The Spectacle Blog

Gingrich Right in Kosher Ad?

By on 1.31.12 | 8:05PM

Hello?

My friend Quin is indignant over a Newt ad.

The problem? As Quin and the gang present their facts -- they seem to prove Newt right. And themselves…well…no idea. But the word correct isn’t the word that comes to mind.

Here’s Quin’s post.  

So let’s dig into what we find at National Review, which is where we are sent.

According to NR’s Patrick Brennan, Newt’s campaign says:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.

Then, Brennan says:

Unfortunately, as a blog post at Commentary points out, this is a blatant distortion of the facts. In 2003, amid a budget crisis and rapidly rising Medicare costs, several nursing homes in Massachusetts considered cutting costs by closing their kosher kitchens and instead providing catered or prepackaged kosher food.

Then, Brennan says this:

The state legislature proposed an additional $600,000 in spending to prevent this from happening, but Romney vetoed it, due to state budget constraints.

Stop. Budget constraints? What kind of budget constraints? Brennan doesn’t say. In the federal budget, as we all know, spending can be divided into discretionary spending and entitlements. Were these so-called "budget constraints" in the state budget discretionary? Or was Romney obligated legally or constitutionally to exclude the kosher food budget? I do not know the answer. But certainly neither, it appears, do the Gingrich critics. If, in fact, Romney was dealing not with some sort of mandated cut then the kosher cuts were -- yes -- up to Romney. Discretionary. And therefore, quite obviously -- he chose…say again…chose…to make the kosher cuts. The legislature obviously disagreed and overrode him, restoring the funds. Suggesting that in fact Romney had the discretion to choose his budget cuts and deliberately picked the kosher food cut.

If in fact this is what happened then… yes indeed… the Gingrich ad that says:

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes.

….is, gasp! correct.

Is this correct?

Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher.

No idea. But if Holocaust survivors were included among those in this group, then…sorry, but yes, the Gingrich ad is correct.

Brennan goes on to say: 

The legislature, as was their wont, overrode him anyway, and the kitchens, let alone the kosher food supply, were never cut. In no sense could Romney be said to have tried to "eliminate" kosher meals or their funding.

This claim by Brennan, my friend Quin Hillyer, is quite possibly 100% false. If in fact Mitt Romney had a choice of how to cut his budget using discretionary authority -- then the Gingrich ad is correct. Mitt Romney in fact may well have tried to eliminate kosher meals because, using his budgetary discretion, he chose not to eliminate something else in favor of eliminating the kosher food.

Hmmm. Another interesting untruth from the Romney camp?

The real question, I suppose, is what Romney chose over kosher foods? And…um…why people are swallowing this Romney whine whole without actually explaining the facts. Because if the facts are as Quin and others are presenting them…then Mitt Romney did exactly what the Gingrich ad charges.

Exactly.

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