Are unemployed Americans “sitting back waiting” instead of looking for work? Zach Wamp, the Republican candidate for governor in Tennessee, says they are. Indeed, he says more than that. He says that he wants to see “people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting.”
Zaid Jilani at Think Progress provides some details about some of the Tennesseans Wamp is talking about (emphasis is in original):
– Lori Hillard, an Ashland City native, was laid off a year ago from her job as an Internet program administrator. She began “stressing out and losing sleep” at the thought of losing her unemployment benefits, which were her only source of income. Yet she sends out “sends out at least 15 to 20 resumes per week,” desperately trying to find work. “I know how hard and diligent I have been in searching for a job,” she told a local paper. “The economic situation is just as bad for us. When 400 people are applying for an administrative assistant’s job, that shows how dire the situation is.”
– Kim Stokes of Hendersonville-based Stokes Production Services Inc. tells the Tennessean that she has so many applicants that she can’t even come close to hiring them all. “I have freelancers calling me constantly because they don’t have anything going on,” Stokes said. “Everywhere I look, people don’t have work — people like some of my friends who are older and have been let go. They’ve never been without work before in their lives.”
– Ellen Zinkiewicz, who is the director youth and community services at the Nashville Career Advancement Center, notes that “nearly three-quarters of teenagers who want a job haven’t been able to find one.”
– When Fontanel Mansion at White Creek Pines needed staff and held a job fair this spring, 1,200 people showed up to apply — six times what the business had capacity for.
So here is my question: Does Wamp expect these Tennesseans to vote for him? I mean, would you vote for someone whose campaign strategy was to mock you, insult you, and tell you that you needed to suffer more?
I’m really curious to hear from conservative TMV readers: Is this a good way to run for office? Is there a message of compassion and concern for ordinary Tennesseans that I’m missing here?
I would really like to believe that Republicans like Zach Wamp are not heartless — or perhaps better put, that most Republicans who are in office or running for office are not like Zach Wamp — but it’s hard. It’s really hard, you know, to believe that when this is what Republicans are putting in front of my face every day.