Reverend Jim Wallis points out the obvious about the conservative opposition to SNAP (food stamps; boldface mine):
You see, for many House conservatives this isn’t really about SNAP, but about their opposition to the idea that as a society we have the responsibility to care for each other, even during the hard times or when resources are few. Conservatives know their ideas for privatizing Social Security or cutting funding to Medicare and Medicaid are politically unpopular, but their ideology of individualism that borders on social Darwinism remains unchanged. SNAP is the perfect target for them. The image of what it does and whom it serves has been widely distorted by the media, while the people who benefit from it have little influence in the halls of Congress and pose little risk to the political careers of Republican members.
Meanwhile Andrew O’Hehir piles on some more (boldface mine):
American conservatives love to attack anyone who raises the issue of worsening economic inequality for waging “class war.” Their compulsion to keep repeating that phrase is revealing in itself; it’s like the serial killer in a movie who can’t help returning to the scene of the crime. Because the only class war being waged in 21st-century America is the relentless, all-fronts struggle conducted by the rich against the poor…
This extended class war has been an extraordinary success, and through the long lens of history it looks less like a series of disconnected events than a coordinated campaign to drive the bottom one-fifth – or one-third, or one-half – of the population into lives of endless drudgery and political apathy, while maximizing corporate profits and concentrating both wealth and power in a tiny oligarchy at the top of the pyramid….
In this case, I think we must take the unusual step of taking politicians at their word, and realizing that congressional Republicans mean what they say. Cutting government benefits like food stamps that directly help poor people, and reinforcing the notion that healthcare is an expensive privilege attached to full-time work, rather than a basic right available to all, are central elements of contemporary conservative ideology. Indeed, anything that drives down wages and compels ordinary people to work more for less is objectively a good thing, from the point of view of the Republican Party’s corporate overlords, with or without the convenient excuse of shaving a few pennies off the federal deficit…
Their vision of social peace is entirely different: The vast majority of the population laboring constantly for flat or declining wages and minimal social benefits, masked somewhat by falling prices for food, clothing and electronic gizmos, and buoyed up by the mythological notion that any one of them, at any time, may suddenly ascend to the empyrean heights of the glittering 1 percent.
Except for those rare occasions when the mask slips so badly that our supine political press corps is forced to report on it (e.g., Romney’s 47 percent remarks), conservatives are never confronted on this. They are never directly asked if they think children should go hungry, if this how a just and ordered society should function.
Yet another failure of governance by our press corps.