The Brawler (and this guy and this guy) had a fine time making sport of the WMC/CfG's clownlike attack on Healthy Wisconsin. Bogus polling, empty talking points, a half-decade old "plan" masked as something new .... a veritable three-ring circus of buffoonery!
Still, one part of the WMC's poll literally made the Brawler's blood boil. It was this part:
Seventy-seven percent are likely to oppose the plan when they find out "the plan is expected to attract new residents to Wisconsin who do not work, but want health care benefits."
First off: The use of passive voice -- "the plan is expected to" -- irritated the Brawler. Why? Because it doesn't say who exactly expects this to happen. So far as the Brawler can tell, the people who expect this to happen are a formerly anonymous, moderately amusing blogger who now flacks for the WPRI; a MU law professor who played off him; and a Journal Sentinel columnist who thinks the aforementioned professor is, like totally, smart. Not exactly a Rand study! And Seth Zlotocha, in his cold-blooded nuanced manner, neatly dispatched this argument a while back.
It's true: obfuscatory use of the passive voice does irritate the Brawler.
But it's the second half of that sentence that set the Brawler's blood boiling: "attract new residents to Wisconsin who do not work, but want health care benefits."
This is transparently racist code. Utter these words to more than a few voters -- particularly, the Brawler suspects, the Republican base -- and you conjure visions of black and brown people. Shiftless black and brown people whose only ambition is to pack up everything and move to Wisconsin to live off our fat benefits.
Why does the Brawler say this? Did he read it in a book? No. The Brawler heard the original version of this slur literally dozens of times growing up in Milwaukee in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then it was: "Black people move up here because of welfare." Though of course, the people who said it didn't say "black people." There was no evidence for this of course -- but it sounded good to a certain kind of person and an urban legend was born.
Tommy Thompson then injected a watered-down, but still fundamentally racist version, of this vile slur into the public discourse during the debate over welfare reform.
There never was any proof that Wisconsin's welfare benefits played any meaningful role in attracting people to the state. (Indeed, the Brawler has heard the "Blacks come up here for the benefits" argument in Minnesota, which, of course, was one of the states from which we were allegedly attracting welfare mothers. Truly a smear without borders.) In fact, more evidence argued to the contrary. It is the definition of a big lie, repeated to this day by the likes of Deb Jordahl.
And now by the WMC.