At the close of the article, Franson offers up a couple of explanations about why she felt she was criticized for her Youtube in which she shared a "funny" clip from an email that compared feeding people with food stamps to signs warning people to not feed animals in national parks. Davis writes:
The first-term representative said recent attacks on her are indications that “the left doesn’t like outspoken conservative women.”
She said the attacks stem from her involvement in stopping the formation of child care provider unions.
This is curious stuff. First, that Franson believes that criticism for repeating a flawed meme is evidence that she's an outspoken conservative woman, rather than merely an ordinary nitwit circulating the stuff of inboxes and Facebook walls.
The flawed conservative jest that she repeated builds on the notion that both food support and national parks are part of the USDA. Franson--or whichever House staffer wrote her script--used the "clip" without understanding that Interior runs the Park Service.
But perhaps this lack of curosity on Franson's part is a good thing for Minnesota's wildlife. Those freeloading pheasants that have been making a comeback from the days of fencerow-to-fencerow farming rely on the USDA's Conservative Reserve Program and other measures that provide habitat. Should she come to understand that the exotic species--they're really not from around here--depends on government programs and charities like Pheasants Forever to for its continued presence in the state, I fear the worst.
Equally bizarre? The notion that the reaction to her video was caused by "her involvement in stopping the formation of child care provider unions."
Perhaps Davis might have asked for evidence of that belief. Indeed, if one reviews the hundreds of posts about her remark, and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota's petition, it's not brought up. No, the reaction to her video was a reaction to the video. (Watch the whole thing here)
Two days after the Davis column was originally written, columnist Jon Tevlin's takedown of Franson's video, In Rep. Franson's district, 'animals' are also known as constituents, included a flattering photo of Franson at an anti-union event. He doesn't mention her involvement in the earlier story.
And by then, she had moved on to another explanation for the attention Tevlin was lavishing on her. The City Pages reported on Monday in Rep. Mary Franson outs herself as careless driver to "scoop" Star Tribune's Jon Tevlin:
Rep. Mary Franson sent out a press release Friday evening outing herself as a careless driver in response to a forthcoming Star Tribune column by Jon Tevlin.
Identifying Tevlin as "yet another liberal reporter" and "a voice for the dependency lobby," Franson claimed her critics were intimidated by her "efforts to help the poor instead of binding them more tightly into their abject conditions." Franson has been in hot water for comparing food stamp recipients to animals.
"My personal shortcomings, of which, mercifully, the reporter has none, are now to be used to discredit my message of hope and dignity," Franson wrote, before launching into her personal history. "Approximately ten years ago I was charged with careless driving and again one year later."
Franson's decision to "speak first because I am not afraid" appeared rather ridiculous Saturday morning when Tevlin's column, "In Rep. Franson's district, 'animals' are also known as constituents," ran with no mention of her driving record, as did her decision to email the press release to Tevlin with a note reading: "I thought I would scoop you."
So she was back to blaming the dependency lobby.
As for her efforts to "efforts to help the poor," Bluestem looked at the bill she was touting in the video in an earlier post, What set Franson off? A brief look at Daudt's HF2080 (and an action against hunger). In addition to ridicule, Franson efforts to "help" the poor include cutting cash assistance after three years (she didn't seem to have registered that SNAP is a separate program), limiting states where an EBT card can be used, and completely denying benefits to anyone convicted on a drug charge within the last ten years.
And the misdirected cruelty of joking about food assistance when touting a bill to cut MFIP is clearly illustrated by the chart; most SNAP recipients aren't receiving MFIP.
But her "help" doesn't stop there. On February 29, 2012 Franson introduced HF2597, a bill that would require drug testing for all adults and teen parents applying for MFIP. These tests not only face legal challenges, but are costly, since the state ends up paying for negative results. Daily KOs labor beat writer Laura Clawson noted:
. . . the courts blocked such a law in Florida as violating the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. For another, the Florida law showed that only a minuscule percentage of welfare applicants will fail drug tests, ultimately costing the state money as it had to reimburse them for the costs of the test. That up-front cost to unemployment and welfare applicants is, in fact, the major way states might save money through such laws, as needy people are unable to apply for the benefits they qualify for because they can't afford to pay for drug testing.
Some help to the poor, alright.
Last year, Franson authored HF0238, which would have required a 90-day residence in Minnesota (take that, Saenz v. Roe!) to receive benefits, while providing assistance only via EBT card. No cash could be withdrawn with the card. Franson's version of the "poor people can't have cash" bill went nowhere, but another--which she co-sponsored--earned wide ridicule, including Crooks and Liars' War On The Poor: Minnesota Republicans Want To Bust Poor People Who Carry Cash and Wonkette's Minnesota Republicans To Outlaw Poor People Having Money.
No wonder she asserts platitudes patting herself on the back for helping the poor, then goes back to shuffling her deck and playing another victim card. We're not seeing anything in her legislative record that indicates an interest in education, job training or other programs designed to help the poor become self-reliant, or to assist employers who hire the long-term unemployed.
Images: Animal Crackers, by Tild ,and another illustration of the disconnect between telling a joke at the expense of SNAP recipients in order to harsh on MFIP recipients. Most Minnesotans getting SNAP don't receive MFIP. Graph source: Characteristics of December 2010 Minnesota Food. Support Program: Cases and People. May 2011. Program Assessment and Integrity Division. Minnesota Department of Human Services. PDF in MN Legislative Reference Library.