Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) defends his vote against SNAP with this bible verse:
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
Kevin’s about my age and we grew up in similar circumstances. Probably, like me, at least one set of his grandparents were hard-working farmers in North Dakota. And it is almost certain that they were beneficiaries of one of the biggest government handouts in the history of government handouts: the Homestead Acts. The value of land given away to one person by that Act is now more than $300K in most parts of his state. He’s also probably two generations removed from relatives who came over on a boat, and one generation removed from relatives who had first-hand experience of the Depression, and the hunger and poverty experienced by people with no social safety net.
Let’s contrast Rep. Cramer with another Republican, Bob Dole. Like most other prairie state legislators of his generation, (including North Dakotans Quintin Burdick and Milton Young) Dole was part of the effort to feed our country and the world. Dole and George McGovern wrote the modern SNAP act and got it through Congress. His and McGovern’s name are on the legislation that authorizes spending on food for millions of children around the world.
Bob Dole just turned 90, so his obituary is already written, and none of the honest efforts are going to make him sound like Mr. Congeniality. Still, the one thing that won’t be said in any of them is that he wanted to take the food out of mouths of children. Kevin Cramer, at a mere 52 years old, has already cemented that part of his legacy, and he’s an ungrateful, god-bothering asshole to boot.