I have long been a critic of conservative politics, but have, for the most part, believed that my conservative friends were not cruel toward the poor and needy. Far from it, actually, as most of them are involved in charities that help the poor, and attend churches that have an outreach.
When it came to policy, I believed that they, and the people they voted for, had an overly optimistic view of what poverty looked like. They believed, I assume, that poor people genuinely were locked in dependency on government handouts, and reducing that would nudge them into the work place. Or that there was so much corruption and fraud in the programs, that no actual people would suffer.
Over the last few years, however, we have seen conservative hatred toward even the working poor, best exemplified by Romney's sneer about the 47% who are dependent on the government and pay no taxes. Conservatives have attacked working teachers and firefighters--demonized those with multiple jobs, and have actually worked to cut overtime pay and further weaken unions. Message: even if you work hard, conservatives and Republicans still hate your guts.
A great example of this kind of malevolence is this most recent failed farm bill. In what has become typical fashion, conservatives decided that we are spending far too much on the poor. Not on farm subsidies, even to people who have raked in millions in from the government, all while quoting the Bible as he called food stamps "theft."
In this recent bill, conservatives not only cut food stamps, they capped state spending on employment and training. Hear that? They cut food stamps, while making it harder for states to get people off welfare and off food stamps. This bullshit about wanting people to work is just that. They just don't like poor people, and want nothing to do with any safety net. All while quoting the Bible.