Have you noticed, the hot topic this election cycle is to dig into internet archives and find something someone said which appears to contradict what the person says now. It’s not a new phenomenon, but it has taken on gargantuan proportions this cycle.
The latest is the ABC News headline that a memo was found on a Newt-affilitated website in which, according to the headline, Gingrich ’06 Memo: “Agree Entirely With Gov. Romney” on Health Care. The Wall Street Journal has a similar, but not as categorical, headline, Gingrich Applauded Romney’s Health Plan.
First, that Newt had some nice things to say about Romneycare is not breaking news. In particular, Newt has been criticized for supporting some form of mandate for those who make over $50,000 a year, the issue being the form of mandate (not necessarily the type of penalties under Obamacare or Romneycare). It was all over the news last May, but last May seems to be more forgotten than a 2006 memo. Criticism of Newt’s position is fair, but don’t pretend that it is something newly discovered.
(added) Newt’s praise of portions of a mandate and Romneycare was widely discussed after this interview with David Gregory last May (video h/t HotAir):
Second, the actual memo does not “entirely” support Romneycare, and is very critical in numerous critical aspects. Fortunately for me, Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters already has done the work for me, ABC’s Misleading Headline:
ABC’s Jonathan Karl Tuesday published a piece now prominently featured at the Drudge Report with a headline guaranteed to be the Obama-loving media’s lead story concerning something Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wrote over five years ago: “Gingrich ’06 Memo: ‘Agree Entirely With Gov. Romney’ on Health Care.”
Inside the actual document uncovered by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, the former Speaker didn’t “agree entirely with Gov. Romney” at all (emphasis added):
While in theory the plan should be affordable if the whole state contributes to the cost, the reality is that Massachusetts has an exhaustive list of health coverage regulations prohibiting insurers from offering more basic, pared-down policies with higher deductibles. (This is yet another reminder that America must establish a cross-state insurance market that gives individuals the freedom to shop for insurance plans in states other than their own.)
In our estimation, Massachusetts residents earning little more than $30,000 a year are in jeopardy of being priced out of the system. In the event that this occurs, Governor Romney will be in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Dukakis, whose 1988 health plan was hailed as a save-all but eventually collapsed when poorly-devised payment structures created a malaise of unfulfilled promises. We propose that a more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals earning upwards of $54,000 per year.
… Far more importantly, don’t be surprised if the rest of the Obama-loving, Gingrich-hating press similarly gloss over the paragraphs in this memo where the former Speaker expressed serious concern about the plan he supposedly “loved” and “agree[d] entirely with.”
Again, I don’t criticize someone for disagreeing with Newt, but this “breaking news” and gotcha movement is out of control.
It seems that actually reading and analyzing documents is hopeless in the face of headlines and people who don’t care.