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, ``most people that we say are living in poverty own their own car.‘’

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